Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:02 PM
babylonsister (152,959 posts)
"...sat through last night’s speech like a bunch of heads that belonged on...Easter Island."
The Audacity of Shame
By Charles P. Pierce
Some day, when we can look at it from a proper distance, the Obama Presidency is going to strike us all as more than passing odd in what appears to be its reckless, cockeyed optimism. Last night, the president delivered a State Of The Union address that was so wonkishly progressive, and so policy-laden, that he sounded like LBJ under the influence of some truly fine exotic mushrooms. My favorite line came when he was looking at a chamber full of climate-change denialists and half-baked creationists, and he started telling them all about the wonders of science.
Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy.
OK, so Mitt Romney got a better return on his genome just by being born, it was still a very compelling case for the economic benefits of science, with just a touch of Isaac Asimov to dazzle (or terrify) the rubes. And there was more. Universal pre-K! Rebuild all our crumbling bridges! Control our nation’s love of its shootin’arn’s! Confront climate change the way Joe Lieberman and John McCain once did! Vote on stuff! Be a Congress again!
And he did it in the chambers of a House of Representatives that, on its working days, is run by a Republican majority that sat through last night’s speech like a bunch of heads that belonged on a hillside on Easter Island. (John Boehner looked like he needed a drink more than Marco Rubio ever did.) The refrains kept coming.
It may be that this speech will be remembered mainly in its attempt to demonstrate through ambitious proposals the limits of the American political imagination, that it will demonstrate to the world, which already is doing a lot of what the president last night merely proposed this country should do, everything that the United States, acting through its Congress assembled, declines to do for its citizens. Because the president was right in a lot of what he said last night. Science really is important. Education really is still the silver bullet. The climate really is changing. The bridges really are crumbling. Some things really do have to be done.
It is in the shaming where the president’s optimism truly shines through. It implies that there is a conscience buried somewhere in the opposition, that there were lessons learned last fall when the Republicans put their purest vision of government up for public approval and found it rejected during a weak recovery and with unemployment still edging toward eight percent. It assumes that reservoir of good faith in which he placed so much of his own faith back in 2008 is still down there somewhere, waiting to be tapped. It was a very moral speech, calling on members of Congress – some of whom got where they are by railing against lazy welfare cheats and the undeserving poor – to earn their public salaries in the face of their private financial arrangements. It is that optimism that allows him, still, to ask, not for a vote in favor of his policies but, simply, a vote on those policies, a statement of purpose on behalf of the country by its elected representatives. To borrow a phrase from old George Jones, he thinks they still care. Some day, people are going to gaze in awe.
3 replies, 1081 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
"...sat through last night’s speech like a bunch of heads that belonged on...Easter Island." (Original post)
|Jeff In Milwaukee||Feb 2013||#2|
Response to babylonsister (Original post)
Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:37 PM
Jeff In Milwaukee (13,992 posts)
2. I believe our own William Pitt said it best...
Charles Fucking Pierce, Ladies and Gentlemen.....
I would add -- This guy brings it. Every time.