Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Non State of the Union

Last night our new President delivered his first and only non- State of the Union Address. The reason it is a non-State of the Union Address being Barack Obama has not been President long enough to accept responsibility for the current state of the union. I for one don't blame him. If he were to accept responsibility for it he'd have to describe the state of the union as being f- -ked up! The country is involved in two huge military actions in foreign countries. We're suffering an economic meltdown not seen since the 1930's. Health care costs are out of control. Banks desperately require government funds to remain solvent. Seasoned companies are either failing or laying off workers by the thousands. The climate is warming. We are hated throughout the world.
You have to wonder about a guy who would actually want the job.
But I'm glad he did.
I have to say it was a hell of a speech. President Obama is a natural orator. He instinctively knows how to speak to a large audience, which was apparent in 2004 when he came upon the national scene at the Democratic Convention, and which probably is a large reason he is now President. That, and the way his mind works.
President Obama I feel is a pragmatist. A pragmatist is defined as one who takes a practical approach to solving problems. I like that. You know why? It's because I'm a pragmatist too, and proud of it. When I face a problem I naturally think of ways of solving it to archive the maximum benefit using the least amount of effort. I shift through all the possible solutions I can think of, choose the best (hopefully), and apply it. If that does not solve said problem in a satisfactory manner I'll shift strategies until I achieve my desired goal.
Women hate this.
Putting that aside, taking a practical approach to solving problems seems like a good thing right about now. The Republicans sure aren't doing that. Putting aside the fact that they are no longer in power (thank our non-existent God), and are not in a position to solve problems, still they offer few (no) solutions.
They offer ideology.
What was the Republican response to the President's plans to increase funding for domestic projects; to reform health care to the point where every American is insured and costs are stabilized, and our children receive the care they need no matter what income bracket they may fall under; investments in green energy, wind, solar, a smart state of the art national electrical grid; investments in education, so high school students stop dropping out of high school, and college students stay in college keeping the United States competitive with the rest of the world; maintain and support the automobile industry in this country, allowing it to evolve to supply America's changing transportation needs and once again becoming competitive on a global basis; supporting our domestic banking industry, even though they were mostly responsible for causing the mess we're in to begin with, and get the nation 's credit flowing once again; and allowing those homeowners on the brink of losing their homes the opportunity to refinance their mortgages and stay out of the ranks of the homeless (we don't need anymore around here, thank you).
What was the Republican's response? It was provided by the honorable Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal (who's ideological response to receiving 3.8 billion dollars in economic stimulus money was to turn down 98 million slated toward the 25,000 unemployed in his state (it's been said that he better run for President in 2012 because he sure as hell won't get reelected in Louisiana). His response was to bitch! The Democrats are spending too much! There's not enough tax cuts. The government is growing too big and using the tax payers money for it's own ends. They want to monitor volcanoes for Christ's sake (this provoked a particularly stringent response from the Mayor of Vancouver, Washington, which lies just 70 miles south of the active, killer volcano, Mount St. Helens)! They want to build an express train from Las Vegas to Disneyland (which even if it were true, which it may or may not be, there are currently no specific plans to build a train along this route, would still create thousands of good paying jobs)! What we need are tax cuts! Keep money in the people hands, not the governments! Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts! We did such a great job over the last 8 years, let's keep on doing it!
I admit that I am a recovering addict (booze, nicotine, whatever takes me away from the world). But even I know, and it has been explained to me quite well over the years, that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is tantamount to insanity.
For my part I'll take pragmaticism over ideology every time.
And it is so comforting to have a President who at least has a passing familiarity with the English language.
So President Obama, let's see how it goes. I'm certainly counting on you, and am behind you 100%.
Next year's the real State of the Union, and it's all yours.

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