State of the Union Excerpts [plus McDonnell "Big Lies"]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There's nothing particularly groundbreaking or earth shattering in here as far as I can tell. I'm hoping there will be specifics in the State of the Union speech tonight about what President Obama is really going to fight for. [UPDATE: Here's the complete transcript.]

January 27, 2010


We face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope – what they deserve – is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds and different stories and different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared. A job that pays the bill. A chance to get ahead. Most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.

You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids; starting businesses and going back to school. They are coaching little league and helping their neighbors. As one woman wrote to me, “We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged.”

It is because of this spirit – this great decency and great strength – that I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We don’t allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how together, we can deliver on that promise.

By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Co-pays will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it’s time for something new. Let’s try common sense. Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let’s meet our responsibility to the people who sent us here.

To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.

That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

But we cannot stop there. It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress. And it’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign companies – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

UPDATE: Excerpts from Bob McDonnell's response have been released. Standard conservative rhetoric about "strengthen[ing] the private sector," "promot[ing] entrepreneurship and innovation," the "proper, limited role of government," "explor[ing] for and produc[ing] oil and natural gas offshore," "[m]ore school choices," blah blah.

Also, I just loooove the Big Lie by McDonnell, that "most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government." Of course, as anyone who has looked at the health care bill for 10 minutes knows, this thing entrenches, expands and enriches the private insurance companies' role, doesn't even provide a public OPTION for people. How in bloody hell is that "turn[ing] over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government?" Right, it doesn't, which is why what McDonnell is saying is a blatant, outright lie. Hey, here's an idea: maybe somebody should yell "YOU LIE!" at him as he gives his response. Oh wait, there are only going to be Republicans there? Hmmmm...funny how it worked out that way.

UPDATE #2: Media Matters on McDonnell's response: "Brand New Face, Same Old Lies"

UPDATE #3: Another Big Lie from McDonnell. "We want results, not rhetoric. We want cooperation, not partisanship." Yeah, right, from the "we want him to fail, we want to BREAK him" party?!?

UPDATE #4: More Big Lies by McDonnell, this time on energy. "But this Administration’s policies are delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy expansion, and seeking to impose job-killing cap and trade energy taxes." No, this administration has not hindered nuclear power in any way. As for cap-and-trade, not only isn't it "job-killing," it's job creating -- big time! What a bunch of bull...