Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working out the brain and the body.

So picture me last night, riding the stationary bike in the Y's fitness center -- clapping away to the President's State of the Union Address. And yes, I was also judging people who thought watching reruns of chopped was more important than watching the SOTU. Here's a breakdown of what they missed.

Starting with the bad.  1) It was too long.  My legs eventually turned rubbery and I had to stop riding, and I'm sure I looked like a fool standing next a bike, watching TV at the gym.  2) Obama made too many comparisons to Bush's presidency. I personally get tired of hearing blame or being reminded of how badly we had it under W. BUT I understand why Obama did this. The far right wants people to think Obama is for tough regulations, government run healthcare, and a pro-poverty economy. This is absurd! Considering Obama has deregulated more than W did and Obama has written less regulations than W did -- there is no ground for the first accusation.  Aside from a personal mandate (which Gingrich supports) Obama's healthcare bill is in no way a government take over. His bill actually strengthened the private insurance and medicine sectors (much to my dismay). Bush on the other hand, created one of the biggest government health care monopolies this country has seen in 38 years (MMA). Obama has deported more illegal immigrants that Bush ever did (again, much to my dismay). Obama has created more manufacturing jobs than Bush ever did (not a hard task, since Bush saw more losses to manufacturing jobs than any President in modern times, his father lines up beside him with large losses as well). Though the constant reminder of how terrible the last GOP Presidency was, was a little tiring, I do understand why Obama felt it necessary.

Onto things I liked:

I appreciated his telling Congress that they need to work together.  Twice he made reference to how our Military service men can work together for the good of this country despite philosophical differences.  Why can't Congress do the same?  He also mentioned that the gap between Wall Street and Main Street wasn't as big as the gap between Congress and their constituents (I think this was one of my claplikeafoolmoments). I appreciated how honest he was in recognizing despite party differences (think immigration reform), there are still compromises that can be made (think the Dream Act).  He made it clear that there is no reason to delay any compromises.

I'm glad he mentioned his willingness to cut Federal Government back. He wants to close three agencies, and there is no reason Congress should stop him (Bush created one of the largest agencies we have right now -- and he ballooned other pre-existing agencies).

I totally stand side by side with the President on tax reform. I love how he mentioned creating a fair tax for the wealthy isn't envy. Just because middle class citizens want millionaires to be taxed at at least the same rate as the middle class, doesn't mean the middle class is trying to rob the wealthy of their successes. Call it class war fare if you want, but it is not envy -- it's common sense and it's fairness.

Overall, I felt like that was one of the President's main themes of the night: fairness. He spoke a lot about how Higher Education and skills training needs to be made more readily available.  There are thousands of jobs open in the US that our workers just don't have the right skills for, why can't we fix that problem?  He talked about how over seas companies shouldn't get tax breaks, they should get tax increases. And companies who stay in the US should get support from the Federal Government. I felt like the underlining tone in all the topics he discussed was that fairness needs to drive Government policy (I really loved when he mentioned insider trading for Congress needs to be illegal -- just like it is for the rest of us, and I really wished the camera would have zoomed in on Pelosi at that moment).

In the end, the speech wasn't super memorable and it didn't come off as too strong a campaign pitch. I really think his direct message was to members of Congress. And considering their approval rating is less than 1/4th the President's; I figure they have nothing to loose if they act on his advice. You can't fall too much if you're only standing at 12% (and seriously, who are those 12%?).

So who else watched the SOTU?  And what did you think?

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