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Posted at 10:15 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Where was Obama the centrist in his State of the Union?

By Jennifer Rubin

If you were expecting a moderate Obama or a bold Obama, you were disappointed, most likely, by Tuesday's State of the Union Address. In a nutshell: Obama proposed a ton of new domestic spending, promised to freeze discretionary spending (attained by savaging defense), abstained from offering specifics on entitlement reform and largely ignored major foreign policy changes. Moreover, the delivery was so listless that this State of the Union address likely garnered less applause than any address in recent memory.

But the mystery is solved: There is no new Obama, just a less snarly one. But it was also a flat and boring speech, too long by a third. Can you recall a single line? After the Giffords memorial service, this effort seemed like Obama had phoned it in. Perhaps that is because the name of the game is to pass the buck to Congress to do the hard work of digging out of the fiscal mess we are in.

As we expected the laundry list of spending is called "investment." But it is spending, pure and simple. And there is a ton of it.

There was undisguised hunger for government to pick winners and losers: "We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's." And what special expertise does Obama or the Congress have in sprinkling our money to energy projects? More importantly, how much does GE stand to gain?

There is more money for schools and infrastructure, which used to be called "stimulus" but is now "investment." On schools, he declared: "Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don't meet this test. That's why instead of just pouring money into a system that's not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, 'If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we'll show you the money.'" But what if the results have been inconclusive at best? And, no, not a syllable on school choice or the D.C. voucher program that he and the Democratic Congress exterminated.

On infrastructure, he tells us, "We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what's best for the economy, not politicians." Wasn't that what the stimulus was for -- or did we fritter away that money?

He made a gesture toward a Dream Act-like plan when he said it was a shame to let illegal immigrants go to college and then return home, but he offered no specifics. There was another promise to tackle comprehensive immigration reform, a promise that he failed to keep when Democrats controlled the House. It was a check-the-box moment for Hispanic voters.

After all this comes a ban on earmarks that Harry Reid already rejected and a five-year freeze on discretionary spending that amounts to cutting defense to dump money into liberal spending plans: "This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I've proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without." Umm, I think Gates was badgered into coughing up the cuts (notice how Obama shifts responsibility to Gates). Moreover, what about any immediate, substantial non-defense cuts? Any? There are none, it seems.

And after all that, his brand of fiscal sobriety offers to cut the "deficit by more than $400 billion." That will leave us trillions in the hole.

On entitlement reform, he punted the ball, with the vaguest possible statement: "To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market." It was, even with the prior warning, a shockingly empty statement.

He's not into refighting ObamaCare (once again, the voters be damned). He'll look at some tweaks, but that's about it. However, he made one positive offer: pursue tax reform.

We then, finally, got to national security. He said on the war he ran against: "Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America's commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end." The campaign promise was to end the war; America's promise was to win it. The difference still eludes him.

On Afghanistan, the July deadline was back: "Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home."

That was troubling enough, but then came the horridly insufficient, single sentence on Iran. "Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before." Pathetic.

He did offer some useful remarks (yet to be translated into any concrete policy steps) on Tunisia; "We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people." No mention was made of the Lebanese, who are in the process of being gobbled up by Iran's agent, Hezbollah. And what about the people of Iran, China, North Korea, and the rest of the tyrannized world? They are, one supposes, on their own.

There was more -- too much, in fact. The speech was both undisciplined and boring. But it did remind us that, at heart, Obama is a liberal who wishes to expand, seemingly without limitation, the reach of the federal government. His lack of energy and failure to connect with his audience belied the notion that the old, charismatic orator is back. If the officials in the White House thought this was a helpful speech, they are more isolated from reality than I feared.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 10:15 PM ET
Categories:  President Obama  
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Next: A State of the Union response or a 2012 match-up?

Comments

See a tag cloud of Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address: http://robvstate.com/2011/01/25/tag-cloud-of-obamas-2011-state-of-the-union-address/

And see how it compares to the 2010 State of the Union Address

Posted by: robparisblog | January 25, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I get weary of an extremist-right position that defines anything with which it does not agree as something as "non-centrist".

We're at economic war with authoritarian governments who are on a path to overcome us economically, Millions of jobs have been lost in that war.

The line the President drew tonight is if we want to win the future against these job-eating enemies or if we simply allow them to destroy us.

The far-far right is not interested in the success of this nation; they are only interested in themselves.

I'm an American first.

Posted by: colonelpanic | January 25, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse


A laundry list of big spending, now labeled "investment."

There is just no way we can afford to do this now.

Posted by: coastofutopia | January 25, 2011 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama sucks a fat one. I just got lied to for over an hour and a half.

Posted by: Votingis4Suckers | January 25, 2011 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I'll tell you where Obama the centrist was. He was watching the real Obama kick some serious butt.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | January 25, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, well ..... He was bridge building after all. No 'Joey' Wilsons. No texting, (maybe). 'Right' and 'Left', side by side, holding hands. .... Such a mature audience ...... in 'Bizarro' World.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | January 25, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"The far-far right is not interested in the success of this nation; they are only interested in themselves.

I'm an American first."

You sound like that fat sheriff from Arizona. All you need is a pile of dead bodies to stand on while you make the pronouncements of who is "for" the country and who is "against" the country and you can be just like him. At least when GWB did the same he was referring to enemies of the country murdered by them, not citizens of it who disagree with his domestic policies.

Posted by: Votingis4Suckers | January 25, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama said gates sees tens of billions he could cut from defense. if that is true they should have been cut already and gates should be fired for ignoring those obvious cuts. when Obama was making his token speech at immigration reform to try and garner the latino vote he uttered enforce the law. was he saying to deport everyone that is in the country illegally that would be enforcing the law. to my illogical liberal friends when you attack me please at least state which law he was intending to enforce.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | January 25, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

What speech was Rubin listening to? Not the one I heard.

Posted by: Pogoagain | January 25, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is the "Sputnik moment"? As far as I can tell it's just more of the same irresponsible, ineffective government spending. We all must know that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path. Obama's deficit commission just told us, and Obama acknowledges it. So Obama wants to freeze 15% of the budget at today's bloated level. He's not even trying to be a responsible steward. He's just trying to get re-elected.

Posted by: eoniii | January 25, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

This is a joke, right?

Obama signs into law a health care bill whose central ideas were developed by the notoriously Bolshie Heritage Foundation and championed by a Das Kapital-toting Mitt Romney that contains over 200 GOP amendments, and you ask where the "centrist" is? Jeez, I've been wondering when the president is going to move to the center too--FROM THE RIGHT.

Obama is too liberal? Yeah, and the GOP would be "too conservative" and need to move to the center if it were to pass a health care bill developed by the Center for American Progress, championed by Bernie Sanders, and has 200 Democratic amendments.

Seriously, what color *is* the sky in your world?

Posted by: DrSepp | January 25, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

colone - the problem us righties see is that govt isnt the answer - its the problem. You seem to be saying the govt that got us in this mess is the govt that will get us out of it? Is more govt really going to help the schools? Is more govt spending going to make the private sector compete? Does China's companies compete better because they have more regulation then their global competitors? Govt doesnt create jobs or wealth and every dollar it spends comes from the private sector or borrowing - so you think borrowing more from the Chinese will help us compete against the Chinese?! That is unserious.

Posted by: belmontbob | January 25, 2011 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Anemic? You must have been watching the Republican response.

Posted by: TheMan66 | January 25, 2011 11:17 PM | Report abuse

You apparently look forward to emulating Greece. Irresponsibility has its rewards, eh?

Posted by: meta-materialist | January 25, 2011 11:24 PM | Report abuse

SOTU speeach summary.

1000 points of trite.

Posted by: Bobo4 | January 25, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin is so far radically right she couldn't see a centrist idea with a solar telescope. She probably thought Rep. Bachman was too far to the left. Where does the WaPo find these neanderthals?

Posted by: dougharty | January 25, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Obama was "Less snarly?" That's a first for that adjective for the president, but then, we have Ms. Rubin do give us a full-fledged example in her own snarly column. This is sort of like the drinking games, except when she heard something she didn't like, she wrote it down and tried to say something nasty about it.

Wonderful contribution to the public discussion.

Posted by: thmas | January 25, 2011 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer: To be fair, this is inaccurate:

"...He made a gesture toward a Dream Act-like plan when he said it was a shame to let illegal immigrants go to college and then return home, but he offered no specifics...." I think he said illegal students (graduates?) live in fear of deportation, and other foreign students are made to go home after graduating. I agree that we need to make it possible for top foreign science and engineering graduate students to remain here once they graduate if they so desire. You may recall "the Brain Drain".

The rest....blechh. That was as flat as Sunday's beer. I am losing respect for Gates. He should have resigned yesterday. He's likely just another careerist.

At the Colon, that fine American (you won't get a salute from me): "...We're at economic war with authoritarian governments who are on a path to overcome us economically, Millions of jobs have been lost in that war...." Uuumm, well we're actually at war with ourselves. We've allowed enviros and unions and leftie "trial" lawyers and idiots like Pelosi to make it almost impossible to build a plant, hire or fire people, or take a risk in this country. So, those who have the getupandgo, gotupandwent -- to China.

That's why China is doing so well. By themselves they would be just another failing third-world (albeit dangerous) country. If we make it hospitable for companies to do more than just sell their products in this country, many will come back, and we'll be right back in the lead again.

But that requires getting rid of Obamacare, and ending the EPA's war on carbon, and putting some sort of lid on litigation (loser pays?), and I could spend another ten or twenty paragraphs detailing ways to make this place "out compete" the others. Hmmm, maybe I should be President.

Posted by: jafco | January 25, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

You're right Ms. Rubin, he was no Centrist, but instead a MODERATE.

Centrist by definition are Democratic Conservative Blue Dogs with Corporate leanings.

Other than that, what I heard the president say in short, Is that this country has stagnated economically and socially, e.g., sustainable jobs & education; and the only way that "we", the citizens in this country with the help of the government will be able to move this country and it's citizens forward is by "investing in ourselves, our children, and modernizing the countries outdated, outmoded, failing infrastructure for the future".

We need to FIX what needs Fixing and move forward.

If we ever plan on becoming prosperous and forward thinking nation again.

If you did not get that out of the president's speech than maybe you should look for opportunities somewhere else other than WAPO, because you are much too partisan to help advance the country's future for decades and generations to come.


"YOU ARE EITHER WITH US OR YOUR NOT!"

Posted by: lcarter0311 | January 26, 2011 12:10 AM | Report abuse

The salmon line was pretty good. Other than that, I agree; much of his speech was forgettable.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | January 26, 2011 12:16 AM | Report abuse

"And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's."

This was the BEST part of the entire speech, and I hope people noticed it. I've been waiting for some courageous leader to address this elephant in the living room for ages. We give BILLIONS to a mature industry in subsidies - for what? The fact that they were raking in RECORD PROFITS DURING A SEVERE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN should speak volumes to you about how much they need your money (hello, tea partiers?). THESE are the "welfare queens" of our society. We shovel billions in tax dollars to these companies that simply DON'T. NEED. IT.

Shame on Rubin for taking issue with that. Or at least, implying that it's not as grotesque as it is.

People need to get behind Obama for ending this corporate welfare for mature industries. I'm fine with giving some subsidies to the nascent promising industries that are likely to save our butts down the line though. China and Europe are already leaps and bounds ahead of us in alternative energy sector because our Congress is totally in the pockets of Big Oil. And they didn't get there purely by the forces of the free market.

It's time to cut off the sugar stream to the Dinosaur Fuel industry and give a little boost to our future.

Posted by: B2O2 | January 26, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Looking for a pro-American opposition to Obama and the Dems? Both Jennifer Rubin and the teapartiers are bogus.

For a clear example, she mentions the Dream Act, an anti-American bill that would let the illegal aliens covered by it take college educations away from U.S. citizens:

http://24ahead.com/s/dream-act

Jennifer Rubin supports the DA (and amnesty in general). For their part, the teaparty "patriots" largely ignored that anti-American bill (see one of the posts at that link). The only good thing that can be said about the teaparty "patriots" is that rightwing bloggers were even worse.

Once again: that bill would let the illegal aliens covered by it deprive U.S. citizens of college. Those who support it are extremely vulnerable to being discredited and having their political careers ruined.

Yet, Jennifer Rubin isn't offering an opposition, she supports it. And, the teaparty "patriots" and rightwing bloggers largely ignored it.

Don't fall for bogus oppositions.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 26, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Obama's SOTU speech was about what one would expect from someone who never ran a business, who never made a payroll, and who never had to worry about turning a profit. Just empty words.

Posted by: coffeetime | January 26, 2011 12:50 AM | Report abuse

@Posted by: B2O2: Please go flagellate yourself. You just cannot be that unaware of reality and go unpunished. I suggest four hours a day, every day for a month, as a starter.

Now why am I saying this? Because you said: (1) "...We give BILLIONS to a mature industry in subsidies - for what? The fact that they were raking in RECORD PROFITS DURING A SEVERE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN...." Now please tell me what subsidies they get. The get depreciation, but no longer depletion. What else that any other company doesn't? Be detailed.

As to the BILLIONS: Have you ever looked at their profitability? I mean, in profit per dollar of gross income? It's the lowest of any industry (except maybe health insurers) in America. However, they make huge profits 'cuz you won't ride your bike 35 miles to work come rain or shine, and so they sell a squillion gallons a day. It actually is YOUR FAULT they are so profitable (in a total dollars sense).;

and (2) you said "...China and Europe are already leaps and bounds ahead of us in alternative energy sector...." Are you aware that China builds a new COAL FIRED POWER PLANT about every day (not kidding; Google it; I may be wildly conservative here)? France gets ~80% of its power from nuclear (Japan is in that league too). Only Denmark is "big" in wind - and they spend tons of kroners buying hydroelectric power from Sweden when the wind doesn't blow (quite often, usually when it's really cold). Germany I believe has quit subsidizing wind and solar.

Why are you totally wrong about "alternative energy" you might ask? Because it doesn't work. The "energy density" of wind and solar is so small compared to coal and oil and gas and nukeyer (as Jimmy Carter - that fabulous nuclear engineer - pronounced it) that they cannot ever be of importance until strides unimagined are made in reducing things like friction and line loss and God knows what else (and we run out of oil and coal and gas and uranium). In about 250 years, maybe they can be economic, and not just environmental and scenic disasters.

I didn't tell you to stop with the flagellation!

Posted by: jafco | January 26, 2011 1:08 AM | Report abuse

I don't remember a signal thoughtful memorable comment in Ms. Rubin's diatribe. Much too long. Repeating the same tired thoughts over and over.

Posted by: Willis3 | January 26, 2011 1:30 AM | Report abuse

When you actually read the text you realize just how bad the speech was. Nothing memorable.

Posted by: archie521 | January 26, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Politically it was a winning speech and performance: targeted at Independents, hopeful as opposed to Republican doom and gloom. And maybe this is news to the Beltway, but most Americans are sick of dumping $2 billion per week into Afghanistan, so that's a winner too.

In this case, Rubin only provides a corporate lawyer-type brief against the opponent, instead of an interesting political analysis.

Posted by: cambridge-persisitence | January 26, 2011 2:36 AM | Report abuse

So, judging from the comments herein,

The State of The Union is: Fractured.

But, not the end of the world, by any means. I actually read some well formed opinions by conservatives (presumably) for the first time in my adult life (Kudos, jafco).

BUT... You can't make fun of Jimmy Carter's "nukyer" without a nod to George Bush's "nucular." Most of your ilk wouldn't know why that's equally incorrect, but that's because we've been the fat, lazy cats for a very long time.

State of The Union? Get your rears in gear. Crying about how things are wont change a thing. DO something about it. Obama basically was saying, "Hey, the country is fine. Our budget stinks, but if you lazy, fat, ignorant, uneducated, entitled-types would push an issue that would lead to a competitive advantage in our economic competition with a 4 billion strong slave state, I'm all ears."

We're one phenomenal battery away from basically all that ails us at this current time.

If you have a battery that's portable, rechargeable, universal... We got the world by the short and curlies. But... We still don't.

Where's IronMan when you need him?

Posted by: Thinker_ | January 26, 2011 5:28 AM | Report abuse

Much of Jennifer's criticism involves economics.

Is she a trained economist?

If not, she's just one more person with an opinion.

Posted by: berniesilverman | January 26, 2011 5:45 AM | Report abuse

To all fifty states, we said, 'If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we'll show you the money.'" But what if the results have been inconclusive at best? And, no, not a syllable on school choice or the D.C. voucher program that he and the Democratic Congress exterminated.

___

Interesting. Maybe Ms. Rubin is unaware of the fact that the voucher program wasn't that effective. After three years in the program, students who received vouchers were just 3 months ahead of their 'left behind' peers in reading and there was pretty much no impact in math. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20094050/

This simply was not a wise use of taxpayer dollars. If Rubin really doesn't want to fund ineffective experimental programs in education, she should be pleased that this one was "exterminated," not upset.

Posted by: va2009 | January 26, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse

"He's not into refighting ObamaCare (once again, the voters be damned)"

A lie in itself, its only tenuous link to the truth is because Republicans lied to voters about provisions of the Act, desperate as they were to deny Obama and the Democrats any legislative victories (and certainly one that will ultimately prove as popular as this one will be).

Posted by: mcconnor | January 26, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

I heard most of the speech...and it was so much different than the one Rubin portrayed.
I`ll be willing to wager that she had most of her editorial written long before the speech was given. Then she just plugged several additional things. She would have looked even more stupid if she included topics..not actually mentioned in the speech.
Watch and see how many Tea Party members get re-elected!

Posted by: blazerguy234 | January 26, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

The fact is america is devoid of big ideas unless it involves blowing people up

Posted by: Chops2 | January 26, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

"berniesilverman" has just made an exceptionally silly statement. He asks if Rubin is a trained economist. That is silly because "trained economists" disagree vociferously. The Keynesians disagree with the Austrians. Even economists disagree with themselves. Before joining the administration Romer wrote a paper showing tax cuts had a higher multiplier that government spending. However, less than a year later, she is advocating a "stimulus" program that turned out to be as ineffective as her paper predicted.

But, the major problem with Bernie is he actually believes he should leave things to the experts. That is how we got into this situation: experts. However, I will be fine with Bernie leaving things to the failed experts as long as he promises not to vote. He is clearly not "trained" enough to vote.

Posted by: RickCaird | January 26, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Lady, you are so full of crap you have flies coming out of your ears. Obama IS centrist, it's just that you GD rightwing idiots have lost your minds.

Posted by: aartmann112004 | January 26, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

what a sad and bitter woman you are. Too bad the GOP has no ideas or solutions. It's a great country in case you haven't noticed.

btw - the heavy lifting is the job of congress. read that little paper - you know the constitution - it's all spelled out for your little brain.

Posted by: TRivers | January 26, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I just tuned in for the comic relief of WaPo's resident right wing troll.
Rubin, you're not fooling anyone with an iq greater than their waist size.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | January 26, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was highly disappointing...C-

for one thing the tone was much to strident of a speech bordering at times on a President G. W. Bush style speech, sadly. He and the writers appeared to have let Gabby Giffords increase in popularity polls go to his head. Should have analyzed the jobs situation point by point the numbers of jobs we need to create. This was not really the time to discuss the Dream Act and bringing millions more into the labor poll, despite what his new business friendly staff is telling him. It was a time discuss the three trillion spent what it accomplished. What is the US doing to be sure that the money is being well spent on the taxpayers, much more factual talk would have been better... perhaps like a Ross Perot style, pull out the numbers and graphs talk about the differences of opinion in job creation precisely this study for labor is saying this this study for business is saying that, then I believe that this is the path.

His health care stance was good pointing to the positive influences already occurring. But should again remind people that a healthy work force is a necessity to compete with more focus etc.

Unfortunately this was not good enough, prediction ... in two years another majorshellacking.

Posted by: concerneddemo | January 26, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Good Lord, Rubin...did you bother to get out of bed to write this predictable right wing drivel? This continues to be a waste of space column and another lost opportunity for the conservative thought.

Posted by: LABC | January 26, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, Obama and his writers spent a lot of time dressing up and camouflaging Obama's leftist ideology while attempting to appeal to the Independents who have deserted him. Only time will tell how this plays out, but the people have shown themselves very capable of seeing through the pretense. I suspect that the bump in the polls Obama has won of late will shrink in the weeks ahead and that we will hear lots more from the grass roots Tea Party people and the Independents among them if this Administration does not back away from its big government, socialist agenda. Surely, the Democratic majority in the Senate is in jeopardy, but the White House hangs in the balance. If future actions and events reinforce last year's narrative of an Administration that is incompetent and not to be trusted, the downward spiral of Obama and all the Democrats will resume.

Posted by: sightseer | January 26, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I never watch the SOTU address because I find the political pep rally atmosphere to be annoying but I always read the transcript. Rubin's comments seemed to echo what I thought as well. As soon as I heard that the buzz word of the night was going to be "investment" my immediate thought was that it was just a euphemism for greater spending. The full transcript seemed to confirm that as well.

The Obama White House is still a liberal one, and the notion that they can just wax that over by changing the message should be quickly targeted by opponents of big government.

Posted by: Fitz157 | January 26, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

(once again, the voters be damned)re: healthcare.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
No for a change the insurance companies can be damned. They can not deny me coverage for a preexisting condition.

Posted by: SanchosR | January 26, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

You people in the right, you should stop talking about spending, because you lost credibility when you supported Bush's spending of 1 trillion dollars to start a WAR based on lie, what did we as American citizens got from it ? nothing, zero, zilch.
So please shut up, shut up, shut up, no more word deficit or spending.

Posted by: tqmek1 | January 26, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

$14T and countign folsk...when will these elected clowns get it....I wonder if they run their household finances the way they run the Gov?

Posted by: mjandrews8 | January 26, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Trains, people. Trains.

Yeah.

Trains.

Posted by: EnvironMental | January 26, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

The right lost their mind, we have President who is championing right wing policies, and he is called Communist and socialist by the right. they spent over trillion dollars borrowed from china on useless WAR against Iraq, then start complaining about spending.

Posted by: tqmek1 | January 26, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, tqmek1. Trains are free-market capitalism at its purest level.

And they're fun to look at. Chug chug chug chug Woo! Woo!

Posted by: EnvironMental | January 26, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It was a great speech! This Jennifer Rubin is nuts. It was a vision for America's future. All people and organizations and countries must make plans these days. As the saying goes, "If you want a future, you must plan for the future." American is made up of people, institutions, business, government, universities... The government indeed has a place, an important place. It must take the lead and chart the course. Everyone must work together to maintain our place in the world and our standard of living, or we will continue to decline. To have a future we must continue to invest in the future, or fall into decline. Great speech! Great vision! Now let's get to work.

Posted by: mdf89 | January 26, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Rubin, what speech were you listening too?

Are you from the tea party marketing arm?

Posted by: adbinMD | January 26, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin: You are a goof ball. Instead of jumping to my feet and cursing at the TV as I would for our past President, I was jumping up and applauding. That's not boring. You claim it was boring because there were too many things that Republicans had to agree on, and when Republicans and Democrats agree your column is washed up. The poor Speaker had no choice to keep applauding. Please quit your silly lie about the Health Care Reform Law, you know the whole "the President isn't listening to the people." Only 18% of the people want it repealed. Are you not listening or do you just enjoy a nice living at the expense of the will of the people?

Posted by: SETinVA | January 26, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"And after all that, his brand of fiscal sobriety offers to cut the "deficit by more than $400 billion." That will leave us trillions in the hole."


Thank you Jennifer but that is not all he said about that topic. Please deal with all of it.

Posted by: BobSanderson | January 26, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

You know, Ms. Rubin, that we could have saved a ton of cash by not illegally invading Iraq and Afghanistan. I blame your lying buddy, GWB, for putting our country in this position. And let's not forget your other Wall Street Bankster buddies that committed financial crimes that should be prosecuted under the RICO Statute. Both Bush and the Banksters should take most of the heat for the deficit. And we could also discuss the Phil Gramm instituted repeal of Glass Steagall, that unfortunately was signed into law by Bill Clinton. Obama is hardly responsible for the mess began by Reagan who substantially increased the deficit but who takes none of the heat.

Posted by: jkarlinsky | January 26, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

You know, Ms. Rubin, that we could have saved a ton of cash by not illegally invading Iraq and Afghanistan. I blame your lying buddy, GWB, for putting our country in this position. And let's not forget your other Wall Street Bankster buddies that committed financial crimes that should be prosecuted under the RICO Statute. Both Bush and the Banksters should take most of the heat for the deficit. And we could also discuss the Phil Gramm instituted repeal of Glass Steagall, that unfortunately was signed into law by Bill Clinton. Obama is hardly responsible for the mess began by Reagan who substantially increased the deficit but who takes none of the heat.

Posted by: jkarlinsky | January 26, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Rubin,
How many hours did you think the nation had to listen to a speech crafted to include the fine details you wanted and to touch on all the domestic and international hot buttons you have? It is not about you girl!

Take a look at the nation's response to the speech this morning and have a hot trenta while you seethe.

Posted by: BobSanderson | January 26, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Egad, what a petty little diatribe.

On Iraq: You don't "win" wars against civilian populations, unless you're prepared to depopulate the country in question. There is no "win" in counter-insurgency, there is only a more or less stable new status quo. It will take years after we're out of Iraq to determine whether or not the outcome deserves to be called a "win," and there will never be a truly definitive victory. Rubin's rhetoric indicates that she thinks about war as if it were a child's game, which is an abandonment of any hope of credibility.

Obama hasn't changed his language on economic investment, either. Rubin plays a child's game of verbal confusion, to cover her otherwise-obvious mendacity, but that should only work on children. There was never a, what are they saying, a $1.2 trillion dollar investment that failed to work. There was a $787 billion stimulus package, of which less than $200 billion was directed to long-term investment; more of the stimulus went into tax cuts than went into any kind of investment, including in the private sector. American corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash, much of it benefits of the tax cuts, and the tax cuts for the rich have thereby been proven to simulate nothing but hoarding behavior.

Just to be very clear: tax cuts do not stimulate the economy, in any way, shape, or form. Though it is possible for tax cuts to enable stimulative spending in the private sector, it's the spending, not the tax cuts, that embody economic activity, and stimulate economic growth.

I'm sick to death of the lies about Social Security going insolvent in forty years. It's simply not possible to make a reliable economic forecast forty years in advance, and the forecast doesn't say Sosial Security's bankrupting us, it says that Medicare and Medicaid threaten to bankrupt us, which supports the priority given to health care reform. You can also forget the whinne that there weren't adequate public hearings on health care reform, because I was out of work for the part of 2009 when they took place, and I watched them. In many cases, Republicans chose not to participate, nor even to attend those hearings, but the hearings did take place, and Republicans had their chance to have their say.

This sort of petulance would get my kid stuck in a corner for an hour or two. The lying might cost him dinner. What do your parents think of this garbage, Jennifer?

Posted by: lonquest | January 26, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

No one who favored extension of tax cuts for the very rich has any credibility on the deficit. Extending those tax cuts mandates hundreds of billions more in spending cuts and, as has been proven by both parties, there just isn't enough that can be cut without completely tanking the economy, destroying the middle class and killing the poor. Giving tax cuts to people who don't need them while demanding cuts in programs which educate our future citizens, keep our elderly and poor fed and sheltered is inhumane. The GOP has "starved the beast" with their tax cuts and no-bid contract wars and now they want the poor to starve as well.

Posted by: fingersfly | January 26, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Ms. Rubin there was something "pathetic" and it was your column. Typical right wing nonsense! I suspect you’re such an ideologue that you’re incapable of understanding how we got into the situation we’re in today. No amount of facts, history, logic or just plain common sense will ever persuade you. It’s really not worth even having a discussion with you. You work in a echo chamber unable to hear or think outside it’s confines. Your column was a great example of what we need to guard ourselves from, insulated circular thinking. Very “pathetic” indeed.

Posted by: ustation | January 26, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Ms. Rubin there was something "pathetic" and it was your column. Typical right wing nonsense! I suspect you’re such an ideologue that you’re incapable of understanding how we got into the situation we’re in today. No amount of facts, history, logic or just plain common sense will ever persuade you. It’s really not worth even having a discussion with you. You work in a echo chamber unable to hear or think outside it’s confines. Your column was a great example of what we need to guard ourselves from, insulated circular thinking. Very “pathetic” indeed.

Posted by: ustation | January 26, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Boxcar Willie sent his followers out in force today. And what an ornery bunch!

Their Lionels must not be coupling correctly... I hated that when I was a kid.

Posted by: EnvironMental | January 26, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin's commentary is what not only is evil about the beltway permanent establishment, but so dangerous -- mortally dangerous, to our nation's well being.

After eight, murderous, blood-soaked years of the Bush "Reign of Terror" and unopposed budgets with huge military budgets included, plus an off-budget war/invasion that was whole-heartedly supported by the same establishment that to this day seeks to keep our nation permanently insecure and blackmailed by Republican civil war mongering, it takes a lot of gall to complain about Pres. Obama's perfect speech.
Ms. Rubin should be ashamed of herself, but that will never be the case living inside the beltway.

Posted by: mizkitteh | January 26, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Another right wing loon joins the Post.

Why can't Hyatt understand that journalism implies editing which requires discretion. Pitting ideologues against one another is not healthy, intelligent discussion or even moderated debate between opponents. It is the media equivalent of a Michael Vick dog fight.

As much as I disliked his views, William Buckley would intelligently and equably summarize his opponent's points without rancor or snarky exaggeration (sarcastic sometimes but never snide) then proceed to skewer them with well reasoned arguments leavened by his sparkling wit. He was fun, fair and logical even when you hated every word he said. His basic principles were clear, well spoken and well reasoned and disagreeing with him highlighted and clarified the understanding of your own principles. And if you were forced to accept even a part of those basic tenets, his reasoning was clear and usually unassailable.

Sadly, this woman bears no relation to Buckley or any other remotely intelligent conservative. This was a campaign speech not an editorial. Was there a fact, or even an opinion, unadorned by sneering contempt or Tea Party distortion anywhere in this screed?

What a continuing disgrace for the Paper that broke Watergate to be subjected to thoughtless pundits like Thiessen, Gerson, Will, Krauttie, etc.

Posted by: joebanks | January 26, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

All seriousness aside, I would have considered the speech a success if it had made John Boehner blubber on screen, again. The president almost succeeded when he singled out the emotional tan man for praise, but Boehner heroically held back the self-celebrating tears.

Posted by: DWSouthern | January 26, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer. Spot on. To all the liberals on line criticizing you as a right wing zealot I have one question? Where are the shovel ready jobs?

Posted by: jkk1943 | January 26, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

When did lies become "opinion" Ruth. You propose a radical agenda.

You HATE getting ahead. You HATE moderate Republicans. Here's proof:

Back in the 70s when Nixon and Ford ran the country I paid seven times minimum wage for a credit hour of college tuition. At the end of the Bush administration, and after 2 decades of tax cuts, tuition at the same institution is 47 times the minimum wage.

Kids are paying for tax cuts. Kids can't get ahead. Our future is paying for tax cuts.

The Bush tax cuts were supposed to provide jobs and profits. Jobs disappeared and my retirement investment dropped to half its value.

I can't afford your tax cuts and your lies about spending.

Posted by: colonelpanic | January 26, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

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