January 28, 2014

Obama sells out #equality (updated)

If you're expecting some earthshaking ideas from President Obama in tonight's State of the Union address, fuhgeddaboutit.

Specifically, on income inequality.

How many of you bit, and bit hard, when Dear Leader had his famous "I have an equality" speech a few weeks ago, which seems like 7 dog years in Obama-time? C'mon, be honest. Yes, you, Charles Pierce, the Boston Strangler? Yes, raise your hand.

Surely, this time, he really, actually meant it. 

Yeah, and he's actually going to disapprove KeystoneXL, too. (Stay tuned for a reality check, probably about two weeks after midterm elections. Long enough to not appear gauche, but early enough to give TransCanada a Christmas present.)

And, equality? Equality, you said?

The head-faking is now official:
Income inequality is out, "ladders of opportunity" is in.

Eager to dispel claims that President Barack Obama is engaging in "class warfare" as he heads into his State of the Union address next week, the White House is de-emphasizing phrases focusing on economic disparity and turning instead to messages about creating paths of opportunity for the poor and middle class.

The adjustment reflects an awareness that Obama's earlier language put him at risk of being perceived as divisive and exposed him to criticism that his rhetoric was exploiting the gap between haves and have-nots.
Yep, because doorknob forbid that on anything other than illegitimate snooping on Americans, or killing innocents abroad with drones, Obama actually take a firm stance on anything.

"Ladders of opportunity"? That sounds like some crap that Newt Gingrich would utter.

And, the current GOP? It's going to now talk about trickle-down ladders of opportunity.

Dear Leader will talk about enterprise zones, or enterprise zones on a hill, or other nonsense during his State of the Union address, which will almost be guaranteed to be vapid blather now.

And, the troops are rallying to hoist the standard of vapidness:
"Anytime a Democrat mentions inequality, suddenly they're a raging populist," said Jon Favreau, Obama's top speech writer until he left the White House a year ago. "What's he's talking about he's been talking about since 2004, 2005."

"Any capitalist country has inequality and that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing," Favreau said. "What most concerned him is mobility."
Yeah? Really? Given how the 1 percent has gotten almost all the profit after the theoretical end of The Great Recession? After economic mobility is less than in Old Europe?

Tell it to the Marines.

What else do you expect from a man who practically gushed over Ronald Reagan at the start of his presidency?

==

Otherwise, expect the speech to be generally bland, boring, incrementalist and neoliberal. His promise zones? Just an updated version of the old "enterprise zones" that have been around since the 1970s and done little. Expect nothing major on the secret snooping front. Some spin on Obamacare's alleged successes, a Kumbaya call for immigration reform that probably won't actually be in immigrants' best interests, and that's about it.

As far as the traditional First Lady's guests, yeah, Jason Collins will be nice, but who will recognize him without a presidential shout-out, or one from the media?

You want a special guest? Why not Leonard Peltier?

On the other hand, raising the minimum wage for federal contractors by executive order sounds nice. But, can't a future president reverse that? And, would that be a symbolic motion to undercut actual minimum wage heavy lifting with Congress? (Beyond that, and shock me, it doesn't apply to current federal contracts, only ones newly inked after this point.)

And, enterprise zones might be nice. But, on Appalachia and the president's "promise zones," besides being a doorknob-ugly euphemism? Er, the poverty rate in my corner of Texas is higher than that. I live in the general vicinity of the first place in the nation that WallyWorld closed a store after opening it, because it was losing money.

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