'Twas quite the rousing speech, wasn't it? It's pretty clear after that performance that Obama is back in full-on campaign mode. Hell, I was half expecting him to bring back “Win the Future” for this one. I agreed with some aspects of his speech, disagreed with others, and was just annoyed with some others.
First, my likes:
- He called for revenue increases. After completely failing in this regard in the debt ceiling debate, Obama dared to use the “R” word. Though, thanks to our good friend Grover Norquist, getting new taxes passed will prove to be just as challenging as it has been in the past.
- Reviving infrastructure was a main feature of the speech. We all knew it was coming thanks to early reports that Obama would call for $300 billion in new stimulus spending, but Obama was much more blunt than I thought he would be. Albeit, he didn’t ever put an actual dollar amount on the spending in the speech, but making it a priority was good enough for me.
- Closing corporate tax loopholes. This one has been out there for a while now, and I’m not sure why legislation hasn’t been passed on this yet. Oh yeah, that’s why.
- Not budging on collective bargaining. Obama explicitly said the collective bargaining rights of workers would not be compromised in the name of “being globally competitive”. While he didn’t put on his comfortable shoes, it’s nice to see him bringing this up even though it’s been out of the spotlight for a few months.
That’s all I can think of for now, I’m sure there’s more though.
So, on to the dislikes:
- Calling for more spending cuts. We already have over a trillion dollars worth of these lined up, and he calls for more. I get it, you want to please the republicans, but this is a little too far.
- New free trade agreements. I’m speaking of the ones with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Obama has been calling for their approval for a while now, and tonight said that they would help American businesses. However, labor has come out against them, saying it would make it easier for companies to outsource jobs, thus undercutting wages that could be paid to American workers. I’m more on the fence about this one, but I’m leaving it in the dislikes for now.
- "Common Sense Regulations". While I’m all in favor of common sense, that phrase gets thrown around too much in politics these days. Just what is common sense? Is denying new EPA regulations that could save up to 12,000 lives and $100 billion a year “common sense”? I don’t think so.
Once again, there’s probably more, but I honestly can’t remember anything else right now.
Now… about those things that annoyed me. As I mentioned earlier, Obama was campaigning tonight. I don’t like that. Obviously, he has to campaign if he wants to be re-elected, but there was too much empty rhetoric in tonight’s speech. I mean, Abraham Lincoln…. really? Maybe I’m just being picky here, but I’d take substance over empty fluff any day.