Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Episode 40: What a Difference a Month Makes


Post Presidential Address Thoughts

Wow. Last night’s address was truly something to behold. It is amazing how the face of our nation has changed so much in such a short time – women leaders, blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians in the cabinet, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Obama exchanging kisses on the cheek… it is a good time to be an American. I can’t help but think that the world is watching this event and think “how does that country, despite all its flaws, continue to progress as they have?”

From the moment the thunderous applause began as the president was announced, I knew this address would be different. And President Obama rose to the occasion, with oratory and candor we have not seen in a very long time – and one I have never seen in my lifetime. Throughout the campaign, I have criticized Obama for lacking that “fire.” I knew he was an incredibly intelligent guy, but I wanted to see a more impassioned performance. I was rewarded tonight with a speech full of hope, frankness, a bit of reserved aggression, and that “fire” I’ve been waiting to see.

What I found most impressive about this speech is Obama touched on most every campaign promise he made, and seems very sincere in his determination to make good on his promises. As an educator, I was extremely happy to hear a real commitment to education reform we so very badly need. I am excited to see real healthcare reform within a year so I no longer have to worry about getting sick and not having the money to get treatment. He is firmly committed to green technology that I believe can free us from foreign oil in less than the ten year timeline Obama has outlined.

Pundits have made some fuss over Obama’s pledge to raise taxes on the top 2% wealthiest Americans. I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal – if you make $20 million dollars a year, you already make more than 10 families make in a lifetime. I think that we all have to assume more responsibility for ourselves and each other. And the tax increase is simply going back to the Clinton era tax code – a time when America was arguably at its most prosperous.

It was refreshing to see members of both sides of the aisle giving standing ovations for hot button red vs. blue issues like Iraq and healthcare reform. Agin, the teacher in me swelled when I Obama said (paraphrased) “not graduating highschool is not only a disservice to yourself, it is a disservice to your country.” That statement was met with the loudest applause of the night, and made me stand up and clap as well!

I can’t help but think that the GOP is a little bit more open to post-partisanship after this speech. They need to do a better job participating in government instead of opposing it. I think the next time around, democrats will be more inclusive when designing the next bill. It was a rocky start, but I think now We are all on the same page.

On a sadder note, Bobby Jindal’s response was nothing short of disappointing, and perhaps embarrassing. His tone to me sounded very disingenuous, especially after mocking the monorail train that does NOT run to Disneyland. The response to Katrina is considered to be one the republican’s biggest failures – I would think evoking that name would be taboo in red country. But to use Katrina as an example of responsible government is just another sign of how out of touch some members of the GOP are. Furthermore, there was a serious disconnect between the speech, and Jindal’s response. It seemed to me as though he wrote his reaction to the speech before even seeing it. There was a line in the speech where Obama says he doesn’t want big government, and Jindal’s response was we have to keep the money out of the hand of the hands of greedy politicians – something to that effect. It’s early, and Jindal’s story is another great example of the American promise at work, but too many performances like those will knock him out of presidential position.
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1 comments: on "Episode 40: What a Difference a Month Makes"

conservative generation said...

Good post! Here are my own thumbs up and thumbs down.

Thumbs up: In general I'm a fan of fiscal responsibility, although a little confused as it will negate his stimulus plan. On the other hand I didn't think it would help so I guess I'm neither one way or the other, but fiscal responsibility is good.

Green Energy: totally about his speach about us leading the way here. However, I remain skeptical as he still rejects nuclear energy. Don't have a clue on this one. Nuclear produces no carbon and is the most efficient energy in the world asside from fussion, which we can't do yet. Regardless, if the US can create the next big thing in energy, then we will be looking at an influx of prosperity.

Education reform. Perhaps, you may help me on the details, I haven't had the time to look it up, but almost anything is better than what we are doing. However, I'm unsure about this everyone graduates rhetoric. It may sound ignorant, but sometimes people do have a good reason to not graduate high school. Not trying to make this a huge point, but I get itchy when politicians deal in absolutes.

Thumbs down: Cap and Trade. this has proven to be ineffective in reducing carbon in other nations that have tried it. It simply amounts to a tax on companies. More layoffs will ensue!

I'm for medical reform, but not socialized medicine. Simply not the right time and is the exact opposite of fiscal responsibility and not growning the government. I'm for affordable health care, but socialization of medicine is not the answer.

Rhetoric and no substance. I keep hoping that Obama actually means what he says, but I just see him saying one thing and doing another. He said he would have visibility and accountability by letting people view bills 5 days in advance and his stimulus bill is only available for 12 hours. More accountability and responsibility in his staff and we have three tax cheats and one involved in a play to pay scandal. He says he's going to limit access from lobbiests and hires lobbiests to his staff. He says he put together his cabinet in record time, but still does not have a full cabinet. Promised details on bank bail out 2 and gave no details. We are going to have fiscal responsibility, but two weeks ago he passed a massive spending plan with irresponsible spending. It's not that I don't agree with what he says, I don't agree with what he's doing.


Thumbs up: Thought he gave a good speech, which was in line with his thoughts on rebuilding the republican party. We don't need to look more like the Democrat party, we need to go back to our principles and offer viable solutions to problems based on those principles and let the people decide who's ideas are better.

I also appreciated Jindal going out on the limb and actually offering some detailed solutions. A breath of fresh air from a president who tells us, "We are going to revolutionize health care," but not tell us how he's going to do it.

Thumbs down: Reckless self promotion. Jindal may be a presidential hopeful, but I'll decide that based on his actions and not him throwing his resume in my face. I know Obama does it too, but he at least sounds cooler when he does it!

By the way, I don't think there is an issue with him mentioning Katrina. He was there and was elected based on how he handled himself in that situation. There are many republicans in this country and most of them are not George W Bush.

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