I was driving home from work when the 2015 State of the Union started, so I don’t think I caught all of what President Obama said as my AM tuner fought a losing battle between the State of the Union and a Mexican station. Fortunately, like all State of the Union addresses, the opening remarks are typically full of the same empty rhetoric, narrowly or incompletely defining success and then patting oneself on the back for having achieved said success. I did, however, manage to get home in time to stream the rest of the address on YouTube. Unfortunately, the rest of the speech wasn’t much better.
I’m spitballing here, but it sounded like the ideas we’ve been hearing throughout this presidency. Rich people: pay more. Poor people: here’s free stuff. I did enjoy President Obama’s call to raise the minimum wage and how he described the impossibility of raising a family $16K and change a year. First, minimum wage jobs aren’t meant for people who are trying to raise families. Second, President Obama unhelpfully didn’t say what the minimum wage should be raised to. How much should we pay an individual so that he or she could raise a family? C’mon Mr. President; put a dollar figure on it! I suspect you won’t because raising a family is actually quite expensive and will probably put the minimum wage into the salary range that college graduates usually get. Not only would a lot of businesses fold under these new demands, but there would be even less reason to avoid college.
Anyway, I’m not really interested in arguing the President’s State of the Union address point for point. I just wanted to highlight my favorite part of the evening:
Mr. Obama issued a broad call for “a better politics” that began with common principles, and said his agenda isn’t political, pointing out “I have no more campaigns to run.”
That drew rousing applause from the GOP side of the aisle, which had sat on its hands as Mr. Obama had ticked off partisan proposals he wanted to see, and threatened vetoes of bipartisan bills Republicans are trying to pass.
The applause was too much for Mr. Obama, who punctuated his declaration that his campaigns are over by saying, “I know, because I won both of them.”
Democrats roared with delight, while red-faces Republicans grimaced.
I liked this part the best because it was an honest moment in government. The Republicans applauded because for them 2016 can’t come fast enough. And, of course, President Obama couldn’t let the slight go without a riposte. But it’s that look on his face after he utters his rejoinder. It just says, “Screw you.” If he could have flipped them the bird on national television, then he would have. Nevertheless, this was naked aggression from both sides. The pure hatred between parties was laid bare for these few, fleeting, perfect seconds.
Unfortunately, the magic was quickly dispelled and President Obama went back to his written speech (which the video below doesn’t show), and he talked about actively pursuing Republican ideas.
Yeah, right! Watch the video and tell me you believe him.