Direckshun's Splooge-O-Rama (a.k.a. the State of the Union Thread)
All starring the infallible ambassador of Jesus Christ Himself, the man whose face I've photoshopped onto all the Japanese body pillows I have sex with every night, the cream in my coffee, the wind beneate my wings.... B. Hussein Obama.
Sprinkle dear leader with love, errrybody! Let us all force ourselves to weep openly for his divine approval!
Obama’s State of the Union to add details to far-reaching second-term agenda
By Amie Parnes
02/09/13 12:00 PM ET
President Obama will map out the contours of his second-term agenda when he speaks to the nation in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
In a speech meant to build on his second inaugural address — which was directed at the Democratic base and served as a bookend of sorts to his reelection campaign— Obama will put details on the far-reaching government agenda he hopes will become part of his legacy.
The economy will remain Topic A, and Obama’s speech is expected to warn of the danger automatic spending cuts known as the sequester pose to a slowly improving economy. At the same time, Obama will give due weight to other priorities such as immigration and gun control.
Obama has newfound freedom to be more combative, not to mention left-leaning, because he doesn’t face reelection, but he simultaneously needs to define goals that are capable of attracting majority support.
“The inaugural, as I heard it, was really a fighting speech,” said William Galston, a senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution and a former adviser to Bill Clinton. “He has to decide now if he wants to continue in that vein or adopt a stance that makes it a little easier for the Republicans to consider cooperating with him.”
“The president must have noticed that he doesn’t have all the reins of governance in his hands,” Galston added. “If he wants to be truly transformative, he has to put together a coalition, and he can’t do that unless he’s really practical.”
After a first-term in which he broke Republicans on taxes and won legislative overhauls of the healthcare and financial systems, Obama has won a place in history. Yet the ambitions of his inaugural address offered the promise to Democrats and warning to Republicans that he is not done yet.
Obama wants to add to his first-term accomplishments with legislation on immigration and gun control, and his inaugural address also indicated gay rights and climate change remain priorities.
The White House realizes time could be fleeting to win those fights before the president becomes a lame-duck, which underlines Obama’s repeated calls for Congress to take quick actions.
Since winning election Obama has been combative with Republicans, who are still trying to move forward after a deeply disappointing election in which they not only lost the White House, but seats in the House and Senate.
Their choice of Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) to give the Republican response to Obama suggests the GOP is regaining its footing and finding a new leader. To win legislative victories, Obama will need to work with Republicans, not simply steamroll them.
“I think he’ll have to strike a conciliatory tone in this speech,” a former senior administration official said of Tuesday’s address. “The president realizes more than anyone that the only way he’s going to be able to meet his objectives is with the help of Republicans. He knows.”
Ken Lundberg, a Republican strategist, said Obama’s address has to be more all-inclusive because he said Obama’s inaugural address “became a 2nd term agenda that was dramatically different than his campaign speeches.
“From healthcare to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the president has made 'my way or the highway' dictates,” Lundberg said. “The best message President Obama can leave with Congress is, 'Let's work together, and this time I mean it.'"
In the speech—which is still in the works, White House aides say -- Obama will take a progressive tack on both social and economic issues.
“When I think about what it means to be a Democrat in this day and age, I start with the basic proposition that we are all created equal, that we’re all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights,” Obama told House Democrats on Thursday at a retreat in Virginia, offering a glimpse of what’s to come in his address on Tuesday. “And my governing philosophy and my interest in public service grows out of how we make that union more perfect for more people day in and day out. And that starts with an economy that works for everybody.”
While Obama said he would be speaking about other issues he’d like to tackle—including immigration, education, and developing clean energy technology — the president said the State of the Union address would focus particularly on jobs and the support of the middle class.
“I’m going to be talking about making sure that we’re focused on job creation here in the United States of America,” Obama told lawmakers.
During his address, Obama is also expected to highlight his vow to end the war in Afghanistan. But aides say the focus will be primarily domestic.
Obama’s promise to raise funds and campaign for congressional Democrats suggests he wants to extend his power for as long as possible and put off his inevitable fade. Winning back a Democratic House majority in 2014, however, is a tall order that would defy history.
Second-term presidents generally see their party lose seats in mid-term elections, suggesting Obama only has a certain amount of time to achieve the goals he lays out in his State of the Union address, observers and White House aides say.
“I am reasonably sure that he will govern in the next 18 months with a real sense of urgency,” Galston said. “He understands the clock is ticking every day.”
“I think that will come through in his address,” the former senior administration official said.
Obama Should Focus State Of The Union On Economy, U.S. Voters Tell Quinnipiac University National Poll; President Handles Economy Better Than GOP, Voters Say
February 11, 2013
President Barack Obama should focus on the economy in his State of the Union Address, 35 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Another 20 percent say the federal deficit is the top priority, with 15 percent citing gun policy and 12 percent listing health care.
The U.S. economy is in a recession 53 percent of voters tell the independent Quinnipiac (KWUIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll. A total of 79 percent of voters describe the economy as "not so good" or "poor" and only 34 percent say it's getting better, while 28 percent say it's getting worse and 37 percent say it's staying about the same.
By a 47 - 41 percent margin, American voters trust President Barack Obama more than Republicans in Congress to handle the economy. Trust measures on other issues are:
"Voters trust President Obama more than Congressional Republicans on the economy and most other issues, but they are more closely divided on who would do a better job on the deficit and on gun-control. And by 48 - 39 percent, voters trust Republicans in Congress more than Obama to cut federal spending."
Congress should prevent the $1.2 trillion cuts in defense and domestic spending due to take effect March 1, 43 percent of voters say, while 22 percent say let the cuts happen. Another 32 percent have no opinion.
A total of 66 percent of American voters say they are "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to watch the State of the Union Address. That includes 46 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independent voters. Women say they are more likely to watch than men, 71 - 59 percent.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, selected to give the Republican response to the State of the Union address, has a 27 - 15 percent favorability rating among American voters, with 57 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion.
"Let's see if Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's supporting actor role Tuesday night moves the needle on his favorability meter among voters," Brown said.
From January 30 - February 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,772 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
We also get a reply from one of the frontrunners for the top of the GOP's ticket in 2016.
Honestly, these replies always, always suck. It single-handedly tanked Jindal for 2012. If Rubio can deliver a speech that isn't awful, it will be a win.
State of the Union reply is chance for Rubio to shine
Sen. Marco Rubio's State of the Union response is a chance to affirm his rising-star status among Republicans, but risks abound.
By Paul West, Washington Bureau
February 11, 2013, 8:07 p.m.
WASHINGTON — When Marco Rubio gives the official Republican response to the State of the Union speech, it will be a chance for the party's fastest-rising star in years to impress millions of voters who have yet to form an opinion of him.
But along with the high-profile honor Tuesday night comes intense pressure. It could be particularly acute for Rubio, the first-term senator from Florida. Not only must he meet high expectations, but his speech must find a way to bridge serious splits within his party and, simultaneously, attract voters who have turned away from Republicans in recent elections.
"Folks are very concerned about the direction and future of the party. When they talk about Rubio, it seems to be with the hope that he has the capacity to put the party back together," said Tom Rath, a veteran Republican in New Hampshire who advised Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
"I think folks like the idea of Rubio, but they do not yet understand what is the substance of Rubio. His challenge will be to convert that interest into advocacy and support."
Younger looking than his 41 years, Rubio radiates an easy, boyish charm. His unexpected success in the 2010 election, knocking out a moderate Republican governor to win the Senate nomination, helped signal the emergence of the tea party as a national force.
Now, barely two years after arriving in Washington, he's leading an effort to mend the GOP's tattered relations with Latinos, a voting bloc crucial to the future of both major parties. He recently helped craft a bipartisan plan that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants — a stumbling block for immigration reform in recent years.
His roots as a son of working-class Cuban immigrants give him virtually unmatched credibility, for a Republican, among voters troubled by his party's perceived hostility to Latinos. When he answers Obama's address, he'll do it twice — once in English and once in Spanish.
As he works to broaden his national reputation, Rubio has managed to avoid a backlash, so far, from conservatives. Many remain implacably opposed to any immigration solution that looks like amnesty for those who came to the U.S. illegally. But his aggressive outreach to conservative talk-show hosts and other media outlets closely followed on the right have helped mute opposition from hard-line critics.
Rubio has also left himself an escape hatch — conditioning his support for reform legislation on some sort of guarantee that the U.S. border with Mexico is secure enough for the plan to proceed.
At the same time, on other issues, Rubio has stuck with conservative Republican orthodoxy. He appeared on Fox News barely an hour after the start of Senate confirmation hearings on Chuck Hagel to announce that he would oppose the former Nebraska senator's nomination for Defense secretary. He was one of five Republican senators to oppose the year-end "fiscal cliff" deal that included a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans. The deal would hurt economic growth, he said.
Support from the Republican right is crucial if, as expected, Rubio runs for president. But backing from the party's conservative wing isn't enough to get to a national majority, as seen in the results of November's election, in which Romney won strongly among conservatives.
Political strategists in both parties will watch Rubio's speech carefully to see whether he can avoid upsetting the party's conservative base while still articulating Republican positions in ways that attract voters who spurn the GOP.
"Republicans win when they sound credible on economic issues and avoid sounding insensitive on cultural and social matters. Rubio's very well placed to deliver both of those messages," said Dan Schnur, a former Republican political consultant who directs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.
"If all he talks about is jobs and the deficit, he's sacrificed an important opportunity for outreach. But if all he talks about is immigration, he's almost certainly causing himself a problem with the Republican base," Schnur said.
In addition to the substantive challenges, the response to a State of the Union speech involves a visual disadvantage. The speaker appears on television right after the grand spectacle of a president addressing a packed chamber of Congress. Often, the politician delivering the response — typically, alone in a room with a camera — comes off looking small, or worse.
All that would be daunting enough without expectations, which, at least since Rubio's well-received speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention last summer, have been high.
"It's a huge opportunity for him to really introduce himself as a player in national politics," said Craig Robinson, a former Iowa Republican Party official. "People expect him to knock it out of the park. They want to believe. And so, if he can't get to that high level, people are going to be a little disappointed and think that maybe he's not the guy."
Since November, Rubio has expanded his political operation and addressed a Republican fundraising event in Iowa, the earliest voting state in the presidential nominating contest. A recent poll of Republicans there ranked him first among potential presidential candidates. His standard response when asked about 2016 is to say, "If you do a good job at whatever your job is, you'll always have a chance to do other things. Including things you never envisioned."
But among some party activists, the interest in Rubio goes beyond the next presidential contest. His work on immigration has gotten the attention of those who understand how changing demographics pose a threat to their party, which has relied increasingly on a shrinking pool of white voters.
In that respect, Rubio's speech is also a test of the theory that what ails the GOP is the messenger more than the message.
"Rubio himself would never say it, but his very existence at this level of politics argues that the challenge is both content and messaging," Schnur said. "He doesn't just talk about immigration using softer, sweeter language. He's proposing a fundamental change in party orthodoxy, and he obviously and correctly believes that the party needs work on both substance and message."
Then of course, we get an encore performance from the GOP from Rand Paul.
Tea party address won't divide Republicans, Rand Paul says
Posted by CNN's Kevin Liptak
February 10th, 2013, 09:59 AM ET
CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul's tea party response to Tuesday's State of the Union address isn't intended to drive a wedge through the Republican Party, the Kentucky senator said Sunday.
Paul was tapped by the Tea Party Express to deliver Tuesday's response to President Barack Obama's speech. It's the third year the group has sponsored its own rebuttal to Obama's speech. The official Republican response will be delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who like Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010 with support from the tea party.
"I see it as an extra response. I don't see it as necessarily divisive," Paul told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on the CNN program "State of the Union."
"I won't say anything on there that necessarily is like, 'Marco Rubio is wrong,'" Paul continued. "He and I don't always agree, but this isn't about he and I. This is about the tea party, which is a grass-roots movement, a real movement, with millions of Americans that still are concerned about some of the deal-making that goes on in Washington."
Both Paul and Rubio are considered potential candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and both their speeches come at a time when national Republicans are debating the best path forward after an electoral trouncing in 2012.
A new group co-founded by veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove will seek to propel the most electable GOP candidates through the primary process in upcoming contests, which some grass-roots Republicans have blasted as a move to make the party more moderate.
Republicans are seeking ways to make themselves more appealing to a wider array of voters after losing among all demographics except white males in November. Rubio, featured on the cover of Time magazine this week as "The Republican Savior," has been a leading voice for comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, which some Republicans have favored after losing big among Latinos.
Paul pushed back Sunday on the notion that Rubio, or any other Republican, has been anointed as the "face" of the Republican Party, making the case that Republican lawmakers sometimes have different priorities.
"I don't think anybody gets to choose who the face is, or say you or someone else is the face. I think we do the best to promote what we believe in," Paul said, pointing to his own vocal opposition to sending U.S. foreign aid money to certain countries like Egypt and Pakistan.
"There are things that distinguish a lot of different Republicans. It doesn't make them bad or me right or them wrong. What it means there is a tea party wing that's interested in not sending money to people who are not acting like our allies," Paul said.
Impact of State of Union speeches isn’t very lasting
By Nia-Malika Henderson and Felicia Sonmez
Feb 12, 2013 02:17 AM EST
When President Obama delivers his fourth State of the Union speech Tuesday night, he is guaranteed an audience of millions of viewers, the rapt of attention of Beltway reporters and issues advocates, and for at least an hour, the undivided attention of Congress.
What isn’t guaranteed is any lasting impact.
Rarely have State of the Union addresses moved public opinion, and rarely have they led to the kind of broad legislative accomplishments that presidents propose. For all the ritual and attention surrounding these speeches, the State of the Union is, well, sort of lame.
“Most of the speeches can be summarized in three words: boring, boring, boring,” said Allan Lichtman, author of “The 13 Keys to the Presidency.” “They tend to be laundry lists. But sometimes they rise above that.”
Mandated by the Constitution, the State of the Union, for much of its history, was not a speech at all but a written list of policy recommendations handed to Congress. Now, the addresses are grand political theater and provide a rare chance for a president to make an unfiltered argument and lay out policy ambitions from the biggest bully pulpit he will have all year.
Billed as a coda to his second inauguration, Obama’s speech will focus on the economy and the middle class — he is set to propose spending public money on education, research and infrastructure — as well as touch on immigration and gun control.
He will spend the remainder of the week giving repackaged versions of his address, looking to capi*tal*ize on the moment and further underscore his priorities.
“The State of the Union is a Super Bowl-like political event. The key to fully leveraging it is to make sure that it doesn’t become a one-off but contains a big-idea thematic animated by some specific proposals,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who worked for President Bill Clinton. “If the speech is not approached like that, it risks becoming a pupu platter moment — lots of tasty dishes, but you won’t be filled up for the long term.”
Although interest groups and lobbyists, inside and outside the administration, spend time trying to get the briefest of mentions of their pet causes in the speech before an audience of about 40 million, there are few legislative payoffs to show for all their efforts.
President George W. Bush used the first State of the Union speech of his second term to call for privatizing Social Security, an effort that hit a brick wall in Congress and nationwide.
In his 2012 speech, Obama proposed that every state require that students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18, a recommendation that also fell flat.
Obama used that address to make his argument for reelection, touching on themes of fairness and economic equality that would undergird his campaign stump speeches. But there have been few memorable lines or themes from Obama’s addresses on par with Clinton’s 1996 pronouncement that “the era of big government is over” or Bush’s “axis of evil” reference from 2002.
“His speeches have tended to be about half looking back and half looking forward. And that’s a style you can choose in a State of the Union — how much of the speech is going to be devoted to where we are today, how far we’ve come and so forth, versus something more visionary and using your time to look forward,” said Chriss Winston, a speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush. “That’s a choice every president has to make.”
On Wednesday, Obama will begin a road trip to North Carolina to further rally support and try to keep the momentum and the spotlight. Yet, polls suggest the hour-long speeches, given during prime time in the middle of a workweek, rarely change minds.
The exception was Clinton, who over seven addresses got a three-percentage-point boost in his approval rating. He received the biggest increase in 1998 when he delivered a speech days after the Monica S. Lewinsky story broke. He trumpeted a balanced federal budget and record low rates for unemployment and crime, but he did not mention the scandal. His approval rating jumped from 59 percent to 69 percent, according to Gallup.
One unpredictable factor on Tuesday night will be the issue of gun control and how much of his speech Obama will devote to it in the aftermath of the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Several lawmakers are planning to invite to the Capitol guests whose lives have been affected by gun violence, among them parents of children who were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
That tableau of grieving parents will amplify the president’s message and, even more than his words, possibly help him frame an agenda around gun control.
“I think most State of the Union messages are forgotten quickly after they’re given . . . unless there’s some kind of crisis,” said James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. “If there’s a crisis or an event like 9/11, then of course America is very focused on listening, and sometimes they can have an impact.”
For Obama, who delivered what many consider the best speech of his career last month when he was inaugurated, the somewhat low bar for Tuesday’s address could be a positive.
“I don’t think the expectations are high,” said Aaron Kall, director of the University of Michigan’s Debate Institute. “I think it’s generally something pretty monotonous and non-memorable. And if he can use that to his advantage and come up with a few memorable lines or the start of a very successful string of policy victories, then that’s something that could certainly be advantageous.”
There is something seriously wrong with you.
Wait, is this the ***OFFICIAL*** thread?
Hope when Obamacare kicks in it allows you to get mental help
Obama to use State of the Union address to make case against spending cuts
By Amie Parnes
02/12/13 05:00 AM ET
President Obama will use his State of the Union speech Tuesday to turn public opinion against automatic spending cuts and argue that some of the money to replace the cuts should instead come from higher taxes.
He will use the prime-time TV address to argue the economy would be damaged if $85 billion in automatic spending cuts were to go ahead on schedule on March 1, and will seek to set up Republicans to take the blame if they do.
Obama will spend a significant portion of his address talking about jobs and the economy, according to White House aides, who say the president will strike a similar tone as he has in recent days in calling for a “balanced” package of spending cuts and tax hikes to replace the sequester.
Senate Democrats aim to introduce a sequester replacement bill by Thursday that will include tax hikes and spending cuts. Republicans in Congress say they are willing to replace the sequester, but only with new spending cuts.
The State of the Union address is also expected to highlight Obama’s second-term shift on the deficit.
From 2010 to 2012, the president consistently argued for new spending to spur on the economy, but also called for accompanying spending cuts and tax hikes to rein in the deficit.
But in his radio address on Saturday, Obama emphasized that the White House and Congress already have “cut our deficit by more than $2.5 trillion” through spending cuts and higher tax rates imposed on households with annual incomes above $450,000.
“That’s more than halfway towards the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists and elected officials from both parties say we need to stabilize our debt,” Obama said Saturday.
The comments signaled the president’s intention to take a hard line against Republican calls to trim entitlements.
A Congressional Budget Office report issued last week found the budget deficit will drop below $1 trillion this year to $845 billion, before falling further by 2015 to $430 billion.
In a more ominous sign, the same CBO report found an aging population and soaring healthcare costs would lead to an explosion in entitlement spending in later years, with budget deficits approaching $1 trillion again by 2023.
While Obama has used the bully pulpit to pressure the GOP and win fights over taxes and spending, Republicans believe they’re in a stronger position this time around.
In fights over the payroll tax cut in 2011 and the Bush tax rates in 2012, the president positioned himself as an advocate for lower taxes on the middle class; if no action was taken, it would have resulted in a tax hike for most households.
In the new battle, a move not to act will result in spending cuts, something Republicans argue that voters want to see.
The GOP is also setting up a blame-game fight by arguing it was Obama who pushed for the sequester as part of the 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling. They are using the Twitter hashtag “#Obamaquester” to emphasize the point.
The White House argued that the 2011 debt-ceiling deal should include across-the-board spending cuts that would be triggered if Congress did not approve a broad deficit-reduction package to keep the country from defaulting on its debts. The cuts were picked so that they would be painful to both parties, and the final package was approved by bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been tapped to give the Republican response to Obama’s Tuesday address. Aides on Monday would not say definitively if he will respond to Obama’s point on the sequester.
The president will couple his remarks on Tuesday night with a barnstorming tour set to begin on Wednesday, when he will travel to North Carolina to deliver a speech largely focused on the economy. Obama will also make another stop in Atlanta on Thursday for a second speech.
The messaging tack is similar to ones employed by the White House in previous fights, when Obama has taken his case directly to the public and sought to put the blame on Congress for stalled legislation.
“Certainly this is the best opportunity for him to sharpen the issue and explain to the American people the stakes,” Democratic strategist Doug Thornell said of the State of the Union address. “There’s not going to be another opportunity with this size of an audience.”
Thornell said the messaging on the budget battles has worked well for the White House, adding, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Republicans point out they approved a sequester replacement bill during the last Congress. Members of the GOP, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), insist that it would be better if the sequester took place than it would be to introduce more tax hikes to replace it.
They also accuse the White House of not putting forward proposals that would eliminate the sequester.
White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday called those accusations “wholly false.” He argued at his press briefing on Monday that Obama put forward alternatives to the sequester in negotiations with Boehner over the “fiscal cliff.”
In remarks Obama will likely echo on Tuesday, Carney said Congress should work toward “a broader budget agreement that eliminates the sequester entirely and reduces our deficit further by passing a short-term delay in the sequester in a balanced, responsible way — without drama, without delay, without inflicting the kind of unnecessary wound on our economy that we should not be allowing to happen at this time.”
You'll have to pardon me but for the first time since 1994 I am sitting one out. I ahve better things to do than listen to more bullshit from D.C.
invoking Sandy Hook right off the bat. LOVING IT.
Did you know CSPAN has a tumblr?
Oh yes they do.
Excerpts From Pres. Obama’s State of the Union Address
1 hour ago
“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours.”
“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”
“Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”
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