27 January 2010

SOTU 2010 - Continuously updated

UPDATE 20: Final updates.
The text of President Obama's speech is here, and the text of the Republican response is here.
Video on the job (e.g., stimulus bill in hiding) is below:

Video clips and various pundit response from the SOTU are here.

UPDATE 19: The Republican response did a great job of re-establishing what the core values of the party are. President Obama gave a 'super-market' of a speech (Shields on PBS - great line), rather than a 'hand your hat on this' speech. It was a well-delivered, but not very memorable speech.

Interesting - Gov. McDonnell is giving the speech in the VA House Chamber.
Summary of main points:
1. Encouraged by emphasis on jobs, but concerned about the specifics.
2. Wants more emphasis on entrepreneurship, and lack of government interference (quoting Jefferson).
3. Warning against the great, growing, government, debt and deficit. "... restore the proper, limited role of government. Without reform, the excessive role of government limits..."
4. Health Care Reform - yes, we need reform, but not this way. Particularly emphasizing tort reform and increased competition. "And our solutions are 1,000 page bills that no one has fully read, and that were drafted behind closed doors." Solutions.org.
5. Especially likes the first two energy points, and somewhat the third. Hates cap-and-trade. Points out that while the Administration promotes with one hand, it's policies have delayed oil exploration and nuclear development, and that cap and trade limits growth.
6. He agrees with the President on education development.
7. Security: his oldest daughter was an Army PL in Iraq. Agrees with responsible draw down in Iraq and redeployment to Afghanistan. "But we have serious concerns with the recent steps the Administration has taken ..." Quoted Scott Brown: "We should be spending tax-payer dollars to defeat terrorists, not defend them."
8. "Republicans know that government can not guarantee outcomes, but we strongly believe that it [can provide] equal opportunity..." Arguing against intrusive government growth into auto industry, banking sectors, energy companies, etc. "Government closest to the people governs best. And no government program can ever replace caring Americans, freely giving, to one another. As Scripture says, 'to whom much is given, much will be required.'"
9. We're entering better times, and need to work together to make it so.

UPDATE 17: While waiting - compare all the prior SOTU speeches.

Governor Bob McDonnell (VA) will be giving the Republican response.

Going into serious speech mode in the wrap-up. It's hard to assess the effect of this section since I think much of the meat of the speech was internally contradictory, but the language is good. It's far more hopeful and positive (and patriotic for that matter) than I've heard him be in a long time. We'll see how things pan out over the next few weeks. I'm interested in hearing the wrap-up and Republican response.

Calling for repealing 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,' and more vigorous enforcement of employment discrimination law.

Haiti: 12,000 Americans in relief and development work.
"For America must always stand on the side of human freedom and dignity." Great line - I wish he had more vigorously and immediately applied it during last summer's Green Revolution in Tehran, even if it didn't help.

Security: In the past year, hundreds of Al Qaeda's leadership captured or killed; affirm good governance in Afghanistan; "responsibly leaving Iraq ... to its people." "By the end of this August, we will have all combat troops out of Iraq." Emphasizing support of troops upon return. "That's why we made the largest increase in investments for veterans in decades - last year."
"The United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest reachings [yes, that was the word] arms-control agreements in two decades." Claiming that sanctions on North Korea are being vigorously enforced - lots of questions here - and that Iran is isolated (umm, no, not really).

"... But what frustrates the American people is the idea that every day is election day. We shouldn't have a perpetual campaign." Err, isn't that what you have Mr. President? While saying that he's speaking to both parties, he clearly is slamming the Republicans, scolding them for "just saying no to everything." "I'd like to being monthly meetings with both Democrat and Republican leadership." I'd sincerely love to see this happen.

"I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars it took to rescue the economy last year." He's getting into the discretionary spending freeze proposal and threatens a veto of bills that don't comply - only works if he's serious. He's also talking about removing tax relief to 'financial managers,' 'those making over $200K,' and other evil people. He will create a Presidential commission on 'debt-relief.' He's being awfully sarcastic and snotty, both in tone and word now - finally got around to the blame Bush canard.
"It's time to finally realize that we face more than a [budget] deficit ..., we face a deficit of trust." Very true, but you seem to fail to realize that some of that loss of trust is in you, your administration and Congress.

"... But if anyone has a better idea to bring down premiums and [reduce costs] let me know." Here are several ideas Mr. President: serious, comprehensive tort reform; eliminate barriers to competition; eliminate incentives for insurance companies to be providers of health care; incentivize responsible consumer decision-making; incentivize MSAs.

Ahhh - there it is. "... to relieve the burden on middle class families, that we still need health insurance reform. Now, let's clear a few things up." (First thought - don't be so snotty). Every poll out there now says that the public is not with him on this - they want reform, but not the way Congress is going about it. Back to the drawing board! It's clear he has no intention of going back to that board, and I seriously doubt Pelosi and Reid have that intention either.

I personally love the idea of paying less on student loans, but how the heck can we afford it? It's fine to say that colleges and universities should reduce costs (and I fully agree - they're completely disproportionate), but again, government can't do this.

Invest in schools: no problems with his emphasis on performance-based evaluation.

'National Export Initiative': "We will double our exports in the next five years. It's totally impossible for government to accomplish this. All government can do is open doors and smooth the path.

1. Safe, clean nuclear power plants
2. New drilling offshore
3. Investment in fuel-alternatives
4. Energy and climate bill

The first three received broad-spread bipartisan applause, while the fourth point received very little (even from the Dems). I agree with this line: "providing incentives for energy efficiency ... is the right thing to do." But, having the government drive a 'green economy' won't lead to an effective, efficient and green economy. This has to be a bottom-up strategy to succeed.

Beat those evil businesses that 'ship jobs overseas.' Never mind if they also contribute to jobs and the economy here, or if there are other jobs coming here.

Implying that the US is not investing in its future. "I do not accept 2nd Place for the United States of America." I'm not sure exactly what he means by this. "It's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth ... I'm not interested in punishing banks, I'm interested in protecting our economy." Punitive fees and taxes punish banks. I agree with the concept that we should separate traditional banking from high-risk investment institutions, but creating yet another layer of bureaucracy won't do the trick.

Tax cuts enacted helped to save money and keep folks employed. Is that why unemployment shot up to 10%? Resorts to the 'saved jobs' canard - no data to back this up, so it's impossible to either prove or disprove.
On track to add another 1.5 M jobs due to the 'Recovery Act' (e.g. stimulus bill) - wow! I thought he'd abandon saying this after all of the controversy over numbers.

Calling for a new jobs bill, stating that the "... true engine of jobs [creation] in this country will always be small business:
1. Loan stimulation at local banks to local business - if done effectively, this could have a dramatic impact.
2. Tax breaks for small and large business - good!
3. Cut capital gains taxes on small businesses - good!
If they could actually pass a bill that focused just on these three components, it could be very effective.

1. Started out telling us what we already know - people are PO'd.
2. Fee on banks to 'recover' the bailout dollars left unpaid. Regardless of whether or not that particular bank took a bailout or paid it back?
3. Don't worry about the raised taxes - we've also cut.

Just before SOTU, the RCP average spread of President Obama's job approval numbers has dropped by 3 points in a twenty-four hour period. Only NBC and CBS show approval at 50%; the remaining polls (NPR, CNN, Gallup, Rasmussen, all have approval ratings at less than 50%. Rasmussen and CNN both show negative approval ratings (-7 and -1 respectively).

Polling Data

PollDateSampleApprove Disapprove Spread
RCP Average1/14 - 1/26--48.746.3 +2.4
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl1/23 - 1/25800 A5044 +6
NPR - POS/GQR1/20 - 1/23800 LV4948 +1
Gallup1/24 - 1/261547 A4846 +2
Rasmussen Reports1/24 - 1/261500 LV4653 -7
CNN/Opinion Research1/22 - 1/241009 A4950 -1
CBS News1/14 - 1/171090 A5037 +13

See All President Obama Job Approval Polling Data

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