10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

Summary: This was not Barack Obama's best speech and I couldn't help, by the end, being left with the feeling that our President and our nation could have done better -- much better.

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Image courtesy CBSNews.com

Last night, President Obama gave his Constitutionally-mandated yearly State of the Union address to Congress and the American people.

Most people think that a speech is required before Congress, but Article II, Section 3 merely requires the President "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union". Up until President Wilson's time at the turn of the last century, the State of the Union was presented as a written report. Since then, and especially since the advent of television, the State of the Union has been a way for the President to trot out his policy directions for the year and present them, not only to Congress, but to the American people and the world.

This year was no different. President Obama's speech was filled with hope, opportunity, self-congratulation, outrages, and more than a little hyperbole.

What follows are ten things technical professionals need to know about the President's speech, and how his policies might affect you, your employer, and your family well into the future.

1. Overall theme: win the future

President Obama's overall theme was "Win the future." He used the phrase six times during his speech. Essentially, the idea is that we need to focus our attention on innovation and education, because that's how America will stay competitive into the future.

He generated a strong spark of applause with the line: "We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world."

My take: It's a key need, but the challenge is doing it in our society. To actually make this happen, the health care hostage crisis needs to be resolved. Our health care costs still make our products more expensive to produce than those of any other nation.

2. Innovation + Education = Jobs

President Obama gave good speech, and he focused specifically on fostering American innovation and education. He talked about better education programs and certain tax breaks for innovators.

One interesting line was, "We're the nation of Edison and the Wright Brothers, of Google and Facebook." Quite notably, he didn't mention either Apple or Microsoft. This may tie in with another line of his speech, "In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives, it's how we make our living."

My take: If you think about it, this is the biggest outrage of the speech, because America used to make our living by manufacturing. I liked how this sounds, but on further consideration, it feels like we're conceding manufacturing prowess to other nations. Since manufacturing fuels jobs, that's a serious problem.

He may not have mentioned Apple or Microsoft because both offshore manufacturing and Google and Facebook make their living solely by "innovation" (actually, advertising), but neither does manufacturing of any kind.

3. Clean energy

Another key line line in the speech was, "This is our generation's Sputnik moment." What the President was referring to was how the Soviets got into space first. Once Sputnik was launched, the U.S. decided we couldn't give the lead in space to the Soviets, so we invested hard into space innovation and won the moon race.

The connection in President Obama's message is his premise that "clean energy" is the Apollo project of our time and the budget Obama is submitting to Congress will allocate funding for clean energy research.

My take: If the budget passes, brush off those resumes and learn more about energy. This is a SmartPlanet moment, so go visit our sister site and do some reading up! Sadly, there was no Kennedy moment, nothing of the stirring, call-to-action power of "Before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth."

Next: Big oil, health care, and immigration »

« Previous: Win the Future

4. Taking on oil companies and the lobbying bloodbath to come

President Obama wants to pay for clean energy innovation by "eliminating the billions of taxpayer dollars we give to oil companies." He said, "I don't know if you noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own."

My take: Clean energy is a necessary policy, but get ready for a bloodbath. Oil companies love them their subsidies and they will use those billions of dollars we give them against us to throw up a FUD and flak storm like you've never seen. If you thought health care was ugly, wait for this one!

You gotta hand it to Mr. Obama. He doesn't pick low-rent companies to turn into enemies. First, he tangled with the health care industry and now he's going after big oil. The downside: the health care industry effectively won, to the detriment of Americans. What are we going to give away to big oil in return for taking away their subsidies? It actually makes me shudder.

5. Reforming health care reform

I've written extensively about the ills of America's health care system. After years of hard research, it's become clear to me that America's health care system needs substantive reform, I've been of the opinion that the bill passed last year by Congress wasn't going to meet our needs.

President Obama appeared to reflect that sentiment with, "Instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and let's move forward."

My take: Essentially, the President opened the door to GOP hacking the new health care law, but stated that the pre-existing condition garbage the health insurance industry has thrown at us over the years is off the table.

It wasn't a bad opening gambit to what promises to be a messy legislative and PR problem going into his reelection campaign. A good, constructive approach. Acknowledging current law needs fixing is also constructive. Tweaking and rejiggering legislation has happened with most of the major landmark legislation we've counted on over the years and, surprisingly, the stepwise refinement has often made the programs work better for Americans.

6. Immigration battle lines

President Obama seemed to be drawing the lines in the illegal immigration fight. He says he wants to work with Congress to deal with the illegal immigration issue once and for all, to secure our borders and handle the problem. But he says he wants to "stop expelling talented young people" who come from other countries (legally or not), got degrees here, and then take them back home.

My take: It's a point, but then those people compete against Americans right here for our jobs. Not sure I agree with this. We still have a long way to go with immigration issues, and one of the biggest is The failure of the H-1B visa program.

7. Dealing with the insane deficit

President Obama discussed the deficit in reasonably stark terms. The money line was, "We have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable." President Obama's solution had a number of moving parts, including freezing government expansion and spending. He wants to review programs, cut "unnecessary" ones, combine agencies that duplicate each other, and generally clean house.

The deficit problem was also mentioned intelligently by the GOP's official response, delivered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin). He said, "A few years ago, reducing spending was important. Today, it's imperative. Here's why: we face a crushing burden of debt." He continued, "Endless borrowing is not a strategy. Spending cuts have to come first."

My take: Both parties recognize that the United States' current fiscal position is unsustainable. That's a good sign. Unfortunately, what we spend on is -- perhaps -- the key point of contention between both parties across the board.

I'm concerned we're going to see seesaw legislation, cuts here, boondoggles there, as Congress changes hands every few years. America needs to develop a long-term, intelligent policy on some of our most challenging issues, and then apply budget strategy to those issues. Instead, our politicians are generally up to their necks in pandering to their favorite interest groups.

Next: Outrages »

« Previous: Big oil, health care, and immigration

8. A few outrages

Whenever a politician speaks, there are always a few outrages -- and President Obama's State of the Union address was no different. I found four that disturbed me greatly.

The first outrage was what I mentioned in Item 2 above, that President Obama seems to have ceded the ownership of manufacturing superiority to other nations in trade for, you know, Web 2.0 innovation. There was only one mention of manufacturing and it didn't come from President Obama. It didn't even come from the GOP response.

Instead, it came from the most unlikely source: the normally loony Michele Bachmann, who delivered an unprecedented Tea Party response to the President's address.

Her line: "We need to start making things again in this country."

When I start agreeing with Representative Bachmann, you know we're in Bizarro World.

The next outrage was a statement -- a joke really -- by President Obama. It was a throw-away line and it should have been thrown away. He was talking about his goal of high-speed rail systems, saying he'd like 80% of Americans to have access to high speed rail. Here's the line that infuriated me. Let me know if it angers you as much:

This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying — without the pat-down.

"Without the pat-down" was a deeply inappropriate statement on the part of the President.

First, if Americans are traveling in volume via high-speed rail, then those systems will need as much security as air travel. But worse, the whole TSA groping intrusion was the result of Mr. Obama's own administration's policy, so to make this essentially a joke, with a chuckle after the "without a pat down" crack seems to imply he thinks it's worthy of humor.

Given that there was no other mention of the TSA or the indignities traveling Americans have been forced to tolerate by his administration, the statement was ill-advised and an undeniable outrage.

Here's another outrage. While Mr. Obama mentioned his goal of having "high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans" within five years, there was no mention of net neutrality or fairness in distributing Internet coverage. This is one of the FCC's single biggest challenges, and there was not a single mention of this issue amidst all the discussion of "innovation". Outrageous.

The final outrage came from Mr. Obama about energy policy. I've seen our recent politicians pull this crap and it's unacceptable. Here's the line: "By 2035, 80% of America's energy will come from clean energy sources."

That's 25 years from now. Setting a goal that far away is like peeing into the wind. Clean energy is a very good goal, but 25 years from now means it's our kids' problem and makes for a good speech point, but nothing more. If he'd said 2015 or even 2020, that'd be something we'd see as part of our real, near-term reality. But 2035? That's just words. We don't need words. Heck, we got to the moon in less time.

Sorry, Mr. President. We need change we can believe in. That's not change we can believe in.

9. A small, fleeting sign of a new maturity and sanity in Congress

I don't know if you've been following the whole Congressional seating fiasco leading up to the State of the Union. In light of the shootings earlier in the month and a desire to show some degree of bi-partisanship, many of our Congress-critters agreed to sit with members of the opposing party during the speech.

Normally, when the President gives a State of the Union speech, the Dems sit on one side of the aisle and the GOP sits on the other. This time, most of our elected officials mixed it up, and sat with members of the opposing party. Of course, some "winners" couldn't bring themselves to be near their loyal opposition and had to hide in their own corner. Hey, it's not like we expect our leaders to be mature, is it?

Then there were the opposition responses. First, it was quite a change to see the Tea Party get any play at all, and Michele Bachmann was clear that she didn't expect to supplant the GOP's official response.

That said, both Bachmann's and Ryan's response were actually reasonably tasteful, if a bit too long. While I'm certainly no fan of the Democrats, I've long come to think of most new GOPers as slightly nutty. It was refreshing to see this group actually behave moderately well. There weren't even any outbursts or interruptions of the President's speech.

It's only one night, but when it comes to our elected officials, I'll take any sanity and maturity I can find, even if the seating exercise is the sort of challenge normally presented to kindergarten students.

10. What's with Boehner's tie?

This was an interesting political moment for John Boehner. On one hand, he's been instrumental in some of the most partisan politics in years and you might think introducing Barack Obama would be something he might resent.

On the other hand, the fact that he's the person doing the introduction, stating he has the "high honor of introducing the President of the United States" means Boehner's achieved a career goal many have and very few achieve.

Whether he can keep that new position after wearing a very, very pink tie is anyone's guess. Okay, it's time for me to be slightly petty. Our nation's colors are red, white, and blue. So what's with Boehner's tie?

Looking forward to the rest of 2011

We have big issues and problems to solve here in America. I like some of what I heard the President say and was outraged by other things he said. Still other elements of his speech seemed like simple time-fillers.

This was not Barack Obama's best speech and I couldn't help, by the end, being left with the feeling that our President and our nation could have done better -- much better.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Emerging Tech, Health, Legal

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • We don't need another "inspirational" speech

    We needed one that gets both sides to work together and get work done. That's what he aimed for, and while I wouldn't call it perfect, I think it achieved the goal. I like how he said he was willing to cut spending on his pet projects to keep spending down, but let's hope he means it and the Democrats in Congress get that message.

    Personally I think it's simple. If we aren't spending money on education, public infrastructure, cutting edge scientific research (that private companies cannot take on, with the express intent of turning that into future privatized jobs), or national defense/diplomacy, we shouldn't be spending.
    Michael Kelly
    • No. We need to defeat the ideology responsible for the

      mess we are currently in, not work together with it.
      frgough
      • What ideology would that be

        as opposed to what Michael Kelly is proposing?
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • Easy rule

        @frgough <br>If a proposal is better than the status quo, then support it. If it's not, then oppose it. You might still want to fight false ideologies (hopefully, you have a true one to replace them), but on the whole, it's easier and more effective to support good policies, regardless of the source, and to oppose bad ones, regardless of the source, than it is to fight an ideological war.<br><br>I think that over the past 50 years or so, we've accumulated lots of evidence that suggests that a policy of "permanent revolution" doesn't work any better for Conservatives than it did for Leon Trotsky.
        John L. Ries
      • RE: 10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

        @frgough - I agree, we need to get government out of the "ideas" business, and back to focusing on defense of the citizenry and interacting with other countries in a manner that shows national pride. We have nothing left to apologize for.

        There was recently a document released by members of the GOP that outlines $1.2 Trillion in government cuts over the next 10 years. It is extremely specific, as to what would be cut and how much it would save. I didn't see anything on the list I could disagree with. They need to chop down government like the rotten tree it is.
        Speednet
      • RE: 10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

        @frgough "We need to defeat the ideology responsible for the
        mess we are currently in, not work together with it."

        So you agree with me that we need to stop making reckless unfunded tax cuts that are bankrupting this nation, which stem from the cult-like ideological worship of the "Laffer Curve". Just like the post WWII era, we're currently sitting on a mountain of debt, and we should reimpose the tax rates we had during the Eisenhower administration until we've paid down the national debt.
        0xBADF00D
      • RE: 10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

        @frgough

        "No. We need to defeat the ideology responsible for the mess we are currently in, not work together with it. "

        And both sides will say the other side is the ideology responsible for the mess.

        All that gets us is a stalemate. It brings no progress at all.

        What you are asking for is a guaranteed continuation of the stalemate.
        CobraA1
      • RE: 10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

        @Speednet

        I guess you didn't see Cavuto shoot down the 1.2 trillion number on Fox? They want to sell Fannie and Freddie who are the only banks backing mortgages right now. That would be economic disaster. That "study group" doesn't understand the consequences of what they propose.
        RRJP
      • RE: 10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

        @frgough Agreed. That would mean defeating Progressivism in all its ugly forms that treats businesses as vassals to be raped with high tax rates and micromanaged with idiotic regulations that are counterproductive.
        equsnarnd
      • RE: 10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

        @0xBADF00D

        The Laffer Curve so called is simply a graph of an obvious truth. It purports to show total government revenue as a function of total tax rates. At the top and bottom of the (usually D shaped) curve, are 0 and 100%. Along the bottom, is a generalized income scale. Government income is 0 at a 0% tax rate. That should be obvious. What is not obvious to some, but is to anyone who thinks about it, the Government income is also 0 at 100%. This means that if the government spends all of the value that the country can produce, there is nothing left, and therefor no production.

        There is no serious disagreement with these two points. For the rest of the curve, Government income grows as you get closer to some median tax rate, finally reaching a maximum, after which it decreases. This should be also obvious.

        What is not obvious, and which is frequently ignored both by proponents and belittlers (of which you appear to be one based on your statement above) is that we don't know where on the curve the point of maximum government funding is reached, or what level of total taxation gives that value. Experimentally, looking at government over the last 100 years, it seems to be around 50%.

        That 50% figure should not be interpreted as referring to Federal Income Tax Rates. It refers to total taxes on total income from all sources. It includes local and State taxes as well as Federal taxes, and all other tax sources, including FICA. Taking out the others, that means that Government income can be expected to peak at a maximum tax rate of around 30%, with a state and local tax rate of around 9%. Anything higher will tend to reduce the economy. Anything lower will tend to reduce the Government.

        I should note here that duties and other Government taxes and fees amount to around 10% of the total economy and are not paid by individuals directly. Prior to 1900, these other taxes totally supported the Federal Government, except for a brief period during the Civil War.

        Professor Laffer's curve is not wrong, it is just not understood. It is also not a Nobel Prize winning chart, just a way to show some common sense principles.

        If you were to try to put real scales on the chart, then you would need some serious research and mathematics to back it up. I am not aware of any generally accepted work that would give a precise shape to the curve, or give a real maximum income point. Hence, the limited accuracy of the curve.
        YetAnotherBob
    • Both sides?

      @Michael Kelly : at any rate the U.S. is currently in multi polar environment. It used to be that liberals who lived on any of the coast were prominently Dems and the great vast space that lied in between (once sarcastically called by Bart Simpson "America") were primarily GOP. [Albeit most mayor cities were also Dems as were minority based]

      Today we see radical groups coming from all sorts of places. The Tea Party is one of them, but Minutemen and Nativists might be others. Most are far right (as witnessed by the Arizona shootings) but we cannot count out far left.

      So the problem's not as simple as it sounds.
      cosuna
      • Very wrong there...

        You need some major lessons in civics.<br><br>The "Tea Party" is the people, and the people rose up and took matters into their own hands when they removed the democrats from control of the house of representatives. <br><br>If you think that the Tea Party is radical, then you're accusing the people of the U.S. of being radical. But, perhaps to you, the people being in control is a radical idea.<br><br>Why don't you take some time to find out what is really driving the Tea Party and who are the "members" of that Tea Party. You might find out that, the majority of Americans support what the tea party stands for.
        adornoe
      • Bullsh!t

        The teabaggers are old white farts (like patronizing adornoe@... a$$hole) fronting for neocon multinational corporations and a return to the 1950s.

        They don't represent all of "the people". Otherwise they'd have 100% in the approval ratings.
        search &amp; destroy
      • adornoe. Most party representatives don't feel the need to tell the world.

        They are not a witch. LOL.
        come on dude...the "people". No, some small amount of the people. And "some" of the people vote the exact opposite you do....does that make them wrong? How can the "people" be wrong?
        xuniL_z
      • Tea Party

        @adornoe

        The majority of the people in the US are not in the Tea Party last time I checked.

        The reality of the Tea Party is that the people at the top providing the ideas and fueling the fear and anger (eg. Dick Armey, Glenn Beck, David and Charles Koch, etc.) are purposely manipulating people into supporting ideas which are based on lies (though they sound reasonable to the layman) and not in the self interest of the vast majority of the American people. What is, "really driving the Tea Party", are super rich folks who want to push the middle class into poverty and turn the US into a third world country where they will be the oligarchy. The street level Tea Party member does not understand that they are being duped. Sad but true.
        RRJP
      • RE: 10 things (and 4 outrages) techies need to know about President Obama's State of the Union Address

        @cosuna Please explain the far right connection with an individual who murders without discrimination. Is the defense of this murderer going to be is a member of some political movement? Perhaps if as a nation we assumed responsibility for our actions, this gentleman would have known he was wrong. We have become accustomed to finding the fall guy for someone elses actions. Doesn't wash.
        atthedells@...
      • xunil: Wake up, dude! (Or is it &quot;dudette&quot;?)

        <i>come on dude...the "people".</i>

        Yes, the people!

        Didn't you notice the shellacking that "the people" handed to the democrats by removing them and providing the republicans with a huge majority?

        The fact is that, even if people are not polled as to whether they support the "tea party", the majority of those people did vote as the "tea party" in the elections. Without the "tea party", the democrats would still control the house of representatives and they would've held on to the seats they lost in the senate.

        <i>No, some small amount of the people.</i>

        If you would take your head out of the sand, you'd realize that, what the tea party stands for is what most Americans believe in, thus, the tea party represents America.

        <i>And "some" of the people vote the exact opposite you do....</i>

        People tend to vote ideologically and oftentimes, along party lines.

        But, the "tea party" transcended traditional party lines and this time around, it was the people, with the "tea party" ideas leading the way.

        <i>does that make them wrong?</i>

        That's actually a dumb question.

        Yes, people do and have often voted wrong. Did you actually need for someone to tell you what should be obvious? Didn't Obama get voted in with a healthy majority, and didn't many of those people then regret their votes later? The fact is that, not even a year into his presidency, the majority of the people were against most of what Obama and the democrats were trying to pass into law, like Obamacare.

        <i>How can the "people" be wrong?</i>

        Again, a very dumb question.

        The people, even when they vote as a majority, can be very wrong. That's why Obama has much less than 50% support for his agenda, and the majority of the people indicate that they wouldn't vote for him again.

        But, like I said, though the "tea party" is not an official organized party, the ideas espoused by it are what the majority of the people are in support of, and that's why, those congresspeople who supported what the tea party stands for, are now on control of congress.

        Should I have to explain it further for you?
        adornoe
      • RRJP: Try to use your head a little bit...

        <i>The majority of the people in the US are not in the Tea Party last time I checked.</i><br><br>That's because, you're doing the wrong kind of checking. <br><br>The "tea party" is not an official organized political organization. It is mostly a "state of mind" in the electorate, also known as the citizens.<br><br>The "tea party" is the unorganized decision by the people to take back the country from those that were destroying it. The "members" transcended party lines, and, they composed the majority of those that removed the democrats from control of the house and passed it on to the republicans.<br><br><i>The reality</i><br><br>That reality you speak of is the official talking points which the democrats used so often to try to demonize the opposition, and the tea party was the latest "evil" which the democrats saw as a threat to their power. You bought hook-line-and-sinker into the democrats' official attacks on the people.<br><br><i> of the Tea Party is that the people at the top providing the ideas and fueling the fear and anger (eg. Dick Armey, Glenn Beck, David and Charles Koch, etc.)</i><br><br>Yeah, more of that democratic talking points. You sound exactly like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelousy, and Obama. <br><br>Look, I don't belong to the tea party, although I'm a "tea party" advocate. Those "leaders" you speak of are and were supporters of the tea party movement, and, the tea party movement consisted of the people who got sick and tired of the government not doing the will of the people, like passing a healthcare bill which the great majority of people were and are against. <br><br>Polls still indicate that the people, including the large number who identify themselves as "tea partiers", are still against Obamacare and against the huge and out-of-control spending that has the country, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt.<br><br><i>are purposely manipulating people into supporting ideas which are based on lies (though they sound reasonable to the layman)</i><br><br>So, exactly what was it that the tea party supporters advocated, that was wrong or biased? <br><br>You are the one with the wrongheaded ideas and with the lies. What part of logic is it that you can't understand?<br><br>Was it that the tea party people were wrong to try to control spending and even pull it back? Was it that Obamacare is wrongheaded and hands over to government control 1/6th of the economy to government control? Was it that we need to bring the illegal alien problem under control? Was it that the government spending has us basically in ruins?<br><br>Look, the tea party is not a political party; it's a grass-roots movement which transcends traditional party lines, and there are people who support the agenda of the "tea party" because it was the only one with the message that the other two parties were refusing to hear or understand. That refusal is similar to what you're doing with your anti tea party rhetoric and attacks. If you weer to wake up and examine the issues closely, you might find yourself becoming a "tea party member" yourself.

        <i> and not in the self interest of the vast majority of the American people.</i>

        The tea party is in fact very representative of the vast majority of the American people. It was the tea party that organized the biggest grass-roots message that replace the democrats in congress. And, it didn't matter what political "celebrities" supported the movement. In fact, the movement started way before Beck or Palin or Armey or any other big name was involved. Check your history and your facts.
        adornoe
      • RRJP: Try to use your head a little bit... (continued)

        <i> What is, "really driving the Tea Party", are super rich folks</i><br><br>I'm one of the middle-class and I know a lot of other middle-class who support what the "tea party" movement is about. And, I also know a lot of poor people who support the movement. I would believe those people to be much better informed than you. <br><br>What you're doing is throwing allegations about the "rich" who support the tea party. So, exactly how many of those rich people can you name, except for the names you already mentioned who are political activists? If you bothered to do your own research, you'd discover that the vast majority of the people supporting the tea party movement are not rich or well-off, and you might discover that most of them are middle-class and poor. You might discover that there are just a relative few who are well-off and rich. <br><br>BTW, did you now that the democratic party has more millionaires, aka: rich and super-rich, in its ranks than the republicans or the "tea party movement"? So, exactly who is it then that is trying to keep the good folks down? You, like most liberals, have things completely upside down, or you're just completely clueless about the real world out there. <br><br><i>who want to push the middle class into poverty</i><br><br>Garbage!<br><br>The real fact is that, more poverty is created when the democrats are in control than when republicans are in office. The democrats can talk a good game about being for the poor and the downtrodden, but they are also the party that needs for the poor and downtrodden to remain poor and out of luck in order for the party to remain or attain power. Poverty is an official agenda for the democrats. Without the poor and the unfortunates in life, the democratic party would cease to exist, and that's why they're known as the poverty pimps.<br><br><i>and turn the US into a third world country where they will be the oligarchy.</i><br><br>You're so full of it!<br><br>Look, I used to be a democrat, and one of the most rabid liberals anyone could meet. I use to feel the same way as you did, but, upon close examination of the issues and where the parties stood on the issues, and after close examination of the results from the different party agendas. I came to the conclusion that I could no longer support the liberalism which I was so in love with for so long. You, apparently, have a long way to go in your knowledge and in your understanding. <br> <br><i>The street level Tea Party member does not understand that they are being duped. Sad but true. </i><br><br>That is exactly what the tea party members say about the typical dumb and ignorant democratic party member.<br><br>The fact is that, the tea party was willing to un-elect a democrat as well as a republican from office. That's one of the reasons that John McCain didn't become president. The republicans didn't want to vote for Obama, but a huge number of them could not and would not vote for McCain either; and thus, with many republicans staying home, Obama won. Now, the electorate is basically composed of the same people who voted for Obama in 2008, and that electorate reversed course in 2010. So, when was the electorate correct in its decision: 2008 or 2010? Remember that, in order to remove so many democrats from office, many of them had to have voted for Obama in 2008. So, a great many of those voters came from the 2008 election when Obama won, but a great deal of them voted republican in 2010. So, when where those same people ignorant? 2008 or 2010. So, logically speaking, you have to be wrong in your points about the "tea party", because the "tea party" is the American people. <br><br>And, guess what? That same tea party is going to get more powerful as time passes, even if it's not an official political organization. <br><br>Meanwhile, wake up and get you head out of the sand. Being in denial is not a winning strategy.
        adornoe
      • The Tea Party is hardly a good measure of anything.

        @adornoe
        Again, amazes me how people who want a quick fix answer to the problems that beset politics love to find their quick fix by finding someone to blame for the woes of the world. This in a simplified nutshell is what the tea party is all about, finding and assessing blame on others who do not fit the tea party model of what an American in their eyes should be.

        And like it or not, by far in a way, the vast majority of Americans are not like those found on the roles of the tea party and do not follow most, and in some cases, any of their hardest held political and social ideas.

        The tea party is simply a group that represents some of the worst that can happen in partisan politics. Its not like it hasn't happened before in many places around the world. The plan of attack is an old one. The steps have been taken before:

        1. Identify political and social problems that people in positions of strength really hate.

        2. Concoct theoretical solutions to those problems that have the identification of certain kinds of people who are creating the problem, that way there is always a target to keep party members focused on.

        3. Verbalize the solutions in such a way to make it sound like the solutions to these political/social problems will have positive and noticeable benefits even for those who are not in positions of strength so long as they can find a way to identify themselves with the group. Its the wishful thinking element of coercive politics.

        4. Once you have the backing of a sufficient number of the "great unwashed" who dream they are part of the lofty group of those with strong positions in society, use their naivety to back the plans of the strong to make it appear to be a populist movement. Those who love to dream of being part of the lofty will jump on board usually without a second thought once the "its us against them" mentality has been drilled into their head.

        4. Keep your eye on the target. And the target is always going to be the groups who clearly cannot be part of the "lofty strong" either because they have publicly stated opposed political and social views or because their position in society clearly makes it impossible for them to be in any way connected to the kinds of thinking the lofty strong advocate, or its clear there would only be a harsh outcome for them if the policies of the lofty and strong come to be. If you take your eye off the target peoples interest will wane quickly if the group thats supposed to be causing all the problems is not clearly identifiable, it leads to confusion and the possibility that the great unwashed will start to realize that most of them are going to get kicked in the privates just as hard as anyone who is not genuinely part of the lofty and strong if their policies come to be.

        Its a grand old political tactic that has been used over and over again around the world throughout history, sometimes to absolutely amazing and disastrous effect.

        And it works because there are always just enough vain nobody's who want so badly to have someone to blame for the worlds woes that is clearly not like themselves. Even when reality dictates that more then one kind of person creates the political and social problems of a country.
        Cayble