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.

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