Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union and Republican Responses

Nothing really surprising last night. The President gave a good speech and I was struck by his ability to straddle the challenges while also being pro-America in referencing American exceptionalism. He gave a largely positive message of inclusion to address the nation's significant problems.

The "official" Republican response was given by Representative Paul Ryan. I actually like the guy and think he is a very thoughtful fiscal conservative. However, I thought his message was a bit flat because it unnecessarily took shots at the President. To say that the stimulus has failed is a political pot shot not based on reality. I'm quite sure that Ryan knows better and recognizes how serious the challenges are. He referenced the previous administrations failings and that the problems are decades in the making, but he still chose to play to his base and speak in ominous tones about Obama's policies rather than striking out on a higher plane that will be necessary to combat the fiscal issues facing the country.

Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachman gave her normal anti-Obama rant. I am struck by how dark and forboding her world view is. It was largely ineffective because the tone was neither serious nor constructive. She played to her base and it further demonstrates the split that is emerging between Republicans and the Tea Party folks.

The reality is that the fiscal challenges and big issues of entitlement reform and immigration reform need to get addressed. Republicans now have a responsibility to govern and will have to work with Democrats to solve the problems. It is inane to talk about such things as Health Care repeal and how Republicans are working to replace it. First of all it hasn't been repealed, nor will it be, so coming up with an alternative is just a simple waste of time. If there are fixes that make it better then fine pass those fixes, but stop playing to cameras and the base by talking about repeal and replacement - it is not going to happen. Work on things that need to get done, not on things that just cannot go anywhere.

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