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Thursday, January 28, 2010

State Of The Speech

If there had to be one take-away from last night's speech, it would be this - no matter what was said, proposed, admitted, revealed, rejected, or renewed, Republicans would say that this was an abject failure for Obama. But, as always, they are letting the world know that they are on the wrong side of the issues.

Even though Obama made the economy and recovery and creation of jobs a pivotal portion of the SOTU, Republicans have immediately took to their trusted venues of supplication ( Fox"News", conservative bloggers, talk radio ) to claim that there were no new ideas, or that plans would essentially "grow government" and provide little to no help.

From talk of the economy, to healthcare, and even vowing to repeal DADT, conservative Republicans went to their pitiful grammatical analysis tools: counting how many times Obama said "I" or "me", as if pronoun usage by the President shows that he cares little for the country he was charged to lead. But isn't that what was expected of Obama last night - that he align himself with the failures of his first year and to own up to why things had to be done a certain way? It was, but you can't tell conservatives that. After all, they tend to forget what they say after a few hours if it's politically expedient.

And while there were some jokes, some laughter, and some visible disapproval by many ( including Justice Sam Alito who is allegedly some non-partisan Judge ) this was a very powerful SOTU speech. But now, it is the task of Republicans to tear each and every component apart, inserting their own version of context and removing the facts that stand in their way.

Revisionist history isn't reserved solely for decades past. After all, in the soundbite culture that 24hr news networks operate in, it in imperative to get your message out quickly and repeat it as often as you are able. Fox"News" is masterful in this regard, and I am sure that tonights opinion programs will be rife with distortions of Obama's speech, complete with analysis from those that are employed as nothing more than "yes men".

It was stated on NPR recently that Obama needed to be more pedagogical with his first SOTU, that he needed to be detailed and cite examples and give anecdotal reasoning in order to educate not just the American people, but the Congressional body that has become mired in the legislative process. I, at least, believe he was more successful in meeting that challenge than most will give him credit for.

The unfortunate aspect of the modern political process is that conservative Republicans will now be so hell-bent on shouting down everything Obama had to say last night that their rhetoric will dominate much of the remaining 48hrs of this weeks news cycle. Pundits and commentators will be called upon to respond to specious allegations made by prominent voices like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Rove, and others. And while the networks will be so focused on parsing the language they use, the speech will be forgotten by many, replaced with the dizzying task of dealing with the conservative noise machine. This is, thankfully, not true for us all.

It is a new year for America and for Obama. He has laid before us a plan that is what this country needs, though there are some aspects that will continue to need mending and care. Last year was no picnic for sure, but this is no excuse to forget was was done. This is what separates Republicans from Democrats - we ( be we liberal or progressive or moderate ) are willing to look back and take stock in what has happened in order to rethink and reshape our strategies. Republicans of all stripes despise the fact that we have hindsight as well as a vision for the future. It is those two attributes that Obama displayed last night.

There's lots to be done this year, for both parties. It's time to not just "wait and see" what happens, but to get active and remain that way.

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