Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reactions to the State of the Union and the Republican Response

Well, I watched the State of the Union and the Republican response last night. 

The State of the Union dragged on, but I enjoyed it more than I expected.  In my post yesterday, I complained that State of the Union addresses often amount to empty rhetoric: that the President lists a bunch of great ideas, then nothing gets done.  I still feel that way.  But what I liked about last night's State of the Union address was that the President was not just talking about what should be done, but the good things that are being done, and the positive trends that are taking place (according to the President).  Businesses are cooperating with community colleges and providing apprenticeships.  The incarceration rate and the crime rate are decreasing, as is the teen pregnancy rate (or so the President said).

I also appreciated that the President praised Republicans who agreed with some of his ideas, as when he noted that Tennessee is under Republican leadership yet provides free community college, on some level. 

The Republican response was a bit too cheery for my taste.  I like my Republican and Democratic responses to be substantive and a bit wonky, and the one last night was a little better than most.  It wasn't just about criticizing big government.  What stood out to me is that both the President and Joni Ernst agree with tax reform and closing loopholes.  Because the President last night did not mention, say, increasing the capital gains tax and inheritance taxes, you would think that he and the Republicans pretty much agree on what to do about taxes.  But they don't entirely, and the issues on which they disagree are enough to divide them drastically.  Why can't they work together on what they do agree on, like closing loopholes?

I liked when the President said that we should set our sights on more than just one pipeline.  Good point!  Will anything come of that?  I am doubtful. 

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