State of the Union – WLA’s Picks of Best SOTU Moments

More blogging on local issues later. In the meantime…

Some good SOTU lines, moments, ideas, points—grabbed based on first impressions.


@todgoldberg: The alien living inside John Boehner is signaling his planet that they can begin colonizing Biden’s forehead now.

@joanwalsh: Michele Bachmann is looking at my dog Sadie off to my left. That is SO sweet of her!

@keitholbermann: Boehner tear time exactly 10:09:30 – I won the pool! #sotu #ShootingSalmonInABarrel


This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.

The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country.

In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.

Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.

Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. ……..

What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition [etc.] So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.

Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same……

I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.

Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.

….the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.

And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it. [followed by tepid applause]

…..and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family. {Didn’t not Congressman Peter King standing up on this one.]

Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation. [Yes, on both points.]

Love the Brandon, Plan B, Chilean minors story.

We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful…

Photo from the awesome Mark Horvath


  • How’s about that “rah rah America” SOTU.

    I wonder how progressives liked it when he told Al-Qaeda:
    “We will not relent…we will not waiver…and we will defeat you”.

    Sound like anybody else in recent history?????

    I wonder how they liked it when he said of America:
    “This is the greatest country on earth”……or when he said that nobody “here” would trade places with anybody from another country?

    Note to a former poster here: That includes Denmark.lol

    Man oh man. He’s now a hawk and a cheerleader for America.


    Just can’t help wondering how those ultra PC progressives liked his speech.

  • How’s about his plan to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years?

    Coming soon…another Wal-Mart to your neighborhood.

    How’s that sit with those who hate the mega-corporations?

    It’s just fine with me. They wouldn’t put one in a place where they couldn’t make money. Which means people want to shop there. It also means JOBS….maybe not at union scale, but it’s better than those jobs that aren’t there now.

    If there weren’t people willing to take those Wal-Mart jobs, there wouldn’t be any Wal-Marts. Pretty simple really.

    So, the President is giving the mega-corps a tax break. Sound like anybody else in recent history?

  • I wonder how progressives liked it when he told Al-Qaeda:
    “We will not relent…we will not waiver…and we will defeat you”.

    As someone who walks by the location where three thousand people died a horrible death in a city filled with progressives that has been won by Democrats since at least 1980, I can tell you that we all will be glad that President Obama will finish the job that George Bush couldn’t complete, despite all his tough talk.

    I don’t know why anyone would think that progressives would want to relent or waiver on Al Qaeda other than a baldfaced display of their own confirmation bias.

  • Thought it was an exceptional speech. Obama hit appropriate tone. Optimistic about the future, yet tempered to reality. The points he choose to emphasize as notes of resolve, i.e. Afghanistan, will not shock progressives, however one chooses to describe progressives. I think Obama demonstrated that he is the C in C. He’d didn’t put Republicans in a defensive position. Although, Frankly, I think he gave Republicans far more respect than Republicans have actually earned.

  • President Obama will finish the job that George Bush couldn’t complete, despite all his tough talk.


    Obama took the baton and ran with it. As much as we love to hate Bush, the heavy lifting in Iraq was done prior to 01/20/09.
    That’s a fact.
    Do your homework on the major battles of the Iraq War and check the dates. The surge worked. That’s why Obama is doing one in Afghanistan.

  • Rob, Obama gave credit to an opponent that knocked his agenda out in November. Good sports congratulate opponents after a loss, Republicans earned that and he knew it. He hasn’t changed though, he’s just realized he’s not going to get anything accomplished his last two years if he doesn’t bend. I give him credit for that but the speech was typical SOTU stuff we hear from them all. Obama wants to be a two term president in the worst way, like most that were before him and will sacrifice some of his agenda to get there.

    This is just silly Randy, “I can tell you that we all will be glad that President Obama will finish the job that George Bush couldn’t complete, despite all his tough talk”. Not Bush or Obama will finish this battle that’s been going on since way before Bush ever took office, how can anyone that understands this enemy think otherwise?

  • Not surprised that our Republican friends here can find a chuckle regarding the efficacy of Bush’s prosecution of the Iraq & Afghan wars. If the results of GWB’s tenure weren’t so horrible in actual human and national terms, I’d laugh too.
    As to what Obama can accomplish his next two years, clearly he’s going to be playing a lot of defense, mostly to protect the accomplishments of the first two years. Tonight showed that he’s willing to work with Republicans. Implicit in that willingness is that the GOP has to be responsible adults. We’ll see if the majority party in a congress that has an approval rating down around their ankles can rise to the challenge.

  • He may finish off Al Qaeda, we don’t know that.

    In any event, it was deliberate snark aimed at ATQ. I would like him or her to name one progressive who is supportive of Al Qaeda and who would be bothered by their being vanquished. Just one.

    As for getting rid of Al Qaeda, here is George W. Bush at a rare press conference on March 13, 2002:

    Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part — deep in your heart, don’t you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won’t really eliminate the threat of —
    THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he’s alive at all. Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is — really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission.
    Terror is bigger than one person. And he’s just — he’s a person who’s now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is — as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide — if, in fact, he’s hiding at all.
    So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. [my emphasis]

    Of course he wasn’t; he was too busy planning his adventure based on lies in Mesopotamia.

  • Randy,
    It’s ludicrous that you even suggest that I’m intimating that progressives are supportive of Al-Qaeda.
    You’re not in the ballpark of why I posted that.

    So, I’ll clue you in.

    What the majority of progressives WERE against, was the Iraq war. They believe we should never of went into Iraq in the first place.
    Randy, do you remember all the protest signs?
    No WMD’s
    No war for oil
    Bush lied/people died
    Bring our troops home
    etc. etc.
    Member Randy? Come on, you member.

    Now tell me the difference between “We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail”

    and “We will not relent, we will not waiver, and we will defeat you”.

    Let me put it this way Randy. It wasn’t Tea Baggers or right-wing wackos that were calling GWB a war monger for prosecuting wars in those countries that provided safe haven and training grounds for Al-Qaeda.
    The standard progressive’s beef with the war was:
    Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.
    Got news for you, neither did Afghanistan.

    And, like it or not, BHO ran with the baton Bush handed him re: Iraq…and he has turned into a hawk re: Afghanistan.

    Now he even sounds like GWB with his sound bites about it.

    The progressives that were against the war CAN’T be happy about that. CAN THEY?

    That was what I was suggesting Randy. That’s ALL I was suggesting.

  • BTW Randy,
    Gitmo is still open.
    50,000 troops are still in Iraq.
    BHO is doing a surge in Afghanistan.
    BHO reinstituted the Patriot Act.
    Waterboarding is still being done.

    Now then. Can the progressives who were so vehemnetly against those things two years ago be ok with them now?
    If so, how is that possible? Have they now seen the light and they now agree with Bush’s policies regarding those things? Do they now sit back and think to themselves: ‘You know, Bush was right…we were wrong”.

    lol. I doubt it. They CAN’T be happy about those things or the continuation of the war.

    Now, any questions regarding my intent on asking those questions?

  • Last thing, so as to not be a serial poster.

    They also can’t be happy about BHO’s calling on college campuses to open up their institutions to military recruiting offices.

    No self respecting progressive thought two years ago that we should be recruiting young people at our institutions of higher learning to go and fight in an “unjust and illegal war”.

    You remember when that was the mantra don’t you Randy? Member? You member.

    So, they can’t be happy about that either.

  • “We will not relent, we will not waiver, and we will defeat you”.

    He wasn’t talking about Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda until Bush ordered the invasion, which made that war a great recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. In the area of intellectualy honest comparisons that doesn’t even rise to the level of apples and oranges.

    They also can’t be happy about BHO’s calling on college campuses to open up their institutions to military recruiting offices.

    You’re really full of presumptions about how people think based on nothing but your own preconceptions. My dad was a civilian employee of the army. My best friends’ parents growing up were career military people. I have no problem with the military. I appreciate the fact that the military played a major role in fighting racism in this country when Truman desegregated the military. Now that DADT has been repealed (which was a significant reason that many colleges opposed recruitment on their campuses), I expect the military to continue to be a model in equality.

    Gitmo is still open.

    Disappointing to be sure, but he has been thwarted in closing it.

    50,000 troops are still in Iraq.

    And the number continues to decline.

    BHO reinstituted the Patriot Act.

    Disappointing to be sure, but it’s only for one year and the year is almost up.

    Waterboarding is still being done

    Poppycock. You offer that statement with no proof. He specifically banned it in 2009. Unless you’re talking about SERE training, you’re simply wrong.

    BHO is doing a surge in Afghanistan.

    Someone had to clean up Bush’s mess.

    A friendly suggestion: instead of presuming to know what people think, you should base your comments on their actual statements and actions. I can only speak for myself, but I will afford you same courtesy.

    Warm regards,


  • So all progressives think alike and would be on board with your way of thinking Randy? Not the buddy of mine I just had coffee with. Conservatives aren’t all cut in the same mold same as progressives aren’t and my friend thinks the military should never be allowed to recruit on campuses.

    ATQ/ BHO is doing a surge in Afghanistan.

    Randy/ Someone had to clean up Bush’s mess.

    Hey Rob, it’s the thankfully gone Democrat controlled last Congress where those numbers shrunk. It was due largely to their actions, not the Republicans or those November elections would have played out for your side. This line of yours is a load of crap and you know it. I certainly chuckled when I read it.

    We’ll see if the majority party in a congress that has an approval rating down around their ankles can rise to the challenge.

    Yet BHO was against the one in Iraq, which of course he took some credit for.

    You’re too sensitive Randy, reading between lines is something we all do, you included.

  • Warm regards back at ya Randy.

    Are you seriously going to tell me that the same progressives who were protesting the war two years ago are ok with it now? Really? Come on.

    Also, have you missed all the “he sounded like Reagan” sound bites after last nights address?

  • Waterboarding is still being done

    Poppycock. You offer that statement with no proof. He specifically banned it in 2009. Unless you’re talking about SERE training, you’re simply wrong.

    Here ya go Randy. From Questionhub.

    Why is Obama outsourcing waterboarding & torture jobs to Egypt, Romania, Jordan, etc? to Egypt, Romania, Jordan, etc? Why is he having the CIA ship terrorists to those countries to be tortured when Americans need jobs?



  • ATQ, progressives are all over the place about Obama. But, with rare exceptions, what they are not doing is following the simplistic logic you outline. [War bad. Obama at war. Obama bad. And so on.]

    Since you’re not a progressive, why don’t you forgo trying to gleefully and inaccurately read into the thoughts of others with whom you don’t identify—which is really not going anywhere—and just tell us what you feel and think about the guy yourself (that is beyond your urge to repetitively call him Barack Hussein Obama).

  • Celeste,
    I LOVED his speech.
    I LOVED the fact that he was trumpeting the successes of America.
    I LOVED that he sounded like A CIC.

    As far as your assertion: “that is beyond your urge to repetitively call him Barack Hussein Obama”.
    Where in the hell did that come from? I’ve NEVER, EVER spelled out his middle name. I just got in the habit of typing his initials like we did with GWB. Perhaps you’re reading a bit much into what I think. From now on, I’ll refer to him as BO so as to avoid appearing bashing him.

    As far as what I think about the guy, I think he’s a politician like most other politicians. I don’t think he’s ANY better or worse than most of them. I think he’s DRIVEN by the goal of being re-elected (like almost all of them).

    I think he’s changing a little bit right before our very eyes, simply in an effort to get reelected. Me being a “Blue Dog”, I’m glad to see that he’s taken a slighty less progressive/liberal/idealistic approach to his handling of the economy. Like it or not, the old axiom still holds true:
    Nobody ever got a job from a poor guy.

    I like it that he didn’t badmouth corporate America. They hire people…. or Wall Street. There’s a LOT of people like you and me that have investments in Wall Street.
    I’m also glad to see that his poll numbers are significantly up after the speech.

    The reason I bring up the war and his more “hawkish” side, is because I’ve continually been blasted by members of my own party for holding what appears to now be the same opinions as BO on that topic. It’s happened on this very blog by some who post here presently and past.

    Now when I point out that it appears I’m in line with BO’s thoughts, it seems to irk you. It’s not my intention to argue or instigate. My intention is to hopefully inspire others to NOT denigrate me for my opinions….when it turns out that my opinions are validated by BO….whom we all seem to agree with.

  • I guess in a nutshell, what I’m saying is:
    It’s a cool affirmation that some of BO’s opinions are in line with mine.
    Cause if I’m crazy or a right wing wacko simply for holding those opinions, so is BO. And we ALL know that’s not the case.

  • ATQ, sorry about crankily misinterpreting the BHO designation. I got it wrong.

    On everything else, hearing what you think is much more interesting—including the part about feeling slammed by fellow democrats.

    I admit that I get very grumpy when somebody else tells me how I feel. It’s one of my buttons. And that’s what it seemed you were doing–albeit not aimed at an individual, but at a group.

    Thanks for clarifying.

    “I LOVED that he sounded like A CIC.” Me too.

    And I agree about the “driven to be reelected” thang. It seems to be something that happens once one gets in that office.

  • No sweat Celeste, apology accepted. Maybe I myself am a little too quick to bring out the “who’s crazy now?” card. I apoligize if it gets old.
    It’s just that it gets old, REALLY old to continually be labeled as less than intelligent by those who have no tolerance for diversity of opinion. So when those who engage in that bullshit get it shoved up their ass ( metaphorically speaking of course) by the very same guy they voted for and trumpet as a genius, perhaps I AM too quick to point it out.

    I should back off on that. We ALL know it’s true without me having to say it or throw it in their face.

  • Celeste,
    As far as you thinking that what I’m saying is:

    [War bad. Obama at war. Obama bad. And so on.]

    Not at all. I’ve never, EVER had a problem with the war. Even prior to BO taking office. My problem lies with those who were so simplistic in their thoughts as to say:

    War bad. Bush at war. Bush bad. And so on.

    The war was one of the few things I thought he got right. And I’ve been blasted for it. I simply bring up the intellectual dishonesty of those who were so outraged about it two years ago, but it’s ok now. Because those who were so outraged about it two years ago, for the most part, are the same people who blasted me.

    If the war was bad, or illegal, or unjust, or a recruiting tool for Al-Qaeda, two years ago, it’s the same today. If we never should have went there, we have no business being there now. How can anybody justify continuing a war that they think never should have been started?

    It’s disengenous at best. Hypocritical at worst.

    And I continually get blasted for stating it.

    And those who blast me seem to forget ALL those fellow Democrat politicians who voted in favor of going into Iraq.

  • “which made that war a great recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.”

    Would you have us believe that the average Islamic insurgent’s outlook is thus:

    “I joined Al-Qaeda because Bush and America invaded an Islamic country unjustly and began killing our people. The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was unjust because Iraq and Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11. I hated America for that. But when BO got elected, even though he continued the war in Iraq, and has sent more troops to Afghanistan and they are still killing our people, I don’t hate America any longer because I realize that BO is just cleaning up GWB’s mess. I’m ok with the killing of my people now because BO had to clean up the mess. So I’ll no longer engage in battle against America”.

    It’s beyond ridiculous to believe that the war WAS a great recruiting tool for Al-Qaeda while prosecuted under GWB….but no longer IS while prosecuted under BO. In the area of intellectual honesty, that statement doesn’t even rise to the level of grapes and coconuts.

    When BO didn’t pull us out of the war very soon after taking office, The “recruiting tool” argument by those who love to hate GWB, but love to love BO was rendered moot. That talking point was cast asunder.

    Everybody thought BO was going to end the war in Iraq very soon after taking office, because he said he would during the Democratic primary. When it didn’t happen, and more specifically when he ramped up the operations in Afghanistan, those who used the “recruiting tool” argument against GWB would have been well served to find another talking point. To continue to use that one shows one’s blatant bias, to the point of making it obvious that they are willing to avoid applying logic in their quest to find EXCUSES for why the guy they like is justified in continuing the very same war the guy they didn’t like started.

    It’s impossible that the war WAS a great recruiting tool, but isn’t now.

    Potential Islamic recruits who are sympathetic to Al-Qaeda aren’t going to give America a pass because BO is the CIC….ESPECIALLY when he continues the war and tells them:
    “We will not relent, we will not waiver and we will defeat you”.

    Let’s get real and end the nonsensical political talking points.

  • Now that DADT has been repealed (which was a significant reason that many colleges opposed recruitment on their campuses)

    lol. As of Feb. 12 2003, two states and 66 cities had passed resolutions against the war.

    The Cambridge Chronicle (MA) called for the city council to join other municipalities around the country that had passed resolutions against the war. The Chronicle gave 10 reasons why they believed their city council should pass the resolution against the war.

    DADT wasn’t mentioned.

    Another city joins the bandwagon.

    Philadelphia City Council Votes Resolution Against The War

    September 15th, 2005

    On the urging of members and friends of the Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour, the Philadelphia City Council voted today 16 to 1 for a Resolution calling on the federal government to “rapidly withdraw US troops from Iraq expeditiously.”

    They go to list several reasons for their resolution. DADT isn’t mentioned.

    Etc. etc., yada yada.

    DADT and whether or not the war WAS/IS unjust are two completely separate issues.

  • Example: “So when those who engage in that bullshit get it shoved up their ass ( metaphorically speaking of course) by the very same guy they voted for and trumpet as a genius, perhaps I AM too quick to point it out.
    I should back off on that. We ALL know it’s true without me having to say it or throw it in their face.”

    Clueless and embarrassing. You are truly out of touch with reality. Constructed your own comfortable cocoon, in an act of supreme narcissism/childishness.

  • Ok Reg. Whatever you say pal. Sorry that I hit a little too close to home for you.
    I know that eating that crow, so cold and so bitter is tough for you. You got burned pal. A politician told you exactly what you wanted to hear to get your vote. Then he turned around and didn’t do what he said he would.
    And he’s made you look foolish in the process.
    It’s ok. I understand. It happens.

  • I also understand, that the war is no longer a bad idea, it’s no longer a recruiting tool for Al-Qaeda, and we should hunt down and defeat Al-Qaeda now.
    All because DADT was repealed.
    Got it. I don’t care what reason you’ve used to convinces yourself. Just glad you finally see the light.

    Let’s kick ass and take names now. Finally, we’ve found something we can agree on.

    The war in Afghanistan is an honorable undertaking and it is vital to our national security to hunt down Al-Qaeda and defeat them. We need to have our troops conducting operations in those countries that provide training grounds and safe havens for Al-Qaeda.

    Welcome to the bandwagon. Glad to have you. Glad to see you’ve switched positions and are finally ready to actually support the CIC and the troops in their mission.

  • Whatever you say reg. I’m just glad that now you’re on board with supporting your CIC, the troops AND THEIR MISSION.

    I could care less why you support the mission, I’m just glad you do.

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