Category Archives: State of the Union

No Grit

I want True Grit to win best picture. That movie showed that when you have someone on your side who is a determined, anything is possible. Tonight, Obama didn’t show any grit. Instead, it was more of a blunt professor telling the class what needs to be done.

Obama spoke about a lot of policy areas both Democrats and Republicans can agree on. The one that stood out was the spending freeze. You can’t say it won’t reduce the deficit (because it does), and elected officials can’t complain about a project being cut that their district or state needs. Other than that, there wasn’t much.

The speech was close to 7,000 words and there were hardly any specifics. He spoke broadly about cutting federal spending, energy policy, and the nations infrastructure. But he didn’t say what he wanted to do about it, only what that he wanted something done.

When talking about creating jobs, he spoke about working with businesses and reducing red tape. Clear reversals in tone with a new economic team and Chief of Staff coming in. But nothing to get excited about.

When it came to health care, he opened the door to make changes to the law. That is despite the fact when American’s find out what is actually in the law, they like it.

A part of me is disappointed that the administration took this route. I like the big speeches that fired me up to go campaign and work for change. I liked the feeling Obama was a guy who wanted to do big things, but none of that was shown tonight.

Instead, Obama was kept expectations low. If Congress passes anything that he can sign into law it is an automatic victory for him. There is an upside to any policy and he can use the bully pulpit to say what he is signing (a bipartisan piece of legislation) louder then anyone else in Washington.

Was it the right way to go. Probably. It’s safe and he is worried about winning re-election in 2012. What worries me is that he seems to have forgotton why people got off their couches to vote for him. They were excited about what they thought he could accomplish.

I did not see a person who I would hire to help me seek revenge for the death of a person I loved. In 2008 the left took revenge on the Republicans, but tonight, Obama showed No Grit.

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Filed under Obama, President Obama, SOTU, State of the Union, True Grit

We Need Energy

If you want evidence that only funny characters and what they say dominate the news media, try figuring out the latest debate on taxes. The Senate “worked” this weekend on the nations taxes. But since the United States Senate requires hours of debate before a vote can actually take place, it makes it easy to waste a lot of time. So unless you are a C-SPAN2 junky (like me) you missed hours upon hours of our elected officials talking about how they were going to vote.

[Quick side note: Notice how I didn’t say debate to describe what the Senate was doing this weekend. The Senate doesn’t debate anymore. If you want to read a great debate, look up Second Reply to Hayne, given by Daniel Webster.]

But don’t worry, Senator’s don’t get paid overtime. After all that talk the only agenda that was accomplished was playing politics. Only two votes were taken and both sides knew they were going to fail. Democrats said they wanted to show Republicans only support the rich, and Republican’s refused to raise taxes even though they claim to want to tackle the deficit. Now it looks like all the Bush taxes will be extended. The good news is that unemployment benefits will also. The bad news is that even if Democrats somehow manage to raise some taxes, Wall Street is already trying to figure out how to not pay them.

What both sides forget though is that Americans aren’t looking for a show, they’re looking for things to get done. While building Noah’s Arc in Kentucky may seem funny, it is a policy that will create jobs and help the economy. It shows leadership and strength, which is exactly what people are looking for.

One of President Obama’s problems the past two years is that he let Republican’s control the debate on all the issues. Whether it was health care or Wall Street Reform, the Obama never used the bully pulpit to the extent other Presidents like FDR or Reagan did. Even though both President’s lost seats during their midterm elections, their base was ready to fight for them when they were up for reelection, and they won big.

The State of the Union speech is coming up soon. It will be a moment where the president can set the agenda and tone for the next two years he is in office. The first issue he should talk about is energy. This is an area where Republican’s and Democrats can make themselves happy. Obama already came out in favor of nuclear energy, which Republican’s have been pushing for years. Wind and solar energy have are already a growing industry. With the right incentives, creating new energy industries can create thousands of jobs that can’t be shipped off. The best part is that the technology for these new industries is being developed in America, and that means more exports which (according to standard models) will help America’s economy grow.

President Obama not only needs to create more energy, he also needs to show more energy. Letting the other side control the modern hyperbole of a debate, only takes away the victories he has already accomplished. We all know what a great communicator he can be, next year, it’s time to step up and speak loud.

 

 

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Filed under Democrats, Energy, Nuclear, President Obama, Republicans, Solar, Speech, State of the Union, Wind