Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#SOTU2012 Liveblog

Tonight, I'll be liveblogging President Obama's State of the Union speech, as well as all the G-O-TEA response(s) and all the media spin. And tonight, Obama will be drawing clear distinctions from the G-O-TEA religion of Milton Friedman laissez faire run amok.

"It's time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody."

Obama will describe what he calls a blueprint for an American economy "that's built to last," based on four main themes: a focus on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and what Obama calls a "return to American values – of fairness for all, and responsibility from all."

In a message tailored to his reelection pitch, he'll contrast that vision with a recent history in which he said the economy was "weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits."

"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules," he will say. "What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them."

I'm really looking forward to this. Stay tuned for more to come.

5:15 PM-

Here's something that will help in drawing clear distinctions. While Obama "insists on responsibility from everybody", Mittens is actually trying to draw up sympathy for the big banks that caused the financial crisis and escalated The Great Recession. Is he for real? Well, he was the one who said this.

As we discussed back in October...

Are underwater homeowners to blame for deregulating Wall Street, allowing banks to create and advertise "No Down Payment! Interest Only! Record Low Rates! Buy Now!" adjustable rate mortgages, then repackage and sell this bad debt as "AAA gold standard mortgage backed securities!"? Are underwater homeowners to blame for the enormous lack of regulatory oversight of the financial sector that reached its horrifying climax in the 2008 economic collapse? So why are underwater homeowners expected by the likes of Mitt Romney to "SUCK IT UP!" when Wall Street "21st century robber barons" are the chief culprits behind this fiasco? [...]

If we follow Mitt Romney's advice to "let it run its course and hit the bottom", our economy will be in an even deeper hole that will be even more difficult to escape from. Housing has nearly always been the starting force in turning an economy from recession to recovery. So how do our communities benefit from empty homes? And yes, Romney's "do nothing and let the banks foreclose" policy prescription would lead to even more empty homes if implemented. And this leads to a "domino effect" of depressed home values, scared consumers, fewer home goods purchases, less construction, and fewer jobs. Properly addressing the home foreclosure crisis is not about "re-inflating the bubble", but rather restarting the economy.

Funny enough, President Obama will be announcing tonight the creation of a new Mortgage Crisis Unit that will investigate criminal misconduct that led to the financial crisis and housing collapse. Again, the contrast couldn't be any clearer.

6:15 PM-

I'm now at the Stonewall watch party. Big crowd here! I'll have more on that later.

But for now, I will talk about what Obama is saying. He started his speech by highlighting his foreign policy achievements. Amer
ica is now out of Iraq, Osama bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is weak, and the Middle East is transforming for the freer and better.

He's now pivoting to the economy. And yes, he's really hitting hard on the theme of restoring economic justice and working toward equality. He's noting his success in job creation, as well as his leading the way to rein in Wall Street's excesses.

Oh, and here's the "fight obstruction with action" line. It's getting HUGE applause in the room. He doesn't even have to call out John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich by name. He's slashing apart their G-O-TEA religion quite well right now. He's highlighting the resurrection of the US auto industry. And he's about to talk about renewable energy successes. He said that we bet on American workers, and that the bet is paying off.

So far, so great.

6:30 PM-

Hmmm... President Obama is now announcing a trade enforcement unit. Funny enough, this will please both unions concerned about unfair trade practices... As well as Hollywood studios who were pissed over the loss of SOPA & PIPA. And seriously, we can't just continue to let vulture capitalists run roughshod over us.

And speaking more on that, Obama also rolled out an aggressive plan to reform the corporate tax code. He wants to expand breaks to small businesses and high-tech firms that manufacture here while taking a harder line on "legal" tax cheats. Sorry, Mitt Romney. I guess that's why Joe Heck looked so angry when the camera cut to him?

He's now talking education. Obama is explaining how educational opportunities can lift students out of poverty. He also spoke up for teachers. He sounds ready to end the ridiculous failed experiment known as "No Child Left Behind". Yes! We need real teaching, not training for standardized tests.

6:40 PM-

Obama stressed the need to make college more affordable. He even threatened to cut funding to schools that are making their tuition too unaffordable! Wow.

He then brought up comprehensive immigration reform. Wow. He went there. He's really shaming Congress!

He's again bringing up the need to invest in innovation. We really can't continue to shortchange our future.We have to fund research.

Now Obama is talking energy. He mentioned his willingness to allow for more oil drilling in some areas, but then he pivoted to cleaner energy. Here's where natural gas comes in. Apparently he's willing to regulate fracking, but he definitely sounds open to more natural gas development.

And now, Obama is talking real renewable energy. He's now reminding America that renewable energy investments mean real job creation. He refuted the far right's Solyndra nonsense with real examples of real job creation. We've subsidized fossil fuel for far enough. If we want a real "free marketplace", then it's time to level the playing field for green energy.

Oh, and now he's announcing that both the Pentagon and public lands will be going all in on renewable development! Again, it's time to act.

6:55 PM-

And here's what we've been waiting all night for. Obama is now hitting hard on economic inequality... And on the tax code. He doesn't have to name Mitt Romney to point out his tax evasion. He's now explaining how Mitt Romney's 14% tax rate on his $21,000,000 annual income adds to the deficit and takes away from students struggling to stay in college, and from seniors trying to pay for their prescription drugs. Ha. Mittens won't get away with this any longer!

7:10 PM-

For a moment, we heard some of the Barack Obama we came to know in 2007. He talked again about the biting partisan tone of Washington. He asked Congress to stop fighting each other to death and start working together. That may really be harder said than done.

And now, Obama turns back to foreign policy. Libya. Egypt. Syria. "Tyranny is no match for liberty." The Arab Spring is here to stay. The world is finally reaching accord on what to do about Iran. Obama continues to remind us of how he's done a total 189 on foreign policy once he took over from Bush... And that America and the world are all the better for it.

7:20 PM-

HA! Obama just stated America is NOT in decline, and that our position on the world stage is better than ever. For all the Republican bluster of "America first", they now sound like the "America haters" they always accused progressives of. He just turned the patriotism argument on its head.

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