Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Sputnik at night: Live-blogging the State of the Union

11:02 p.m.: OK, "The Daily Show" is on so it's time to wrap this thing up.

Sputnik at night: Live-blogging the State of the Union

11:02 p.m.: OK, "The Daily Show" is on so it's time to wrap this thing up.

Overall? I think this speech helped Obama politically at a time when he was already on the upswing. On the substance, he was really reaching for the center -- every good word about the more progressive elements of his agenda, such as health care reform or repealing "Don't ask, don't tell," had to be counter-balanced with something like tort reform or allowing ROTC back on college campuses (which should be a no brainer at this point but makes for a nice applause line. As noted below, things that might stir up controversy -- firearms, global warming, the plightof the poor -- just disappeared.

But the truth is that few everyday voters remember the substance of the State of the Union address -- they remember the tone. And here, I think Obama has really grown into the job, as many hoped he would. Sections of the speech like his riff on Pennsylvanian Brandon Fisher and his role in rescuing the Chilean miners was ripped from the Reagan/Clinton playbook, as were his effective invocations of the American can-do spirit. The former president of the Harvard Law Review is still an ace student.

The GOP? I'll write about their plan when they actually have one that's more than "Just say 'no.'"

Good night and good luck.  

10:55 p.m.: Shorter Michele Bachmann -- we overthrew totalitarianism at Iwo Jima, and we can do it here.

Meanwhile, after Paul Ryan's speech, "Eddie Munster" became a trending topic on Twitter. Seriously.

 

10:51 p.m.: Waiting for Kathy Griffin to join Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan on CNN panel.

10:43 p.m.: Sputnik I was a space race, while Sputnik II is an ear race, Barack Obama vs.Paul Ryan. Otherwise, not impressed by Ryan: Bobby Jindal without the antebellum columns. Waiting with eager anticpation for Michele Bachmann.

10:40 p.m.: But let's not forget all the things that Obama did not mention tonight: Guns, climate change, poverty... 

10:34 p.m.:  Ryan not so bigon specifics here --nothing about what to do about health care other than repeal, no specifics on what to cut to reduce deficits.

10:27 p.m.:  Now here comes Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, making David Gergen orgasmic by talking almost exclusively about the debt. Couches the issue in terms of his young children -- yet conservatives don't seem worried about their kids going to inferior schools or driving on bridges that could collapse at any minute.

I don't get it.

10:21 p.m.:  America's Next Top Pundit...Piers Morgan? To paraphrase our president, WTF?

Meanwhile, right-wingnut Erik Erikson comparing Obama to the scandals of Ulysses S. Grant.

Programming note: I'll be staying with this through the rebuttals by the Republican Party and the new co-equal branch of government, the Tea Party.

10:18 p.m.:  David Gergen on CNN is devastated that Obama was not more forceful on the deficit.

That just caused the speech to go way up in my estimation.

Now Gloria Borger also whining about the deficits. But poll after poll has shown that the American people want the government to focus on jobs, and deficit reduction is not a priority for most people.

10:15 p.m.:  Breaking news: "The state of the union is strong."

Shocker.

10:09 p.m.:  OK, now Obama is trying on purpose to make John Boehner cry!

Meanwhile, nice applause for Scranton, Pa. Not sure if they were fans of Joe Biden...or "The Office."

10:07 p.m.:  Obama: "Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love."

Uh, what if they love Osama bin Laden?

10:03 p.m.: That was a priceless shot of John Kerry and John McCain sitting together. The two worst presidential candidates of all time? If only they could have asked Michael Dukakis to sit with them.

10:00 p.m.: Obama continues to insist that troops will begin coming home from Afghanistan in July. I'll believe that when I see it/

9:55 p.m.:  Obama makes a funny!

"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

If only there were a half dozen more of these.

Although it is nice to hear a president say: "The war in Iraq is coming to an end"

9:49 p.m.: Obama calls for "painful cuts" in federal spending. That would include what he said would be "tens of billions of dollars"in defense cuts -- don't see how it could not. Also, Obama finally notes that repealing health care reform would increase the deficit.

Those expecting a centist speech here are getting it: Two of the president's biggest applause lines have been for cutting corporate taxes and for medical malpractive reforms -- not exactly "socialism," is it?

9:45 p.m.: Obama patiently explaining here to the Tea Party why we have to have laws...child labor and what not.

Meanwhile, biggest applause of the night --it seems -- comes for health care. Obama: "Instead of fighting the battles of last year, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward" Seems like he'll push for repeal of silly requirement for businesses to file tax forms for expenditures over $600. Good politics there.

9:37 p.m.:  Pleasantly surprised here to see Obama speak at length, and eloquently, for the DREAM Act offering citizenship to children who came here undocumented and became successful students. I wish he had spoken that forcefully on the topic before it was rejected by the lame-duck Congress last month.

Another important part here: China cleaning our clock on high-speed trains and new airports.

Obama: "This isn't about dropped calls..." I'm glad the State of the Union is not an add for Verizon...yet.

9:33 p.m.:  From Keith Olbermann on Twitter: """It's not just the winner of the Super Bowl that needs to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair." He just lost GB+Pitts."

9:28 p.m.:  Obama: "With more research and incentives, we can break our depende"nce on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015."

Good policy -- but not the same whallop as sending a man to the moon and returning him safely.

9:26 p.m.: Obama says his energy policy is "not just handing out money."

Just.

Meanwhile, is it me or is the president sounding more and more like SNL's Fred Armison?

9:23 p.m.: Scattered applause for Facebook? WTF (that stands for "Winning the Future," remember?)?

Meanwhile, over on Comity Central, GOP Georgia Rep. Paul Broun tweets: "All children will be poor if we continue with Obama's policies."


9:17 p.m.  Obama: "Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today."

Not necessarily -- my cut in payroll taxes is equal to the cut in slaary implemented by my employer, and I suspect many Americans have had similar experiences.

Meanwhile, people have wondered if bipartisan seating would mean less interuptions for applause. That seems to be the case, although there was just mild applause for "America is the most prosperous country in the world."

9:14 p.m.: TV shows father, brother and mother of 9-year-old Christina Green, the slain granddaughter of ex-Phillies skipper Dallas Green.

Obama: "The dreams of a little girl in Tusson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled. That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation."

9:11 p.m. No more tears -- Speaker John Boehner formally introduces the president. Oops, maybe spoke too soon, a little misty eyed!

TV shows the empty chair of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- it may not get more moving than that.

9:09 p.m.: 44 greeting 45? Hillary Clinton. I wonder which cabinet member drew the short straw and gets to go to Cheney's undisclosed location.

9:06 p.m.: "Mr Speaker, the president of the United States!"

Or, in Bud Light speak, "Here we go!"

Don't think Michele Bachmann will be giving Obama a long hug, as she did during G.W. Bush's entry walk in 2007.

9:03 p.m.  Also overheard on Twitter -- the president's speech makes no mention of "blood libel."

8:59 p.m.: President Obama won't have Justice Sam Alito to kick around tonight -- he stayed home, as did Justices Thomas and Scalia.

Meanwhile, the man of the moment, just ousted MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann, is keeping busy by live-tweeting the speech on Twitter -- you can follow him here

8:55 p.m.  Man-date alert -- Delaware Democrat Tom Carper. and the GOP's Massachusetts cover boy, Scott Brown.

8:49 p.m.  TV playing up the "prom night" factor of Democrats and Republicans hanging together. I think the "marriage,"etc. jokes are already getting old.

Meanwhile, it's the Al Franken decade all over again as Minnesota's junior senator is in da House! 

8:45 p.m.  Cringe...Chris Matthews on MSNBC talking about Obama's problems with "guys who watch football games...regular white guys." Oy. On top of everything else, it wouldn't surprise me if African-Americans follow the NFL at a higher rate than whites...but that's just a guess.

8:42 p.m.:  Just saw Joe Lieberman and John McCain entering the chamber together, looks kinda like a man date there.

Meanwhile, it's been duly noted on Twitter that the president's speech is called "Winning the Future"...

...or WTF.

Someone alert the Wikileaks Task Force.

8:34 p.m.:  Breaking news: The word "gun" is not mentioned anywhere in tonight's speech. Our national nightmare of political cowardice continues. As Rachel Maddow just noted on MSNBC, this as 14 police officers are shot, with four killed, around the country in little more than one day. Chris Matthews claims that Obama will talk guns later but wants to focus on jobs tonight. We'll see. 

8:31 p.m.: Psst, want to read the full text of the president's speech before it even begins. Check it out here.

8:19 p.m.: OK, the whole speech has been emailed to us media folks. Here's change we can believe in:

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.

In a completely unrelated matter, Narberth's own Margery Margolies-Mezvinsky just got a shout-out from Howard Dean on MSNBC -- did not see that coming.

7:50 p.m:

Are your ready for some...Sputnik?

Welcome to Attytood's official live-blog of President Obama's State of the Union II, the Super Bowl of political speeches, except that there's no buffalo wings and the speech may be kinda boring.

No matter! We are here and -- since it's been a while since Attytood live-blogged anything -- here's the drill: I'll be posting my tenchent commentary up here, running from bottom to top in that bass-ackwards style that we bloggers use. And you'll be posting your smarter-than-mine thoughts below! Bonus -- there's a chance that a few of the "better" comments will bepublished in tomorrow's Daily News.

Meanwhile, the White House has emailed me and a couple million other of its closest friends a couple of tiny advance excerpts. I will share them with you:

1. Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs. This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.

2. At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world. We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.

So, a couple thoughts. One, the Sputnik reference is nice, but that's the whole problem right now, what with the state of American education. Most Americans under the age of 50 have no idea what he's talking about.

Second...it's bad politics to mention the stock market, no matter how much it's bounced back since Obama became president, and it's bounced back a lot. I know that millions of Americans, including the working class, now benefit from a rise in the stock market thanks to 401Ks, etc. That's because most Americans think the stock market is rigged to only benefit the rich who keep getting richer -- but aren't doing the only thing that most of us care about.

Creating jobs.

Here's my preview of the SOTU that ran in this morning's Daily News.

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