Style or Substance?

February 25, 2009

Our new President gave his first speech to a joint session of Congress last night. As to the “historical” aspect of it, I’ll leave that to future historians. As to the style of it, most certainly Obamaesque. As to the substance of it, I’ll leave that to what legislation actually gets passed and implemented.

A few highlights from, and thoughts on, the speech:

On responsibility and his upcoming budget:
The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of health care; the schools that aren’t preparing our children and the mountain of debt they stand to inherit. That is our responsibility.
In the next few days, I will submit a budget to Congress. So often, we have come to view these documents as simply numbers on a page or laundry lists of programs. I see this document differently. I see it as a vision for America — as a blueprint for our future.
My budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue. It reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited — a trillion-dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession.
Given these realities, everyone in this chamber — Democrats and Republicans — will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars. And that includes me.

Then does that mean Mr. President you will abide by the following from your website?
Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.
OR, will you ignore your own website as you did with the “stimulus” bill?:
Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
(Yes, I know the above paragraph provides the “out” of “non-emergency”, but there are millions of solid Americans who feel that if the signing of the bill could wait the weekend for Obama’s signature, those hundreds of pages should have been available for review at least those five days, rather than rushing it through Congress in less than 13 hours.)

In describing historically tumultuous times and our recovery from them:
In each case, government didn’t supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive.
Please, please remeber Mr. President as Pelosi pushes through spending bills, government does NOT create jobs and every dollar borrowed now, crowds out private capital for FUTURE growth.

In addressing our energy production:
So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution
If the above is put into place we’re going to have to have the below because your electric bills are going to double or triple if he takes coal and nuclear off the table.
And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.

On health care reform:
It will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every American by seeking a cure for cancer in our time.
Hey there were a lot of people who thought Kennedy’s “put a man on the moon” goal was a bit much, if Big O says he’s going to cure cancer, who am I to stand in his way?

On Education:
That is why it will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education — from the day they are born to the day they begin a career.
The key Mr. President will be is that “complete and competitive” education achieved with vouchers and true parental choice or is it merely glossed over in the public indoctrination centers controlled by the NEA base?
By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
Isn’t that part of the problem Mr. President? We have millions of “college graduates” running around with degrees in women’s studies, art history, digital games, sports ministry, etc..etc.. but a shortage of plumbers, electricians, mechanics and practical trades that keeps the country running?

On the budget:
I’m proud that we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks,
Really Mr. President? Then just exactly what was the $50 million for Pelosi’s mouse, the millions for “aquaculture” producers, etc. etc. etc.? I guess it just depends what the definition of “earmark” actually is.

Gearing up for the next class warfare struggle:
If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut — that’s right, a tax cut — for 95 percent of working families. And these checks are on the way.
Considering many, small business owners hit the greater than $250,000 income and given that those small business owners are the job growth engine that drives economic recovery, I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how he’s going to take more from them to give more to those who don’t even pay taxes and somehow expect job growth. (We all need to remember that while he and Pelosi bash the Bush tax cuts as only for the wealthy, that same legislation also REMOVED millions from the income tax rolls COMPLETELY.) Tax Foundation

In closing:
…if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit,...
I couldn’t agree with you more Mr. President. Agree so much in fact that I will be watching daily to see if you have finally stopped the “let’s scare the hell out of ’em to pass what we want” rhetoric, and if your budget proposals and spending priorities actually put people in charge or (like the recent stimulus bill) merely pays back the party faithful.

If you stay true to your words Mr. President, I am with you 100%. If however, (as evidenced by your actions so far), they are but words in a speech, I will fight you with every ounce of my being. I will fight for the American that I believe in. The America born in and formed by; individual liberty, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurial spirit second to none.

Yes, Mr. President myself and my ilk, CAN be with you. The question is, will you let us?

Transcripts from NPR, factcheck by AP, and Mark Helperin’s take at

Obama Transcript

Jindal Transcript

AP Factcheck

Mike Halperin’s Take

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