Fair. Balanced. American.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Liveblogging the State of the Union

9:06 POTUS in the house.

9:08 John Roberts' tight smile as he greets Barack Obama whose inauguration he fouled up, and whose presidency he seeks to undo.

9:09 A courtly bow to the Speaker.

9:11 Where's Joe Wilson tonight?

9:12 Starts off weighty: history and words of unity. Good move.

9:13 Tim Geithner looks shocked to find out that one out of ten Americans is out of work. He doesn't know any of them!

9:15 Why is Wall Street being rewarded? Americans are tired of the partisanship and the pettiness. Americans want Democrats and Republicans to work through their differences. This is, of course, what Obama does best. And it is a different way of working through the populist moment. This is what independents want to hear.

9:16 Great all-American stuff. Even Republicans have to stand up for this. The justices stand up but don't applaud. Because, you know, they're above politics... except when they select a president.

9:18 "We all hated the bank bailout." Carl Levin and Dianne Feinstein stand up and applaud. Obama defends the bailout. Geithner smiles beatifically.

9:19 Nelson doesn't applaud for the fee on the banks. Lieberman has his hands together, but isn't quite sure whether to applaud or not. Depends which party he'll be part of in 2012.

9:21 Obama details his tax cuts. "I thought I'd get some applause for that one." Confused Republicans, slow on the take, don't know what to do.

9:23 If Eric Cantor is going to be in the first row of congressional Republicans, he should try to look a bit less smug.

9:24 "Jobs should be our focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight." Republicans might regret their standing ovation.

9:26 Take $30 billion of the TARP money and help lend to small businesses via community banks. Republicans, intent on looking partisan, stay seated. Bad move.

9:27 Eliminate capital gains tax on small business. Whoa.

9:28 Put Americans to work by building infrastructure. If the Preident had spent the stimulus package on concrete projects and let the states go bankrupt, at least Americans would have given him credit for the jobs. Have you noticed how when you go to a national park, people mention FDR when you notice the trails? Obama won't get any credit for the stimulus jobs. This is a belated realization of that huge strategic error.

9:29 "How long should America put its future on hold... China isn't waiting." These nations are rebuilding their infrastructure. They're making investments in clean energy.... Well I do not accept second place for the United States of America." Good stuff.

9:32 What does that mean? First, financial reform. The lobbyists are trying to kill banking reform. If the bill doesn't fix the problem, "I will send it back until we get it right."

9:35 Republicans stand up for nuclear power. Of course. Is there anything Mr. Burns likes that they wouldn't stand for?

9:36 The nation that leads clean economy will lead the global economy. And America must be that nation.

This is so much the speech the President should have given last year. These were the themes he campaigned on, but he never tied his first year strategy back to his campaign. Today, he is finally beginning to.

9:37 A focus on exports. That should be easier with a worthless currency.

9:39 A shout out to Bush's Colombia free trade bill delights Republicans. An arcane reference that few will get.

9:40 Now we get to the education section. Education as an anti-poverty program. Again, the strategy of this speech is to link every initiative back to the economy. Smart, smart, smart. But it would have been smarter not to have lost a year not doing so.

9:41 Kill the subsidy to banks for the student loan program. Instead, a tax credit to parents and more Pell Grants. Faster forgiveness for student loans for those who engage in public service. And colleges should cut their costs, too.

9:42 From Twitter: @marcambinder Writes Josh Green: "Obama articulates Republican policies better than Republicans do."

@pwire: Republicans sitting for popular soundbites - taxing banks, cutting taxes, stop moving jobs offshore - will be prized footage for Dem ads

@markos @mediagadfly: I enjoy how he keeps appealing to the gop's insatiable craving for global dominance

9:44 "Now let's clear a few things up." A defense of health care reform.

9:47 "I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber."

9:48 If anyone has a better plan, "Let me know. I'm eager to see it." Nice.

9:49 Oh oh, here comes the spending freeze. But first, an excellent review of Bush's financial profligacy.

9:51 My take on the freeze is that it's insubstantial, not least given all the programs the President has already announced (and his refusal to touch 80% of the budget, since he's not touching entitlements and can't touch interest). It's his way of using a Republican tactic: repeat something often enough and people will believe it's true. Did he leave defense out of what won't be touched? I can think of some military bases in South Carolina, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi that might be worth closing.

9:53 "This can't be a Washington gimmick." Nice one, Mr. President. "I refuse to pass this problem to another generation of Americans." He's used a similar line on all the other pressing problems, but the truth is health care does more for the long term debt problem than any of this stuff.

9:55 We didn't do anything for eight years, thinking our problems would go away. A vicious slam at the Bush years.

9:57 We face more than a deficit of dollars but a deficit of trust. But we can't stop there. Lobbyist disclosure. For White House and Congress.

9:58 The President gives Kennedy and Roberts a good scolding for selling the country out to foreign corporations. The Court knows the President knows what he's doing and why, but it's fun to watch anyway. A tired Ginsburg looks stoic, but you know she must have enjoyed it.

9:59 Publish all earmarks. No one outside the Beltway knows what an earmark is.

10:00 "What frustrates the people is a Washington where every day is election day." Great, great stuff. "I will not give up on trying to change the tone of our politics."

10:02 "Saying 'no' to everything may be good short term politics, but it is not leadership."

10:03 Obama pivots to security.

10:06 "We will have all our combat troops out of Iraq by this August."

10:07 "This war has ended. And all of our troops are coming home."

10:09 Following in Kennedy and Reagan's footsteps on nuclear weapons. Nice.

10:10 Iran's leaders "too will face growing consequences." From whom? Vague wording, deliberate no doubt.

10:12 538 tweets: "Republican refusal to stand up & clap for centrist policies that poll at 70%+ shows why they don't have 2010 locked up by any means."

10:13 We're all created equal. DADT coming? My civil rights division "is once again prosecuting civil rights violation and employment discrimination." Slam!

10:13 Military does not react to the call for the end of DADT. Bad optics, but I'm not sure for whom.

10:16 "I campaigned on change... I never said change would be easy, or that I could do it alone." The easiest thing is to play it safe. If people had done that 50 years ago, "we wouldn't be here tonight." He evokes Bill Clinton: "It's nothing compared" to what regular Americans have suffered over the last year. Patrick Kennedy in tears.

10:20 "We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize the moment."

This was as good a reset we hoped for. I give it an A. But between DADT, the end of the Iraq War, a call for a tax on banks, a call to finish health care reform, clean energy, and a jobs bill, it's safe to say that most of the left on the blogosphere will give it an F.

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