Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama Strikes Nuanced Tone in SOTU Address

My Fellow Americans:
The State of the Union is strong. And under dire threat. You are burdened with growing unemployment, foreclosures, Islamist terrorism, and the "entertainment" division of NBC. But never have I been so hopeful about the future of our country. And angry. Angry and hopeful, because I feel that you are angry. And I understand that anger, the kind of anger that arises when the bankers on Wall Street are taking home big bonuses to their trophy wives while the hardworking American taxpayer, whose tax dollars saved Wall Street from disaster, is fighting just to keep his home and can't even dream of trading up from his first wife since she is the only one who still has a job. But the American people did not elect me to point fingers. You elected me because I could correctly pronounce "nuclear"and because I had no discernible "Negro dialect."

But I understand your frustration. You wonder why politicians in Washington no longer seem able to tackle the important problems facing this country and enact common sense solutions. To ensure you have health care while reducing the role of government in your lives. To make sure everyone can afford to go to college WITHOUT adding to government spending. To keep us safe from people who set their underwear on fire AND to end the endless war on terror. For too long in Washington, the system has favored those who take only one side in these political arguments. The pundits award "points" to those argue that one policy is "better" than another, This is nothing but the tired old thinking of the past. I came to Washington to change those ways of doing business. To show that someone who was super smart and cooler in a suit than any man since Sam Cooke could cut through the arguments over small government vs. large government and instead understand that what we needed was a smallish large government. Or a largish small government. But just because now both the right and the left are united in opposing me doesn't mean I am going to be drawn into their old battles. I am going to continue to strive for the same kind of common sense solutions that you demand. Thus, I am proposing a 7 point plan:

1. I promise for every war I escalate I will wind down a different war.
2. We will confront unsustainable and wasteful cost of health care AND make sure nothing will impede your ability to get whatever test or treatment you, your 13 doctors, or your drug companies and device makers might think is best for you (or them).
3. We will recognize the need for fundamental reform to a dysfunctional health care system but make sure we don't change anything for those of you who are ok with things as they are.
4. One year ago everyone agreed that a massive stimulus plan was essential to avert another Depression. But now that the economy has gone from "life-support" to "critically ill" and my poll numbers are dropping, it is clear that we need to reign in government spending. But we will take care that we don't restrain it so much that we stop stimulating the economy. "Restrained stimulus", I call it.
5. We will not shy away from the critical need to stem global warming and to create a new generation of green jobs. But we understand that sensible offshore oil exploration is the best ways to keep fuel prices low enough so you can afford to drive your SUVs.
6. I have asked the military to end "don't ask don't tell" which treats our gay servicemen and women as second-class citizens. But I respect that gay marriage is also a threat to the "first class" status of our heterosexual population.
7. And finally, I will continue to reach out to Republicans, so that together we can find bipartisan solutions to all the problems that 8 years of disastrous Republican rule have left me.

These ideas aren't "Democrat" ideas or "Republican ideas" but "your ideas" -- and I know how smart and sensible you are because you elected me.

I know that times are hard for many Americans. For people like Mary Pesknecker in Allentown PA who wrote to tell me how her community has been devastated ever since the factory that once supplied "Truck Nuts" for the entire nation moved offshore for cheaper labor. Or John Suisham in Coral Beach, who lost his house to foreclosure and now must go down to the library to view on-line pornography. But I also know that America has never been a nation of quitters. We didn't quit in that cold winter in Valley Forge when General Washington said "Let's roll." The brave men of the US Army didn't turn back on the beaches of Normandy when they were met by a withering hail of German bullets. And we didn't quit when Paula left "Idol". So I say to my Democratic colleagues: We still have the largest majorities any party has had in 40 years. And the American people expect us to lead. To solve our problems. So let's get it done. Let's get it done. Call me when you are finished. God bless America.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back and Forth over Palin Continues

The release of several new books on the 2008 campaign has reignited the war of words regarding the failed McCain-Palin campaign. The latest involved the assertion, in the recent "60 Minutes" interview with McCain campaign head Steve Schmidt, that Governor Palin had told staffers that she believed her nomination was part of God's plan. In an unprecedented move, the Almighty authorized sources to speak on his behalf to deny direct involvement in her selection. "Frankly, He was as shocked as anyone by her selection. He had never even heard of her," said an archangel speaking under a request of anonymity out of fear of retribution by Palin supporters. It actually turns out that a benign Heavenly mix-up may have been behind the selection of the then-Alaska Governor. "Look, to be honest, the job of managing the Republican campaigns was given to one of our demoted archangels. Ever since the Republicans tried to screw up God's plans for Terri Schiavo, the Almighty has viewed that assignment as a way to punish under-performing staff - kind of like getting placed on the Kyrgyzstan desk at the State Department," said the source. "And the angel remembered "popular Governor", "snowmobiling", "problem solver" and somehow confused Palin with Pawlenty. Believe me, we were all pretty red-faced." According to the source, the decision of the Almighty to go on record was furthered by His annoyance at Palin's recent statements that she might re-enter politics if God "showed her the open door" someday. "Look, he's the Almighty, not some two-bit bellhop in a uniform. He is out there smiting His enemies, not managing the careers of second-rate political pundits. " In an unrelated vein, the Archangel mentioned "the Almighty really wishes Pat Robertson would shut his pie-hole. He would have shut Pat up Himself, if you know what I mean, but He is still in tense negotiations with Lucifer about who would have to take Pat when he dies."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tearful Admission of Performance Enhancing Drug Use

Dallas -- One day after slugger Mark McGwire tearfully admitted to using steroids, another confession concerning performance-altering drug use rocked the political world. In a long and rambling interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace, former President George W. Bush admitted that he had been under the influence of "Conservative Hatred for Effective Nonpartisan Intervention" (also known as CHENIs) throughout his 8 year administration. "It is now time to come clean and admit what many have long suspected. Throughout my eight years as President I regularly used CHENIs. I sincerely apologize to the public, I am sorry I ever took CHENI and I wish I had never governed in the CHENI era." Viewers had long suspected that CHENI use was at the root of the Presidents record-breaking string of policy failures, but to date Bush had claimed he achieved his failures without outside help -- going so far as to answer critics with a pointed "I'm the decider." Despite his admissions, the President stopped short of admitting that he could not have failed as badly without the assistance of CHENI. "Look, I first started relying on them when I thought I needed some strength after 9/11. But I screwed up while I was taking CHENIs and I screwed up when I was off them. CHENIs alone don't give you the lack of skills necessary to be one of the worst Presidents. That requires the monumental incuriosity, relying on "gut" decisions vs. thoughtfulness, and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the failings of your loyal allies." Bush pointed out that one of his most famous domestic failures -- the post-Katrina response --had no relation to to CHENI use. Still, critics were only partially mollified. "I am glad he is trying to put this behind him," noted the NY Times' Frank Rich. "But I think he will always have an asterisk next to his name when the list of the worst executives is made up. There is no question CHENI use helped him launch an unnecessary war, keep an incompetent Defense Secretary, alienate allies, condone torture and push through harmful tax cuts. I think there he certainly could have been a pretty bad President without CHENI but we will never know if he could have achieved his monumental failures all on his own. The legacy of Millard Fillmore is still safe."