The speech was, as many of his speeches tend to be, a revelation of glowing facts and figures, achievements we may not have known about because this White House communications office is really just that bad. Now, I donít work there: itís possible they are bad by decree, the president tamping down their enthusiasm and not wanting to rub GOP noses in his accomplishments. But the GOP is out in the yard bellowing and barking, while the presidentís accomplishments seem to only be whispered among friends. Why does this president keep his achievements under a lamp shade? Why isnít more energy expended countering the constant death knoll of the GOP? Only the president knows that.

The light over Boehner's head wasn't on,

which seemed to me laughably symbolic. The Republican Speaker of the House sat in virtual shadow while Vice President Joe Biden seemed bathed in a golden glow and the president was lit so brightly he seemed to go up two shades of skin tone. I've not heard any of the pundits comment on the lighting, which was distracting and felt like a political prank on the House Speaker. I can all but guarantee that wasn't the president's idea. Barack Obama does not strike me a s a man prone to grade-school pranks and, quite frankly, the president's speech did not need the theatrics of John Boehner as Mephistopheles (he who avoids the light). Falling short of a barn-burner, the presidentís 2014 State of The Union speech was, nonetheless, Obama Classic. The strained and tenuous New Obama, bounced repeatedly off the ropes since the Sandy Hook tragedy mere days before his 2013 second-term inauguration, was banished in a burst of energetic optimism, a winning tactic this president employs far too little. The loudmouths and obstructionists in Congress, still doggedly determined to deny this president any forward momentum on any issue whatsoeveróincluding their own, which Republicans routinely turn against the moment Obama agrees with themórushed to cameras in not one but four dour GOP State of The Union rebuttals, anxious as always to bring America down with the gray pallor of gloom and doom. It is, as Iíve often repeated here, the basic GOP strategy: America Is Stupid [LINK] and will believe any lie that is repeated often enough. Five years of this hateful, anti-American demeanor also suggests a strong component of their strategy is White America Is Racist [LINK] and racists tend to go to extremes to soothe their conscience, justifying irrational hatred in order to prove they are not racists but are ďloyal Americans.Ē This is why conservative America will eagerly swallow the most ridiculous and provably false nonsense the GOP shouts, ignoring the fact that the GOP blab machine is consistently and steadfastly negative.

Twice A Day

Even a fool knows a stopped clock is right twice a day: that the conservative pundits will not, under any circumstances whatsoever, not even on the most menial and negligible of issues, let Barack Obama off the mat should tell us that they are being disingenuous. Conservatives seem to miss that, eagerly swallowing whatever comes off Fox News sand believing every single solitary decision this president has ever made, up to and including which tie to wear to which occasion, has been not only wrong but un-American. This is the very definition of propaganda: it is irrational and unbalanced to suggest this president has done absolutely no good for anyone. Nobody bats 1,000%. The only reason to believe this to be true is if you have a gaping wound in your conscience; if you look around and realize you have zero black friends and all you know about blacks you learned from watching Good Times. A guilty conscience can keep you up at night, so better to tune into Fox for some rhetorical Tylenol. Youíre a racist. Youíre stupid. The Republicans know that: you are their bread and butter. They just keep shoveling out this nonsense, chum for the sharks, and white conservatives, mostly especially, continue to gobble it up. No matter what. No matter the facts. No matter the evidence that the nation has made undeniable historic progress under President Barack Obama.

None of which seems to bother Obama himself. He all but bounced onto the House floor Tuesday, and laid down a surgical strike against irrationality and stupidity by employing not liberal rhetoric but conservative arguments for a modest agenda and drawing a roadmap toward goals the nation as a whole cannot argue against while traveling pseudo-Republican paths toward them. Still, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner sat in the dark with his constipated, morose face, yet another condescending and insulting strategy that presumes his voter base to be so stupid that he has to sit and make faces throughout the presidentís speech rather than just act, well, normal. Grown-ups donít sit and pout like children; whenever you see somebody doing that, they are insulting the intelligence of the very supporters they are allegedly attempting to satisfy. Obama is speaking, pout, pout, pout. Refuse to applaud even common sense ideas that benefit the American people, refuse to stand and applaud even during those rare moments where you must applaud. Why? Because your supporters are idiots. You treat them like idiots, like children, like the irrational and histrionic low-information bigots you know, for a fact, they are. Pout, pout, pout. National deficit cut in half. Pout, pout, pout. Troops coming home, pout, pout, pout. Unemployment numbers going down, pout. Gross Domestic Product going up, pout. Wall Street in overdrive, pout. If I were actually Boehnerís audience, Iíd be insulted: John, just act normal. Every day of our lives we sit next to someone we do not entirely agree with. The vast majority of mature adults donít sit and make faces, but are cordial and polite and just change the subject. We donít make the potty-face.

Click To Play Video

Making The Potty Face: The Republican response: absurd accusations, lies, pouting.

White House Non-Communication

The president, on the other hand, seemed to care less. The speech was, as many of his speeches tend to be, a revelation of glowing facts and figures, achievements we may not have known about because this White House communications office is really just that bad. Now, I donít work there: itís possible they are bad by decree, the president tamping down their enthusiasm and not wanting to rub GOP noses in his accomplishments. But the GOP is out in the yard bellowing and barking, while the presidentís accomplishments seem to only be whispered among friends or touted on MSNBC, which, like Fox News, preaches largely to the choir. Why does this president keep his achievements under a lamp shade? Why isnít more energy expended countering the constant death knoll of the GOP? Only the president knows that.

This was his best speech in a long time. It was so strong, in fact, that the meandering and weightless GOP ďrebuttals,Ē were all as transparently self-serving as they were lightweight. The nation is moving back toward where we were before the disastrous Bush years. Itís still a mess, but not nearly as bad a mess as this president inherited. Obama has been on clean-up detail, KP duty, for five years, now, and all conservatives can manage to do is spit at him. Not one, single, solitary kudo (beyond a grudging and half-hearted congratulations on the death of Osama bin Laden). Preaching hate to a world of idiots: nobody is wrong all the time, and thingsówhile not greatóare much better than the Republicans want you to believe.

Donít skip the speech; itís one of his best.

Christopher J. Priest
31 January 2014
editor@praisenet.org
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