Live Blogging the 2010 State of the Union Address

It’s hard to believe a full year has passed since I live-blogged Barack Obama’s first address to Congress. I will be doing it again this year with the help of my radio co-host Sandi Behrns. We hope you can join us live! If you miss the live event, you can read the transcript any time after the event.

To attend the event or watch the replay, click here!

UPDATE: I am no Presidential scholar but I do believe something unprecedented happened during tonight’s State of the Union. The Supreme Court usually gets a free ride at these events but not this year. Obama said:

Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.

Virtually the entire chamber rose to its feet in support of Obama’s smackdown while the nine Justices sat silent, with only Alito mouthing “not true”. It was truly a sight to see.

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Citizens United v. FEC: Freedom of Speech v. Unfair Influence

The Supreme Court last week struck down some 70 years of legal precedent concerning the ability of corporations to spend their discretionary money in support of a political candidate within a certain time frame of an election. Many liberals are beside themselves with concern over this decision saying that, to paraphrase Senator Chuck Schumer, the winners of the upcoming election will not be Democrats and will not be Republicans but will be corporations.

I read enough of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion to believe that the opposition to this opinion is much ado about nothing and in fact represents an odd inconsistency with liberal belief. The opinion comes down on the side of freedom of speech (the First Amendment), which we liberals hold almost more dear than anything else in our platform.

But first, we need a reality check. Before this opinion was issued by the Court, Congress was already bought and sold by lobbyists and big business. Who are we fooling here? On one level the Court’s decision simply makes the law reflect reality.

Even if we get beyond the cold reality of how things really work, the opinion stands on its own logically. When a company contributes to a political campaign, there is an implicit quid-pro-quo relationship established. The candidate has solicited the donation and the company has made the donation. This establishes a potential obligation between one party and the other. That is why there are limits to campaign contributions. This was not changed by the Citizens United decision.

However when a company freely spends its money in support of a candidate via commercials, films, etc. when the candidate has not solicited such support, no quid-pro-quo relationship is established. In this case, the company (for profit or non-profit corporation) is freely exercising its Constitutionally guaranteed right to express its opinion. This is the very essence of freedom of speech. There are those who say that corporations are not “people” and should not enjoy first amendment protection. I argue that corporations represent the will of people, either their board of directors, their shareholders or their executive team. Corporations are not aliens. They are human inventions influenced by the humans who run them.

Again, we need to step back a moment to the reality prior to this ruling. It has been correctly noted by some commentators that General Electric owns MSNBC and therefore pays the salaries of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, both of whom reserve the right to express their opinion about a candidate right up to the moment that he or she wins or loses the race. In fact, in the case of Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Keith Olbermann went right on expressing his opinion after Brown won the race. By the current liberal sky-is-falling reasoning, didn’t General Electric have unfair influence prior to this ruling?

While I understand the concerns about corporations gaining even more influence via this decision, I think that risk pales in comparison to the slippery slope that we find ourselves on when we restrict the speech of one entity whom we distrust. Who gets censored next? This was the inevitable conclusion that the Court had to make.  When you restrict the speech of any of us, you risk restricting the speech of us all and you compromise the most fundamental principle upon which our country is built.

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Are Liberals Really This Stupid?

On the night following the election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to the US Senate, Howard Dean, former chair of the DNC, made an argument about the election on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that boggled the mind. He said that folks who voted for Obama ended up voting for Brown because the current health care bill does not go far enough.

Excuuuuuuuse me? I had to “rewind” the Tivo at least three times to make sure I heard him correctly. Chris Matthews essentially told him he was crazy and I agreed. Then I actually looked at the poll numbers upon which Dean based his assertion. You’ve got to see this crap to believe it.

First asked 1000 folks who voted for Obama in 2008 whether they favored the current health care reform effort.

OK, so now our conservative friends are licking their lips. You see!!! No one wants the government involved in health care. This Brown election is a message to Washington!

Sorry, my tea bag dunkers but the stats get really weird from here.

They then asked the folks who said they opposed the current health care reform whether they felt it went too far or not far enough. Behold:

Sorry to disappoint the folks who want their country back but if we don’t count the fence-sitters,  most of the Obama voters who either voted for Brown or stayed home felt the current health care reform did not go far enough!

This brings me to my main point.


Granted the group polled were 2008 Obama voters, not necessarily liberal, but let’s face it, the great preponderance of them are liberal. These folks are such boneheads that they think the way to get good health care reform legislation is to either stay home or vote for a guy who explicitly said he would vote AGAINST health care reform. As crazy as Howard Dean sounded, the numbers backed up his statement.

But here’s the real rub. Dean didn’t seem the least bit angry at the Massachusetts voters. He seemed to almost have an “I told you so” attitude that this is the punishment we deserve for not taking reform far enough.

OK, let me give you liberals a clue for the next election. If you want something done, you vote for the person who ALSO wants that something done. You don’t let the perfect be the  enemy of the good (I know, over-used phrase but it works) and you don’t vote for the dude who will kill the very thing you want before it even has a chance.

I didn’t think I needed to spell that lesson out but apparently some liberals are just that stupid.

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