My Thoughts on the State of the Union Address

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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49 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    I was playing Mass Effect 2.

    It’s awesome, by the way.Report

  2. Aaron says:

    I was talking on phone for the first 30 minutes.Report

  3. greginak says:

    The biggest question about the SOTU is actaully WTF is the deal with Chris Mathews? How big a chunkhead can someone be and still have a job.Report

  4. North says:

    I’ve always meant to ask E.D. Do you ever read and Terry Pratchet?Report

  5. zic says:

    Personally, I was amazed at the way Obama reframed what the Supreme Court decided on “freedom of speech” as a matter of “national security.” Amazed at the way Republicans cheered.

    Question: What’s remedy does constitution hold for removing a SC Justice?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to zic says:

      Article III, Section 1.

      The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

      Well, it seems to me that “good Behavior” (why the capital ‘B’?) is the out to get rid of a justice.

      If I had to guess, I’d say that there would have to be an impeachment hearing.Report

    • North in reply to zic says:

      Pff leave the poor Justices alone. Obama has better things to spend his capital on.Report

      • zic in reply to North says:

        It won’t be Obama. It will be Congress, if it happens. Charges from the House tried by the Senate.

        Great trick for when you need to distract the mob.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to zic says:

          If I were a crazy person who was a fan of the recent FEC vs. Citizens United ruling for reasons related to free speech absolutism, I’m not sure that I’d have much difficulty spinning the impeachment as “the Democrats prove that they are to the First Amendment what the Republicans are to a balanced budget”.Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            I’m hopeful that you won’t have to Jay. If the damn fools won’t pass something that’s in their own best interests I doubt they’d actually try and go out wabbit I mean Alito hunting.Report

  6. North says:

    I went into the SOTU with carefully nurtured low expectations. I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised, I kept a few notes.
    -I was astonished that Obama the great lover of bipartisanship threw so many jabs at the Republicans. Obviously he realized his base is a problem, it’ll be interesting to see if the independents give him the stink eye for it. Still it made him seem a little more human to me which was encouraging.
    -I couldn’t believe the Republicans sat on their hands as he listed off his tax cuts. Did he slip them a C-note or something ahead of time to play the straight men to his act?
    -Nuclear power got a specific shout out. I was pretty charmed by that. Clearly Obama must have operatives hiding in the bushes in Minnesota trying to find out what dog-whistle would work on me. As soon as he hit that note he got into the black by my measure. But I’m an easier sell than a lot of people here.
    -Obama was a touch odd on health care. He didn’t back down on it precisely but he sure didn’t seem to be suggesting a course forward. Positive interpretation: he’s trying to extend an olive branch in hopes that some GOP moderates will suddenly decide to come in from the cold. Negative interpretation: He’s being a squish.
    -DADT!!! I was not expecting that to show up on the SOTU. More importantly though we get to see Bob bloody Gates applauding the demise of the policy. That seems definitive for me, DADT is doomed, it’s just a question of when. Awfully nice of Obama to include that for me. His operatives here in Minnesota must be good.
    -Bipartisan commission on reducing the deficit… huh pretty snore there. Ten certified experts sit around drinking coffee and rubbing their chins for six months then come out to say that we should end the wars, cut spending and reform entitlements! Amazing!! Maybe I should send in my resume.

    Overall pretty decent. I would have liked more spit and vinegar but it’s a heck of a lot better than the panicked retreat or vacuous nonsense I was fearing. I’d give him an A- .Report

    • Kyle in reply to North says:

      If anything I enjoyed making superficial comments more than substantive ones. The Democrats should stay away from bright colors, they looked like a Cheer commercial or alternatively as though they were sponsored by Crayola. FLOTUS looked amazing and the President’s make up made him look vaguely clay like for about twenty minutes.

      Bob Gates is surprisingly short and I’m not sure Eric Holder’s mustache is doing him any favors. Poor Tim Geithner looked terrible. Finally, I thought it was a toss up as to who wields more power while being strikingly small framed, Olympia Snowe or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

      I also wondered just how much of America was struck by the sea of Lavender behind the President. Meta or just distracted, I can’t say.Report

  7. Lev says:

    I’m somewhat less freaked out by SCOTUS’s CFR decision than most liberals seem to be, and I don’t really think corporate money shifting from PACs and 527s and Party Committees to candidates isn’t the end of democracy. But that reaction shot of the Supreme Court was perhaps the most brutal part of the speech. Those people looked OLD. Half of them at least looked like they should have had respirators on hand. And they really did bring this on themselves. Respect for precedent and Congress…buzzwords, all.Report

  8. Zeke says:

    Midway through Memories of Ice, huh? Well let me ask you this: would you agree that the Tenescowri are one of the more horrifying things you’ve read in a fantasy novel, like, ever?Report

  9. mike farmer says:

    It was a disjointed speech full of contradictions. It was patronizing, much like a lecture, which caused me to think how undeserved and unearned this air of superiority has become. There was no inspiration — it was simply a confirmation of a progressive agenda, flat, with a tricks thrown in to divert attention — not a good speech at all. If you listened to this speech, then followed it with a speech from Reagan, you could get a much better picture of the defeciencies.Report

  10. Bob Cheeks says:

    Compared to an Arlen Specter speech it was good, but his speeches are always delivered well…it’s the content. Rather than tracking to the center, abandoning his radical leftist agenda he’s circling the wagons, throwing a bone or two here and there, and challenging his opposition.
    If the story of Taxechewsetts tells us anything, it’s that his opposition is growing.Report

    • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      He and his congresslizards were elected to a 4 and 2 year term respectively. The special election of course is significant but if he and they think that HCR is a good bill (and despite it’s porktacular nature I’ve seen some good arguments to that effect) then they are entitled and somewhat obligated to try and herd enough cats to pass the thing and then face the voters. If they’re wrong well then let the Republicans run on repealing it and flatten the Democrats. That should settle the argument at least. But if the liberals are right, the thing isn’t death on stilts and the voters actually notice that once it’s all down in black and white then maybe it’ll be the Republicans running for the hills.Report

      • Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

        Yes, yes!!! Get it over with. Kinda like the Earps and Clanton’s at the OK Corral…that was Democrat/Republican thing too! Nobody wants to settle stuff today. It’s always BS, BS, BS!Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          The Earps didn’t respect the 2nd Amendment.Report

          • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

            Not all that much, they were however, honest Republicans trying to carve out a little niche in Tombstone, plus they always got up close before firing. Ya gotta respect that! Which reminds me of Woody’s lament, “Some people rob you with a gun, others with a fountain pen.”Report

  11. Andy L. says:

    I had the SOTU on in the background while I played Dragon Age: Origins on my PC. It’s an excellent single-player computer RPG similar to the old Baldur’s Gate games.

    Isn’t Whiskeyjack a great character?Report

  12. Tim Kowal says:

    The novel’s not so archaic—only about 400 years old if you take Don Quixote to be the first true novel.Report