Friday, September 9, 2011

The President's Speech (2)

Well, the President finally got to deliver his speech – a day later than he’d originally hoped and a few hours earlier than any sensible schedule would have suggested – in that case to accommodate those for whom watching NFL football is more important than learning what our elected leader proposes to do about unemployment. That peculiar conundrum certainly speaks volumes about the sad state not just of our politics but of our entire society!However that may be, the speech took place – before a Join Session of Congress with all the pomp (and pomposity) that goes with that. As I listened to the President’s words and watched who applauded and how often and who applauded and stood up and how often, I thought it was a good speech – not just for making concrete proposals at least some of which might actually have some prospect of passage but also for making the case for government. Alexander Hamilton might have made the case better himself, but Alexander Hamilton (sadly) is not our president, and I think Hamilton would have vigorously applauded (and even applauded and stood up) as the President reminded the nation (albeit a nation that would still rather be distracted by football) of why we have government and how much we need it.The Opposition Party – or at least its nominal leadership – not only wisely chose to forego the ridiculous practice of giving a televised response but actually seemed to suggest they might act the way citizens have traditionally expected legislators to act. Thus, the Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, in a statement released soon after the President’s speech said: “The proposals the President outlined tonight merit consideration. We hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well. It’s my hope that we can work together to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth and private-sector job creation.” And Republican leader, Eric Cantor, echoed the Speaker, saying: “There are certainly goals the President outlined that we can work with him on. We should work quickly to pass the areas where we agree.”Perhaps most promising of all, however, was the President’s promise/threat: “You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country." Not quite Harry Truman yet – but maybe getting there?

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