As you undoubtedly know, President Barack Obama will deliver his state of the union address to Congress and the American people tonight. Crabby Old Lady is trying to ignore it; she may not watch. (She recorded both flavors of NCIS and White Collar last night, so there is plenty of distraction available should she want it.)
And, watching in real time is no longer important. The speech will be online and the punditocracy will be picking it to pieces even before Obama finishes; the same old, same old from the same, tired old crowd. Anyway, Crabby thinks she knows what to expect:
A bit of the president's now-patented, soaring rhetoric; a recital of the progress made attacking our great recession (something noticeable only to the White House and Wall Streeters); and, apparently, announcement of a freeze on discretionary spending (except for the military and related agencies) which no legislator of any political stripe likes even before its official presentation.
And for comic relief that will have the pundits in a tizzy for a week, perhaps some Republican will shout a rude inanity.
Political maven she may be, but as Crabby Old Lady writes this, NCIS and White Collar are looking like a better choice.
Here are a few things the president could say but that Crabby expects to hear only in her dreams:
“I know I've harped on the success of the stimulus package in creating jobs. And some jobs were created - just not enough and too many were short-term make-work. So, taking a page from FDR, which I should have done a long time ago, tonight I announce the 2010 New Deal. Beginning immediately, we will create works agencies that will start with fixing the infrastructure of the United States.
"Remember that? A few years ago, there was a big to-do about our bridges, roads, dams, railroads, waterways and more that are crumbling, but except for the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis, no one did anything about it. Now we will fix all that while putting millions back to work – not just in the blue collar jobs for the heavy lifting, but all the necessary related jobs – accountants, attorneys, project managers, technologists, transportation, manufacturing, etc. along with support business that will spring up in local areas around these projects. We will also...”
The end of attempts at bipartisanship with Congress
“God knows I've tried for the past year, but there has been nothing but no from Republicans with not a single, credible alternative. Sometimes we Democrats are our own worst enemies, but I think if we ignore the Republicans, we can recapture the spirit of cooperation we found during the campaign and will be able to move ahead on our own to solve the many problems our country faces. We welcome any Republicans who want to join us, but only if they have something more to offer than a filibuster.”
Bringing home the troops
“No one knows why our forces are in Iraq and Afghanistan, least of all me, and there is not a single person in the United State (or elsewhere) who knows what victory would be. We have spent a treasury of trillions, lost thousands of young lives. It is time to stop and leave those countries to their agonies.”
“I am ending the doctrine of too-big-to-fail and will work with Congress to bring back Glass-Steagall, among other efforts to ensure that banks no longer risk your money on casino-style, esoteric investments that got us into our economic mess.
"To help that along, I am backing down on my support of Ben Bernanke for another term as head of the Federal Reserve. In addition, I will appoint some new economic advisers who are not dizzy from too many turns through the Wall Street/Washington revolving door, people whose future employment, after my administration, does not depend on keeping Wall Street bankers happy.”
Health care reform
“I can see now that I was wrong to take single-payer off the table at the beginning of the health care initiative. The Senate bill has become so weakened that not even elimination of pre-existing conditions for adults remains. On the other hand, ninety-six percent of our elders like Medicare and are well taken care of under that system. It makes much more sense to extend Medicare to everyone and in expanding the risk pool to the entire population, health care costs will become affordable for all.”
“On Tuesday, the Senate rejected the Conrad/Judd debt commission proposal - also called entitlement commission. Just a couple of days before that, I said I would create such a commission by executive order if Congress did not. However, since then, I have discovered a terrific blog called Time Goes By where a woman who calls herself Crabby Old Lady and a Pulitzer Prize-winning contributor to that blog, Saul Friedman, have written extensively about why this commission is a bad idea.
"They have convinced me that debt reduction should not come out of the hides of our elders. Social Security and Medicare did not cause the meltdown, so tonight, I withdraw my support of the commission and we will find other ways to attack the national debt.”
And so on. Crabby is pretty sure TGB readers can dream an even better State of Union Address than she has.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Gone For Good