Decoding the State of the Union Address
This could be fun. Let's find out. We'll go through the transcript I found here. (I couldn't actually watch that orgy of statism.) My comments are in bold. I'll explain what he really meant. I'll try to keep it brief.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
From most important to the state (top mafia members) to least important to the state (pliant human capital known as "Americans.")
Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague - and our friend – Gabby Giffords.
Not really our friend, but politeness is a prerequisite of the state court. Tallyrand would be proud.
It's no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that's a good thing. That's what a robust democracy demands. That's what helps set us apart as a nation.
We have fought fiercely on the important matter of dividing up the spoils.
But there's a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.
We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson 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.
The nation is the state. The state is the nation.
Now, by itself, this simple recognition won't usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.
If we keep bickering over the loot, there will be no more loot.
I believe we can. I believe we must. That's what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they've determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.
We Democrats really blew it. Too much graft too soon. Working together with Republicans we can take a more reasonable pace of appopriation. That's what the voters asked for... a more gradual descent into Hell. We were shoving them in to Hell.
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.
What is at stake is the next election, which is where state leadership derives from, and hence what drives our every calculation.
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.
We printed lots of money. Nominal numbers are up. Real wealth has declined. Thankfully, the rubes haven't figured out the difference. (Hard to believe he said that with a straight face.)
But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.
Blah blah blah... a few platitudes to ideals that rope in the really dumb people.
That's the project the American people want us to work on. Together.
Can you hear them? They're saying "gimme gimme gimme..." That's our siren song.
We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans' paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.
We really can't add jobs to the private sector. That's economically impossible. However, we can give tax breaks to our wealthy buddies. If that creates jobs, cool. If it doesn't, we'll blame it on the market.
But we have more work to do. The steps we've taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession – but to win the future, we'll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.
We need to deal with the mess that previous lying psychopath politicians laid on our feet. Our challenge is to somehow pass those off to the next generation of busy bodies. It's like a complicated game of Jenga.
Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn't always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you'd have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you'd even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.
Well those days are long gone folks. Thanks to us (and our banker friends.)
That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I've seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I've heard it in the frustrations of Americans who've seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear – proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.
And it saddens me, because that's less money for us to loot.
They're right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there's an internet connection.
Even though technology and competition create jobs, I have to imply that they actually do the opposite. Otherwise, the rubes might work up and figure out that we are actually the ones destroying jobs.
Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world's largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer.
We must look to the nations ranked 135th and 124th on Heritage's Index of Economic Freedom as our models of excellence.
Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America's commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end.
We will be in Iraq forever. No matter the wishes of the Iraqi or American people. (This probably brought the house to a standing ovation.)
Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.
We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.
We are losing. Al Qaeda is winning. Dehumanizing Muslims helps deflect criticism of our war failures. But I can't say any of this aloud.
Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.
We will be in Afghanistan forever. Nevermind the wishes of the Afghanis, Americans, or the impact on our economy.
In Pakistan, al Qaeda's leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.
We have destabilized Pakistan in order to stabilize it.
American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.
Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.
No one can have nukes but us, and everyone else that already has them... but no one else!
To be continued in the comment section later today/tomorrow
David in Qatar