SOTU response — great speech!

Here is the transcript of President Obama’s SOTU, January 24, 2011. Count me among those who were very pleased with his speech — both the theme and the tone — and the direct refutations to the nutty attacks / arguments that have been coming from the rightwing in general and, specifically, from the Republican presidential candidates. I think our president speaks for most of us when he counters the GOP’s “class warfare” bullshit with what we’ve all been thinking:

Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes…Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right.

Some other reactions…

John Boehner’s office sent this out — before the speech had ended:

“Because the president clearly cannot run on his record, he has regrettably turned to the politics of envy and division. The “Buffett Rule” is a gimmick. We need to cut spending, not impose tax hikes that would destroy jobs.”

And that will pretty much wrap up the commentary of the entire GOP for you.

John Cole says,

But most of all, every time I hear him speak, I am still aware of all the things I disagree with him on, but think “That is a good man doing what he thinks is best.” That is really all you can ask for from someone, because as far as I can tell, I’m the only one who agrees with me 100% of the time. And as you all know, if you give me a week, I’ll disagree with myself.

We really don’t deserve him. We really don’t.

Josh Marshall says,

Great idea for Mitt to release his tax returns today. True stroke of genius. Because who could have predicted President Obama would make the Buffett Rule a centerpiece of his speech?

Marshall also writes that the President’s SOTU was a point-by-point refutation of Mitt Romney.

Hunter at DailyKos says,

I thought this was a good speech by Obama, yes. The difficult question is whether any speech (or any behavior by Obama, period) can make any change in the behavior of the current Congress. I think the most obvious answer to that is ‘no’. As we saw during the speech, even things that one might expect to garner perfectly bipartisan support (tax breaks for businesses that hire Americans? C’mon!) got a very partisan response. The GOP is so committed to their scorched-earth policy that I don’t really see them dropping it at any point during the coming year.

And Jed Lewison adds,

$10,000 bet: Republicans attack Obama for saying he wants to create “new American jobs.” The “old” ones are just fine, they’ll say!

From Bob Cesca,

He pitched government as a great equalizer, as an engine to both strengthen the American economy but to also force the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share, while also urging corporate responsibility. The Justice Department, for example, has been tasked with investigating the mortgage lenders who helped to cause the crash. The address was so completely opposite of the Reagan mantra “government is the problem” and a reversal of the Clinton proclamation “the era of big government is over.” At long last, a return to the values that gave us our robust middle class and a solid manufacturing base in the post-war era.

And a great summary of what the Republicans looked like, from a Sullivan reader:

I love how the camera shots of individual Republicans’ reactions reflect a three-second delay in which they have to decide “Am I for it or against it?” Clap? Don’t clap? Stand? Don’t? Sneer or scowl? A thoroughly confused bunch. That’s the state of America. Leaders can’t support good ideas because it might give credit to a sworn political enemy. Pitiful.

That person is kinder that I am. To me most of the Republicans, and especially Boehner, looked like they were either 1) in physical pain, 2) drunk, or 3) auditioning for a hemorrhoid commercial.

And this! It chokes me up.

State of the Union: facts, facts, FACTS

Income inequality, job creation, unemployment, food stamps, security, the Affordable Care Act… here are numerous facts about our State of the Union:

• Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs. [Source]

• The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976. [Source]

• Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president. [Source]

• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent. [Source]

• Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance. [Source]

• For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work. [Source]

• Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent. [Source]

• 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. [Source]

• “In 2011, the United States killed Al Qaeda’s most effective propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki; its operating chief, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman; and of course its founder, chief executive and spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Source]

Read the rest…

This will be the President’s third SOTU before a joint session of Congress.

SOTU and the beginning of the end in Afghanistan

A senior White House official said Obama’s State of the Union address will focus heavily on domestic issues like job creation, reducing the soaring national debt, and his hopes of finding common ground with the new Republican majority in the House.

When it comes to Afghanistan, the official said Obama will use the address to argue that this year marks a turning point that signals the beginning off the end of the long Afghan war. The official said Obama would make clear that 2011 will be the high water mark for the U.S troop presence in Afghanistan, which will decline over the next three years and, at least in theory, be almost entirely out of the country by 2014.

Obama will spotlight beginning of the end in Afghanistan