Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

State of the Union: Awful, awful, awful.

with 4 comments

Folks, I don’t even know where to start regarding last night’s State of the Union speech (henceforth to be referred to by its acronym, SotU), except for one word, repeated three times: awful, awful, awful.

Why would I choose to repeat one word three times?  Well, the state of the United States right now — or of our Union — is exactly that.  Awful. 

That the President of the United States, Barack Obama, talked around the problem rather than talked about the problem, is also exactly that — awful

And finally, that the pundits did not call the President to account for not coming right out and saying, “Right now, people in the United States are suffering and rather than talk about nonsensical things or irrelevant things, I’m going to talk about them,” they, too, can only be summed up by just one word (you guessed it): awful.

I listened to the SotU last night and was appalled.  Barack Obama is a very smart, literate, intelligent man who knows better than this.  The American people were waiting for him to say, “I know it’s bad.  I’m working on trying to make it better.  I really think these things will work,” and only pick a few things to discuss — not so many things that after an hour of draining words, you don’t have anything to show for it but a bunch of meaningless quotes that won’t mean anything to the average person at all.

Yes, I get it that we need Green Jobs.  Hillary R. Clinton ran for President in 2008 and this was one of her platforms; I am for Green Jobs.  I see how they could actively help the economy if carefully managed, because Green Jobs won’t be able to be created overnight.

But talking about that as one of the hallmarks of your plan is not something most people care about.

No, Mr. President.  What we care about is simple.  The economy, stupid.  (From Bill Clinton’s “It’s the economy, stupid,” not meant as a pejorative.)

The economy is in the toilet.  Unemployment is horrible — over 9% and rising — and the only reason it’s not well over 15% is because people have fallen off the rolls and have “aged off” the system.   No provision has been made for these people, which is beyond disheartening; it’s as if the people in Washington, DC, including the President of the United States who should know better, have turned their backs on these folks (collectively called the 99ers).  They can’t find work not because they aren’t qualified: most are.  Not because they don’t want to work: they do.  But because there aren’t anywhere near enough jobs for all the people who want work.  That’s the fact, and it wasn’t even touched last night.

Nor was the second-biggest issue that’s currently on people’s minds — guns, or at least semi-automatic handguns with extra-large clips** wielded by people who are delusional and unable to understand reality like Jared Lee Loughner.  Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was discussed very briefly in the opening paragraph, then dropped, which left a huge opportunity on the table.

Next, I realize the SotU address is political theatre, but did we really need the theatre of the absurd?

I’m referring, of course, to the ridiculousness of seeing the Republicans and Democrats uneasily co-existing in front of the President rather than sit on opposite sides as they’ve generally done.  No one looked happy with this, and if it was intended (as was said) to be a “call for civility” in action, it was a dismal failure.

Finally, I re-iterate: what about the jobs?  What about the economy?  What about the high unemployment?  What are you going to do, Mr. President, about any of this, other than pontificate, obfuscate, and talk meaninglessly for over an hour?

The address, Mr. President, was simply too long.   And it wasn’t what we wanted — nay, needed — to hear.

Regardless of the left-wing pundits, the right-wing pundits, the centrist pundits or whatever other pundits may exist . . . and regardless of how some of the SotU address might work in smaller “sound bites” . . . this speech failed the country.  I don’t care what anyone says; I know the truth, as I’m a highly educated woman with a Master’s degree, and I’ve read a lot of history.

This speech was a dismal failure.

We needed to hear that you care, Mr. President.  That you are trying to do something.  And that what you’ll do will take effect this year.  Not next year.  Not the year after that.  Not in 2020.  Not in 2040.  But this year.  Now.   Because things are bad and are getting worse.

That you did not, Mr. President, probably will affect your chances in 2012.  For the worse.  And I can’t believe you don’t have some advisor who isn’t a yes-man up there in Washington, DC, who should’ve told you that this speech was a stinker.  Because if that person did so, you should’ve listened.

The 2011 SotU speech will end up making no difference in the long run, except to cement that you, President Barack Obama, are seen as well-meaning and benevolent, but also out of touch.  Big-time.


** Jason Cordova kindly pointed out that Jared Loughner used a semi-automatic handgun rather than an assault rifle, and he is of course quite right.  The main reason I keep thinking “assault rifle” is how big that clip was that Loughner was using — a legal size, yes, but still, very large.  That doesn’t excuse why I got it wrong even though I’ve heard the term over and over again, of course.  The error has now been corrected, as you see.  BC

4 Responses

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  1. It was a semi-automatic handgun used in AZ, Barb. Not an assault rifle.


    January 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    • Distinction noted, Jason, and the blog has been updated to fix the problem. Thank you for pointing it out. (I keep thinking about that huge clip Loughner had and I want to think “assault rifle.” I know it would’ve been _worse_ with an assault rifle, but for some reason I keep throwing that big clip in there and getting egg roll.)

      Don’t you think, though, that Obama could’ve used this somehow as a rallying cry to the nation that we all need to pull together? That’s the main reason I got so disgusted with the SotU address . . . nothing was in there except “Win the Future,” and you know what the acronym for that is, right? (WTF. Which is what I thought of every time he said the silly phrase.)

      Barb Caffrey

      January 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

  2. 1. What Jason said.
    2. The unemployment rate is over 15%, it’s just not mentioned as such for exactly the reasons you mentioned. to the mixed seating arrangement I like the way one pundit put it “What were back in the 5th grade now and have to be told to sit together and make nice?”
    4. Political Theatre..yeah a comedy..and a spectacularly bad one at that.
    5.Too long..ayup..about 70-71 minutes as a matter of fact. With all the artful pauses for everyone on the floor to kiss his butt by giving him applause he didn’t deserve.
    6. the speech failed the country? Nope. He and the 111th congress did. In an appropriately mega craptastic fashion. BTW..the 2nd half of my own rant and running commentary is up.


    January 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    • Sean, I agree with you that the Congress has failed — it’s been failing for at least six years, if not more, as they are _woefully_ out of touch with the rest of the country. Even though I do not like the current President, at all, I can’t lay all the blame of the economy on him — more on the Congress, yes, of course — because as you know, the previous President made a lot of odd choices when it came to programs he backed, etc., and the financial meltdown occurred under George W. Bush’s watch . . . TARP I occurred under Bush’s watch, too. (I view the last two Presidents as less-than-average Presidents, btw. Even though Obama would get an “incomplete/less-than-average” grade right now due to only being there two years.)

      Excellent points! And I’ll be glad to read the rest of your commentary; I thought it insightful and interesting. I wish more of our pundits were saying what you are, as clearly as you have, because some of _them_ don’t seem to get it, either.

      Barb Caffrey

      January 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm

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