Wednesday, January 27, 2010

592. Obama

I'm starting this post at 11:20 pm which is well past my bedtime. It isn't always that a powerful forty-eight year old mixed race intellectual native Hawaiian male keeps me up to this hour, but it was worth it.

Earlier this afternoon I received in my email a survey from the ACLU, one of several organizations which I have tried to regularly support over the years. (Full disclosure - I haven't renewed for this year but will this weekend). The survey asked six questions on rating the president's first year in office. I did not give him the best of grades. I gave him a fair on one, poor on four, and no comment on the final question.

After tonight's speech, I am at least a little more hopeful that the second year will be better than the first. Of course, that wouldn't take a hell of a lot of work - the first one has been relatively disastrous.

In tonight's State of the Union address, the president properly pointed out that his part of the problem is but one year of a bad nine year cycle. He pointed out where the surplus was in 2000 and where the deficit was in 2009 at his inauguration. He did not have to state the obvious - George W. Bush was the 44th best president the Republic had ever endured. He led us into two wars, lowered taxes in a time of economic uncertainty, provided less and less regulation to the markets, and more and more tax breaks to the rich. The Federal economy all but failed and led to a failing response around the world. Amazing how one man and his political party's beliefs could nearly bring down the most advanced society on the planet in history. But, it happened.

The good news is we have lived through it. But we are not out of the tunnel and in-house (or in-Republic) politics is not making it easier. The president boldly (and historically) called out the very partisan 5-4 United States Supreme Court on their decision last week to allow foreign corporations the unbridled ability to take over our political system through an influx of dollars. He boldly pointed out that the bullies on the right side of aisle were just that - bullies whose lack of patriotism has been and will continue to destroy our country simply because they aren't in charge. And Mitch McConnell smiled and giggled. What a jerk. [I seriously considered dropping the f-bomb in that last sentence right before the word jerk].

The president offered several conservative markers by which his first year could be defined - tax cuts, help for businesses large and small, and proposed new investments in nuclear power, clean coal, and offshore drilling. And the Republicans in the House chamber responded without applause and instead offered hushed occasional sneers, again led by Mitch. They are embarassing. The current Republican Party is the most antithetical, unpatriotic gathering of men and women ever assembled as members of Congress. Most of them should be tried for treason.

As I stated at the top of the post, I am not happy with the lack of progress the president made in his first year. I'm greatly disappointed. And I do not place the entire blame on Senator McConnell and his group of schoolhouse bullies whose favorite word seems to be no. Blame can be rightfully shared with the president and Rahm Emanuel, and more rightfully shared by Harry Reid and the less-than-willing group of Sixty (until last week) that he led less-than-successfully during the past year. The one group in Washington which seems to be doing the people's business is the United States House of Representatives. Good for them.

The president's message tonight offered some renewed hope for 2010 - hope badly needed. He himself must get the work and hope started - by Executive Order if necessary, and he issued one within the context of his speech.

In the end, he closed by borrowing - if only briefly - from Teddy Kennedy's 1980 speech at the Democratic National Convention. On August 12, 1980, the late senator closed his address with "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Tonight the president closed with the phrase "We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment – to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more."

Hope Springs Eternal.

Thanks Be To God.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.