Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SOTU Address: Fact or Fiction?



As a writer, words mean something to me. They have a purpose, a target, a specific reason for being spoken. Spoken words always say something, either the truth or a lie. It has to be one or the other.

With Obama, I really lost interest in his speeches during the campaign trail. He used words like special effects - heighten emotion here, create sense of well-being there, paint the sky red and roll back the sea, all while the sky remains blue and the sea remains constant.

He wasn't speaking truth. He was the Wizard behind the curtain, except in his case it was a podium, pulling levers and creating awe and distraction. Don't focus on his voting record, focus on his words. Don't focus on his experience, focus on his words. Don't focus on what he's really saying, focus on how his words make you feel.

Many called that being a great orator. I called it sporadic tinnitus. All I could hear was this flat ringing in my ears.

So listening to his State of the Union Address wasn't on my agenda last night. I have a life to live and not enough time in it to waste on white noise.

The day after with the polls and the fact-checks, however, is always interesting. If you want truth, the AP actually took a stab at it by listing the creative math and memory behind Obama's speech last night. Here's an example:

OBAMA: Vowed to veto any bills sent to him that include "earmarks," pet spending provisions pushed by individual lawmakers. "Both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it."

THE FACTS: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has promised that no bill with earmarks will be sent to Obama in the first place. Republicans have taken the lead in battling earmarks while Obama signed plenty of earmark-laden spending bills when Democrats controlled both houses. As recently as last month, Obama was prepared to sign a catchall spending measure stuffed with earmarks, before it collapsed in the Senate after an outcry from conservatives over the bill's $8 billion-plus in home-state pet projects.

It's a turnabout for the president; in early 2009, Obama sounded like an apologist for the practice: "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination," he said then.

And if you want fun, brief highlights of the "most" moments - including most honest and most tired - check out Kevin McCollough's article at FoxNews.

His most ridiculous: "This is our generation’s Sputnik moment."

This analogy was bad from the start. "Sputnik" was the failed first effort of the Soviets. Americans should not, and will not want a 'Sputnik moment'."

I'm not sure whose living in a dream world - Obama or his speech writers or both since he hired them and approves of what they say. Either way, I had an excellent evening last night, good company, great conversation, creamy mashed potatoes and flawless digestion.

Verbal gobbledygook wasn't on the menu.

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