Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SOTU - Initial Response

So before the post-mortem, some thoughts on the three, yes three speeches tonight.  If I get a moment, there might be a fuller analysis tomorrow.  At that point, though, the whole thing will be sullied by the pundit class.

President Obama's State of the Union
Liked it.  I thought he did a great job of reminding people of the role of government in our nation, it's ability to provide investment in roads, but also science and technology.  I thought he struck the right tone that says, "Listen we gotta make some changes and a lot of those changes are going to come from Republicans."  It wasn't transformative and I constantly feel like the rhetorical expectations of Obama are always sky-high.  He can never live up to the expectations, but I remember a time that if Bush spoke in complete sentences, he was a conquering hero.  I would have liked more specifics, but I understand why he wasn't.  Most importantly he has staked out the ground of responsible middle, which could help him get some things done over the next two years, but I wonder, if you make enemies on both sides what does that due to your re-election bid?

Representative Paul Ryan's Republican Response
Vastly better then the responses in recent years and I think Rep. Ryan did a good job staking out the Republican position.  It's a position I greatly disagree with, but it was concise, seemed legitimate, and was focused on spending which is an easy sell.  I thought he provided a great counter-point to the President, though I found wrapping themselves in the patronage of the founding fathers to be unseemly.

Representative Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Response
First, this isn't an actual party.  It's a second Republican response and I question CNN's decision to air it.  That said, I watched it.  There were charts, horribly misleading charts that ignored a fiscal crisis.  Also, who was she speaking to?  Reminds me of a Mitch Hedburg joke where everyone is looking slightly to the left.  On the whole, atrocious.  Scattered, trite, disingenuous, and backward-looking.  Quite honestly, it made Rep. Ryan and Republicans look like adults, while the Tea Party remains people stuck in a middle school civics class.

Again, the pundit class will breakdown every syllable before I wake tomorrow, but there are some initial thoughts.


Colin said...

I thought he did a great job of reminding people of the role of government in our nation, it's ability to provide investment in roads, but also science and technology.

Why is this a role for government? Is government gifted with special insight into the technologies of tomorrow? If windmills and trains are the jobs of the future, doesn't it stand to reason that greedy businessmen eager to make a buck will pour their money into it without government prompting? Is it logical to believe that politicians such as President Obama -- with near zero private sector experience -- know better how to spend, erm, "invest" money in various technologies than the businessmen who actually work in these sectors?

Lastly, at the risk of highlighting the elephant in the room, how do these new spending initiatives comport with the fact that the country is, you know, broke?

Jason said...

Colin, apologies for not seeing this sooner.

I thought the SOTU highlighted the government's role in creating infrastructure and investing in basic science.

Particularly if you consider basic science, government breakthroughs have been the genesis of incredible wealth in the private sector. It's important to remember that the internet started as a DARPA initiative.

I don't think the speech, nor my post, suggested picking X technology or product. Rather, it was a pertinent reminder that the government can provide the scientific breakthroughs that American entrepreneurs can make profitable.

As to "the elephant in the room," we are not "broke." Bond rates remain low. That is not to say the current situation is desirable or not necessitating change, but we also can't hide under a rock.