Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#203 Two Presidents ... SOTU IV

Now there should be no question but in the smallest of minds that the current Congress has NOT been looking after, in our First President's phraseology, "the welfare of the country" in "a free, efficient, and equal" manner." They've done next to nothing on their own, really--TARP was a leftover--while everything needed to be done about Health Care and Afghanistan. (Obama can't, of course, blame Congress for the latter, because he had his way with them on that. But I can. Congressional Grafters pimp their wares wherever the money is. Big-Med, Big-MilitaryIndustrialComplex ... matters little.)

One of the jokes on SNL's "Weekend Update" segment the other night was at the expense of Congress--apropos of Fred Armiston's rendition of Obama's SOTU, which opened the show. It was set up ironically: "Anchor" Seth Meyers introduced a graphic of the House chamber, over which was to scroll a list of legislative accomplishments over the last year. Cut to clip ... two seconds of scroll, with 3 items on it ... cut back to Seth caught fiddling off-camera ... startled look to camera ... "unprepared" that the list was so short. Ha-ha ensues. The three were bailout renewal, Cash for Clunkers, and a cap on credit-card interest rates. Pretty much on-target satire. And I'm sure it got laughs across the country, because THE PEOPLE know. Typical big-laugh on the late-night circuit: "Severe cold, ice and snow have brought Washington to a virtual stand-still ... but how can you tell?" The people know.

So why didn't President Obama drag them out to the woodshed Wednesday-week, and give them all a good thrashing? Let George do it. (Our super-star General and first President was responsible for that popular expression, as a matter of fact.) Well, he certainly would have, you can have no doubt. But Obama just can't seem to get himself angry, not-to-mention communicate the THREAT of anger (and a hint of danger), which is by far the better.

There's little to complain about in the word-to-word content of Obama's State of the Union; it was reasoned, factual, as usual. But rhetorically and "histrionically" it was not good enough. Remember, unlike Washington's audience, strictly Congress, Obama's included the whole country. I dare say his approval ratings would have returned to their honeymoon levels had he given these bad boys the whippin' they deserved. The people have no love affair with Congress, to grossly understate. Now, couldn't he have done better than the following, in addressing the self-aggrandizing do-nothingness of Congress as a (w)hole?--
So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the AMERICAN PEOPLE hope--what they DESERVE--is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while THE PEOPLE who sent us here ...
You hear some of the old General's words, but without any righteous ANGER that they have pretty much FAILED at the job the people sent them there to do. It's time for much stronger words. Obama needed to bring the blame-game right down on top of their collective heads. Furthermore, Is this enough verbal drubbing for the pestiferous Republican vermin from Dante's 8th circle of Hell?--
If the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town--a supermajority--then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to solve problems, not serve our ambitions.
Answer: he comes closer to tanning their hides, here. But wouldn't have been nice if he had ended the last sentence thus: "... not serve our ambitions, or line our pockets." Alas. And the President was waaay too easy on on the despicably wimpish Democrats, home to those venal Blue Dogs, greedy as Republicans. This is a mere slap on the wrist:
Democrats, I remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and THE PEOPLE expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.
As disappointing was Obama's failure to dump an appropriate load of sh-- er, opprobrium, on the proper culprits behind most of those "difficult challenges" he mentions: the Bush/Cheney administration. His vast audience beyond the walls of the House chamber has not forgotten, but Obama didn't do enough to pound it home, and, in so doing, let himself a lot off the hook. I think he wanted to do some justifiable Bush-bashing, but it didn't make it to the make-nice script, finally. Here's how I know. The following is a quote from the speech-text--all but his un-telepromtered ad lib (in brackets) interjected the night of the actual address:
One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt. [AND ALL THIS BEFORE I GOT IN THE DOOR!] Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face ...
If you heard it, you would have noticed how very plaintive it was: "... beFORE I got IN the DOOooor ..." He's just too much of a nice guy, I guess, to wake the sleeping dogs ... to flog the dead horses. Or too cool.

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