Obama SOTU Live-Blogging: Short Hand


obama state of the union.jpg
World War II. Beaches, Troops. Challenges.
Feel sorry for me — crappy circumstances. Tough economy. Tough national security position. FEEL FOR ME.
For troubled Americans — with children — Some are frustrated, some are angry.
People are tired of partisanship. Why won’t Wall Street make things better?
“I have not been more hopeful than I am tonight.”
[Congressman and Senators stand up — but comment falls flat on my crowd watching.]
What unifies Republicans and Democrats — “We all hated the bank bailout”.
Editorial — You might have hated it, but Summers and Geithner did not hate it. Bob Rubin sent you a “thank you card.”
Joe Biden looks great — only one in the “team of rivals” whose cork has risen.
“Millions of Americans have more to spend” — but actually, they are saving, because they are fearful about their future.
This is not a speech that recognizes what has gone wrong. This is not a speech that senses that they have confused tactics and strategic goals.
I want Obama to succeed. I do. But this speech — thus far — does not push me in his direction.
The economy is growing again — BUT NOT IN JOBS!
“Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010.”
Show me. Make me believe it. Fire your Econ team and show me you have someone who understands job creation.
Now he wants to give $30 billion from banks that paid back loans to save the community banks that were not gambling. Yahoo…! (Joking)
Obama says he is visiting Tampa, Florida to visit high rail project — like ones all across the country. Where? My partner took about 12 hours to go to Montreal today via New York and Boston. Where are the high rail commitments happening??
I want a “jobs bill on my desk right away”. Really?? You had one in your first stimulus package — and the jobs saved were at Goldman Sachs and Citibank.
“China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting.”
We need to do more. “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.”
But that is what you are doing!!!!!
“It’s time to get serious about the issues that are hampering our growth.”
I agree — but show me in any serious policy proposal how you are changing the game.
Your economic team — particularly Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, and your economic consigliere Bob Rubin — believe that anything that robs from Wall Street’s unfettered growth and dynamism hampers growth.
Energy, energy, energy — nuclear, off shore, renewables, clean energy/climate change legislation. Checking off the boxes.
We will double exports….and we are going to have a national export initiative! Only way to make it work is to force the Chinese yuan higher.
Make trading partners play by the rules — a line stolen from every President since trade agreements came into play.
“We need to invest in the skills and education of our people.” I agree — but does Obama really have a sense of what is happening in this country in education. It has not turned around. He needs to get deeper into the muck.
“Students can no longer depend on where they live — versus their merit.” Where do your daughters go in DC??
Obama says “we need health insurance reform.” But at what cost?
I’m taking a break…this is frustrating. I’m chatting with other journalists online about the speech, what it means, how it ranks, and whether or not it is connecting with Americans.
My friend Marc Ambinder really thinks that this is an intersting speech.
I am frustrated by it. It’s a check off the box speech — not an “I’m changing the game speech.”
There is a deep part of my mind and psyche that really likes Barack Obama. I am mesmerized by his oratorical skills and framing, but the guy who knows how to move legislators, businesses, labor unions, militaries, and so on — is seated behind him; Joe Biden.
Biden has his hiccups — but somehow the combined package of Obama and Biden is not yielding the real changes in the domestic and social contracts America holds that we should have.
I want Obama to get this right. He just checked off the boxes on immigration and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Good to mention. Better to get to getting these things done.
The part of Obama’s speech about how hard change is is very good. Change is hard. i get it. But he is a brilliant man — a great man, I think. But he is not winning and he needs to know from those who care for him and his success that the fact that politics is tough is no excuse for not getting the nation moved forward.
His Chief of Staff has none of the humility or introspection that Barack Obama is exhibiting tonight. He needs to make sure Rahm reads this speech — again, if he wants to help Barack Obama and the U.S. to succeed.
Speech done — I need to go think about what it all means.
The biggest thing that stands out is how long the speech was. I feel like Obama is warning the Senate that he can out filibuster all of them.
But I am filled with doubts still — but to be fair, I heard some of what I wanted to hear from Barack Obama about priorities and the economy – but until I see a change in his personnel choices and policy decisions, I don’t find his confessions about mistakes compelling.
More later — more tomorrow. I hope I have a less bleak read when i step back from this, but to be honest — as I listen, I feel that this was not a game-changing address, and that is what he needed.
— Steve Clemons


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