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2014 State Of The Union Overview

January 29, 2014


The 2014 State of the Union Address began with its usual pomp, bluster and glad-handing as the priniciples entered the chamber. Then, Speaker of the House John Boehner gave an unusually fervent introduction of the President. I think he must have popped a vein as he choked on his words. For the rest of the hour, Boehner sat red-faced as if he’d eaten a bucket of bad clams. He only stood when he needed to stretch his legs and fart, and only applauded when he wanted to feign support for the military.

Jovial Joe Biden played his role of administration cheerleader with his usual verve. I hope he didn’t wear out his knees or hands as he constantly rose to his feet and clapped. What I found unusual was the majority of people in the audience who seemed to share Joe’s enthusiasm for the President’s rhetoric. Could it be that a lot of republicans liked what they were hearing, or did many of them just not even show up?

We saw a Barack Obama that we hadn’t seen in a while. He was upbeat, strong, somewhat combative, oratorical and very presidential. My least favorite part was when he touted our energy independence due to domestic production of natural gas. We all know that this means “fracking” and that fracking is a highly risky process that contaminates groundwater and causes earthquakes. No mention was made of the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline. My favorite proposition was that of revising the tax code to close loopholes and reward corporations who bring their operations back to the U.S., rather than rewarding those who send jobs overseas. That’s an idea I’ve heard for a decade now but nothing has been done in that area yet.

Income inequality was an underlying theme in the SOTU address and highly discussed in the media lately, but all politicians want to attack it from the bottom up through education of the workforce, etcetera. That’s all well and good and prohibitively expensive, but until they address the fact that the real problem is the unabashed greed, corruption and hubris at the top of the food chain, nothing will change.

We saw a good speech full of lofty goals, but Obama’s time for making a positive difference is getting short. The 2014 mid-term election will determine whether America will acheive positive, progressive changes or descend further into a negative, conservative quagmire during Obama’s final two years and beyond.

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