Archive for the ‘state of the union’ tag
Symbolic bipartisanship ≠ partisanship or progress.
As a recent New York Times editorial noted:
Mr. Obama’s speech (the State of the Union) offered a welcome contrast to all of the posturing that passes for business in the new Republican-controlled House.
To that posturing, we can add the House’s largely symbolic vote to repeal the historic health care reform bill passed last year and the House’s reckless resolution to roll back domestic spending to 2008 levels.
And also to it, the graphic here, in which members of Congress sit, as if friends everyone, intermingled between Reps and Dems. This, of course, stands in staunch opposition to most if not all previous State of the Union speeches in recent memory. In years past, Congress members would sit on separate ends of the chamber, literally a house divided. Of course, it’s still a house divided, although people like John Boehner would have folks believe the GOP is extending a hand across the aisle:
We had hoped to hear a new commitment to keep his promises to govern from the center, change the tone in Washington, and work with both parties in a bipartisan way to help small businesses create jobs and get our economy moving again. Unfortunately, the President and the Democrats in charge of Congress still aren’t listening to the American people.
Now, if you aren’t a tad offended that politicians, including Obama, make it a regular practice to put words into your mouth, pretending to be omniscient on how you want the government to act, you aren’t paying close enough attention. More importantly, however, members of the GOP have not listened to economic experts, who have said time and again, that we didn’t spend enough in trying to jump start the economy.
But I digress. Here’s the melting pot Congress at its symbolic best:
The Associated Press this weekend released a good enterprise piece on BP’s tendency to consistently misrepresent or downplay the full effects of its oil rig debacle, which as of now has put somewhere between 18 million to 40 million gallons of crude in the ocean. Obviously, lowballing the estimates would behoove BP, since they face penalties based on how much oil actually leaks. According to the article:
On almost every issue — the amount of gushing oil, the environmental impact, even how to stop the leak — BP’s statements have proven wrong. The erosion of the company’s credibility may prove as difficult to stop as the oil spewing from the sea floor.
“They keep making one mistake after another. That gives the impression that they’re hiding things,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who has been critical of BP’s reluctance to publicly release videos of the underwater gusher. “These guys either do not have any sense of accountability to the public or they are Neanderthals when it comes to public relations.”
And later in the story, responding a question about why BP had presented wrong numbers on numerous fronts regarding the impact, BP spokesman David Nicholas said,
This event is unprecedented; no company, no one, has ever had to attempt to deal with a situation such as this at depths such as this before. BP, the Unified Command, the federal authorities and the hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals engaged on this effort, are doing everything we can to bring it under control and make it good.
as if “unprecedented” is a good enough excuse to not have a solution in case the worse happens. So too, BP Managing Director Robert Dudley clambered for excuses when quizzed on the company’s inept, or nonexistent, disaster policies on the Sunday edition of CNN’s State of the Union.
Here’s the video:
Note: “Ctd.” means this is continued from a previous post.
For obvious reasons, Democrats and the always ideologically hard to pin down Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are supporting an effort to repeal the mid-1990s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law that prevents military personnel from openenly serving in the military. President Obama also called for the repeal during his first State of the Union address.
This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.
Republicans, however, are by and large seeking more information from top military officials about how cutting the ban may affect servicemen and women. And I think they are taking the right stance on this point. As one commenter from the Politics Daily Web site said:
Current policy seems to work so leave it alone. Just imagine the problems it will create. How are reg soldiers going to feel knowing that they are showering with someone who is gay? Or just being in the same room? I am not against gays, just wondering how others might feel. I still thing its in the gene make-up of the body which determines what someone might be. But two guys or women holding hands on a base could cause problems. Privately- who cares.
And appearing exacerbated by those suggestions, pondermom wrote:
Straight men are showering next to gay men NOW they just don’t know it. And how are they going to feel ” just being in the same room ” ? Are you serious? You and Diane Schwab are both completely clueless. Are straight men attracted to every woman they see? Why would you think that gay men and women are attracted to every other man or woman walking down the street, or for that matter, showering next to? And, by the way, the military is not exactly the profession that the “drag queen” type of gay man, which I am sure is what you think all gay men are, is going to choose…. basic training and stilettos don’t exactly mesh.
It’s true that just because men and women are serving together doesn’t mean that everyone is attracted to everyone. Or, we can at least hope that most members of the military have moved along from their hormone-strewn puberty years. And it’s also short-sighted to think that just because someone is gay that he’s going to automatically “like” every guy he sees. Gay attraction works the same as straight attraction. Some folks float your boat; some don’t. Still, I think lifting DADT could get awkward as the former commenter suggested. As I’ve noted elsewhere, who I “like” on a personal level is my business, and I see little reason to shout my straightness to the stars. Neither should gays.
I think some folks might be forgetting a key component of DADT: the law prevents military officials from investigating their sexuality upon enlisting or during their times of service. Surely any repeal of DADT would address this part of the law. Like John McCain has suggested, the status quo should probably be held on this particular issue.
If anything, perhaps arcane language in the current law, such as: gays in the military would
create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability …
should be cleaned up and modernized.