For a guy who never has to face another election to keep his job, President Obama confidently strode to the dais to deliver a bright, ambitious smorgasbord of public needs and his answers to a weary, but recovering, nation saddled by an obstructionist Congress.
In a stirring address, the President told the Joint Session of Congress, America, and the world, that while much has been accomplished, much remains to be done. His own party enthusiastically cheered the address, and Republicans sat glumly. House Speaker John Boehner (R)’s grimaces appeared to indicate a battered Mardi Gras hangover waiting for the bar to open for a stiff “hair of the dog.”
President Obama ticked off a challenging “honey do” list of the nation’s most pressing problems. An aging infrastructure better suited for a pre-yuppie Land Rover than a sports car. The need for a 21st Century educational system responsive to the needs of all, not just another Wall Street corporate privatized profit center with designer faux ivy on the virtual walls. A rejuvenated free enterprise system which serves the many, instead of a booming stock market just garnishing the top of America’s upper crust.
He spoke of the pressing need to protect our most precious resource, America’s children, and their being able to master the educational challenges of competing in a world economy, instead of dodging bullets here at home. The rights of the nation’s female majority to a life free of discrimination and domestic violence. Encouraging those protecting and serving all of us in far flung corners of the globe, regardless of their genetics, or who they choose to love.
A novel idea that a full-time worker ought not to live in abject poverty, with a proposed $9 minimum wage, indexed to the cost of living. Of course, Republicans continued to think that was as palatable as a being waterboarded with castor oil. Alas, The Party of No has been fighting a viable, livable minimum wage for many decades. If the basic rights of ordinary working Americans were so blatantly toxic to “free enterprise,” why then have the rich been consistently getting richer?
Rather than “winning” wars, which we frankly haven’t been adept at for more than half a century, President Obama spoke of freeing the country from the morass of the previous decade. American troops have been, and will continue to be, returning from battlefields on the other side of the globe. Yes, we owe them. Of course, the other side of the aisle took that about as well as having an unlubed colonoscopy performed with one of their trendy transvaginal probes.
President Obama challenged the Legislative branch to actually vote on legislation as they were elected to do. Now’s the time to get things done. Novel concept.
Republicans sent in Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for their response attack on the second term President. At least Rubio has finally admitted his parents were economic immigrants instead of a salsa-laced version of French resistance hero Jean Moulin “fighting Castro’s communist tyranny.” Despite saying how Medicare helped his parents, and six figures worth of federally insured student loans, financial aid, and public education got South Florida’s political pool boy where he is, the GOP’s tired refrain of lower taxes and “smaller government” remained familiar shopworn snake oil.
As for the Tea Party rebuttal to the rebuttal, at least self-board-certified opthamologist Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) predictably smirked at the camera, so as to not fumble a la Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)’s comical gift to late night comedy writers. There was nothing new from the well past “sell by” dated Tea Party, other than another potential Presidential hopeful crashing and burning early on.
The time for progress is now.