Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The President's Address to Congress

Since I liveblogged Bush's State of the Union addresses, I thought I'd blog about President Obama's first address to Congress (not a State of the Union, of course, as a new president does not do that).

This will not really be live, but rather semi-live, wherein I will post some thoughts along the way.

Of course President Obama has a lot riding on this speech, though he does have a lot of popularity to help him out. The country is in shambles, and I think that the president is doing a good job trying to gather ideas and come up with solutions. As I have said many times, I am not an economy expert by any means, so I cannot claim to understand all of the ins and outs. But I do know that hearing Congressional Republicans gripe about "running up the debt for our children" makes me want to a) vomit and b) discuss irony with my students.

Anyway, I will miss Bush's smirks and winks.

Back in a bit.

8:05 -- People on CNN were saying that members of Congress more or less camp out to get these seats by the aisle so they can be seen on TV and talk with the president. One Congressman arrived at 8:00 AM, as though it were a Morrissey concert.

8:10 -- I think I would like to be the Sergeant-at-Arms of something.

8:11 -- Someone just asked him if he'd played basketball yet. And I'm not sure, but I think Jesse Jackson, Jr. just whispered, "I bet I look pretty good compared to Roland Burris, don't I?"

8:13 -- There stand Orrin Hatch and Steny Hoyer. I may namemy first-born Steny Orrin.

8:15 -- I see Nancy Pelosi picked up a high-end poncho on a recent trip to Cabo.

8:19 -- I am very happy to see that Congress unanimously agrees that "We will recover." That would not be one to remain seated for.

8:24 -- Hey, a shout out to Minneapolis. That is fancy. And then a cut to Mitch McConnell, who looks a bit constipated. Maybe he does not like more police on the streets. It just proves that Republicans love crime. (I've learned some logic over the last eight years.)

8:30 -- I have to say that the whole idea of a transparent and accountable government--with a special transparency and accountability inspector--is not only a fantastic idea, but also a refreshingly new one. Do I think it will work exactly as planned? Of course not. But since the previous administration thrived on secrecy, the change is a good one.

8:34 -- I think that people will definitely respond to his rediscovered hopeful tone. Washington has been pretty gloom-and-doom lately, after all. Here I think that rhetoric plays an important role. People need to feel that things could get better or the markets cannot recover.

8:37 -- "He said something about veterans. Everyone stand up."

8:38 -- Hey, he got a bipartisan ovation for saying "Energy, health care, and education." That is a vague ting to be bipartisan about.

8:39 -- Is he talking about science? I thought the last administration outlawed science. President Obama must have issued an executive order.

8:41 -- Remember when Bush talked about hydrogen cars? That was funny.

8:42 -- I think Joe Biden is drawing a sketch of the back of President Obama's head. He looks up, then puts pen to aper; looks up, pen to paper.

8:44 -- Oh sit down. Recently my school sponsored a breast cancer awareness dance, but students were wearing ribbons that they said were "in support of breast cancer." I see.

8:48 -- Ooh, I don't think Nancy Pelosi shares the "commitment to charter schools." Her Botox was in full effect.

8:50 -- I really love the importance he places on parental responsibility. This idea of reading to your kids and "putting away the video games" seems so simple, but as a teacher, I can tell you how essential and in some cases unheard of such an idea is.

8:55 -- I love a nice contentious ovation. Did you see how some Republicans slowly and apprehensively stood up when President Obama was talking about no tax hikes for people making under $250,000? They weren't sure they were allowed to support such an idea.

8:57 -- John McCain just sneered, "That one doesn't know what he's talking about. I know how to win a war."

8:58 -- I wonder if people will applaud when he says he supports the troops? That's a tricky one . . . They did. Phew.

9:00 -- "Living our values does not make us weaker; it makes us stronger." I love it.

9:07 -- Crap. Now he's getting all Obama-y on us and making me all giddy again. "This was the time when we performed something worthy to be remembered."

Excellent. Ambitious. To the point.


At 12:04 AM, Blogger PBear posited...

He seems a lot more economically moderate than before. "avoid the possibility of escalating protectionism" certainly wasn't something he would have said during the election, but this is one issue I'm very pleased to see him flip-flop on.

If he really is able to cut the national deficit in half before his term is up without sending our economy back into a recession, then well... tip of the hat.

Overall, I'm optimistic. Mainly because Bernanke said today that regardless as to there being a fiscal stimulus or not, things will likely start turning around by the end of the year, but partially because our leader seems fairly open-minded at this point, which is more than I could say before.

At 12:41 AM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

8:44 made me laugh -- and then I felt a bit guilty for doing so. As far as Obama reducing the deficit without sending us back into a recession -- well, that implies we can actually recover enough to be able to slide back, so I'm all for this attempt so long as it isn't a redux of 1937. The moderate thing is interesting. I said on election night I figure it's worth it for people of my ideological ilk to at least give him a shot. But we'll see. Detroit is one major example that could just keep escalating and escalating. At this point, GM and Chrysler are basically unpalatable situations. What happens there? Who knows. One last thing that strikes me as part wryly amusing and part scary is that over the past several years I've become desensitized to government spending. Between Iraq, Social Security prepping for the tank, defecits, and now the 11 figure stimulus packages, a billion dollars seems like pocket change. A billion dollars. Man.


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