The Fifth State of the Union for President Barack Obama is in the can, and boy was it a dozy. President Obama took the GOP for a ride Tuesday night. He did everything you but slap the GOP in the face and challenge them to a duel. He mocked them. He harried their flanks forcing them to either stand and applaud or own their obstruction. He pushed them and eventually backed them into a corner.
The President drew a bright line between his party, his vision, and that of the Regressive Right. He talked about everything from income inequality to people’s lives being saved by ObamaCare; everything from ending the longest war in the history of this country to the demanding the US corporations begin to act in the best interest of the nation – and that includes hiring vets and the long time unemployed, paying their fair share of taxes, and stopping their cynical amoral attempt to undermine the electoral process.
Years ago the chamber changed, and Rs and Ds decided to sit amongst each other rather than having the chamber starkly divided. The President used this mishmash of Ds sitting with Rs to force applause, to push people to their feet, and to draw the stark contrast of a Party attempting to govern a divided nation and a Party content to just say no.
The GOP is delusional. Their hashtags on Twitter last night were filled with barely contained rage and hate. They offered no real arguments against what the President said, simply that he lied or was a liar. They had not one concrete idea for helping anyone. They aren’t just a party of Regression and hate, they are increasingly becoming a party of stupidity and clownish devotion to idiocracy.
Over the course of the next couple of days I’ll take a close reading approach to the speech, looking at the specific parts I loved and the parts that I believe will stand the test of time. But in the meantime let me write here about the politics of what the President did.
President Obama ask a question with this speech. It was a simple one, though for the GOP it will become ever more complicated as we move closer to the 2014 elections. The question was, “why can’t we act for the good of the country.” There is always a debate about what the good of the country is. Rs and Ds disagree about that generally and have for generations. But there are some things which defy that political binary. There are issues which are supposed to transcend the petty and the political.
Hungry kids, people losing their homes, the value of hard work, education, science, infrastructure, peace, national security, the safety of women in the military, on college campuses, in the home and in the work place. These are just a few of the basic functional elements of citizenship, of being American. The GOP, for a lot of reasons — almost all of them bad and myopic and selfish – is on the wrong side of each of these issues.
The President pointed that out last night. The GOP isn’t just wrong about civil rights they are against voting, equality, fairness. The GOP isn’t just wrong about investing in America they are against infrastructure, education, science. The GOP isn’t just wrong about National Security, they are against the interests of the US, against peace, against a Foreign Policy that has been exceptionally good. The GOP isn’t just wrong on wages and wealth disparity, they are against the middle class, against fairness, against the virtue of hard work.
The President didn’t just imply these things last night, he said them. The President didn’t just say them, he demonstrated it – objectively. By bringing the Ds to their feet and keeping the Rs sitting on their hands the President created a visual depiction of what we all know. Obstruction. Sabotage. Hate of the POTUS more than Love of country. What the President did was a masterstroke, a rabbit punch to the face of the GOP. One they are going to have to deal with day in and day out as the campaign season gets into full swing.
The President taught a master class on politics last night. He demonstrated the risk of being predictable. The GOP responses were flat, a joke, the opposition and their inability to cheer, even one neutral or good thing, will haunt them. Not just the elected officials who were there, but the ones who weren’t but have to wear the party affiliation like a bad of shame going ahead. Scott Walker Gov. Wisconsin, Rick Snyder, Gov Michigan, John Kasich, Gov. Ohio, Rick Scott Gov. Florida, Tom Corbett, Gov. Pennsylvania, Paul LePage, Gov. Maine all are going to have to deal with the Regressive politics of Washington. These men, all of whom are up for re-election in blue states with a robust Democratic party, and a newly energized base, are going to have to own the intransigence of the GOP, on the disregard for the welfare of the nation for partisan politics.
The President crushed the GOP last night. Ignore the media spin to the contrary today. Ignore the complaints that the President is playing small ball. Ignore the people who speak critically of the President while never once questioning the tactics and the paucity of ideas vs ideology of the Rs. The President was speaking to America but he was wooing Ds. Come home and fall in love all over again he said. And it worked.
J. Christian Watts
Follow me on Twitter @JCWPolitics
Tweet us at #Critical