Okay, real quick. I just want to be pretentious for one hot second and share how amused I was that I had the same thoughts about Apple's new iPad as pretty much everyone else who read the announcement, AND I blogged about reaction to it a whole 27 1/2 hours before CNN had something live. HA!
Now on to the main event. I know I'm a full 24 hours late coming to the State of the Union commentating party, but better late than not to show up at all.
I thought last night kicked off nicely. I was on my way to my good friend Ruth's place for a SOTU viewing party when I had to pull over on Calvert St. to let the presidential motorcade through. Annoyed at first, that I was stuck at a green light, waiting for whatever was making the siren come around the corner, turned into almost-peed-my-pants excitement when a cop on a motorcycle turned into no less than 15 cops on motorcycles, countless black vans, an ambulance, numerous armored cars and the famed black limousine with the distinctive presidential seal on the side door flew past me on their way to Capitol Hill.
Of course I called my parents. Of course they told everyone in their office about it today.
Finally getting to Ruth's, a big group of us settled in with various beverages and cheese things, taking bets on what the theme would be (I promptly said that I read he was going to tell the country to calm the Eff down), armed with our SOTU BINGO cards and color commentary...
Obama: "I hated it. I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal."
Peanut Gallery at Ruth's: "Well, he just lost the dentist vote."
Obama: "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do."
Peanut Gallery at Ruth's: "Ahhh Petraeus looks happy about that!"
Obama: "That's how budgeting works."
The speech left me with mixed feelings. On one hand, I appreciated that Obama was aware and made a poignant effort to note that the biggest chunk of his audience was not sitting in the House chamber. On the other, I felt that at times I was getting a pep talk from my high school soccer coach: "Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people."
The exports statement -- "We will double our exports over the next five years" -- had the whole room up in arms. I thought it was an out-of-the-blue thing to include. What does America export that the world will want two fold in the next five years? Are we the leading global exports in anything right now?
I was on board with his comments about energy jobs and high-speed rail, no pun intended -- although I think the energy jobs should be government positions if you're going to make a 60-year-old formerly employed auto worker learn how to build wind turbines. However, I was surprised we didn't hear more about the environment or oil dependence -- wasn't Copenhagen just a month ago?
Several of the pundits have complained that this speech was too long. As you can tell from the long-winded way I blog, that definitely didn't faze me. Obama's plate is just as full as it was a year ago and he still has a lot to prove in a short 10-month period before the country speaks in November.
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