Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Washington Watch: Week Three (Part 1)

The State of the Union (SOTU) -- Part One

(Prayers for all innocent victims and their families as the Big Bear situation unfolds.)

A Crowded Room.....Who Doesn't Have an Invite?

Seems like there's going to be a lot of extra people tonight at the SOTU. Normally, there's the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court (they may not all show up), the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President's Cabinet. Normally, we see the President's invited guests in the gallery with the First Family.  The tradition has been to use these guests to paint a human face on the President's agenda items (or policies).

At tonight's SOTU various members of Congress are also bringing guests.  Some are bringing shooting victims while others are bringing celebrities. Politico reports that House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi is bringing singer Tony Bennett as well as a child from Newtown, Connecticut (home of the Sandy Hook massacre).

Wonder is anyone bringing Jay Z or Beyonce?  

The "celebrity" guest getting the most attention is anti-Obama rocker Ted Nugent. MSBC's Rachel Maddow covers this well in her blog.  Maddow says:

"Last year, Ted Nugent went after Barack Obama with rhetoric that was violent enough to get the attention of the Secret Service. Tonight, at the State of the Union, Ted Nugent will be the guest of a Republican congressman. If the GOP intends to stop being, in Bobby Jindal's words, the "stupid party," they have a long way to go."
Hope they have enough seats.

Speaking of the"Stupid Party"  (Jindal's words)

Looks like they will have two responses to the SOTU speech. One given by the face of the 'new' Republican Party (yeah right) Marc Rubio. The other from Tea Party Conservative Rand Paul.  TWO RESPONSES!!  Normally, the party picks ONE -- Jindal did it himself once in a forgettable performance after Obama's First SOTU back in 2009. Here's what HuffPo's Sam Stein reported:

"Both Democrats and Republicans alike panned Jindal's rebuttal in terms that were decidedly harsh: "amateurish," "laughable" and, most commonly, "a missed opportunity."  "After watching Jindal," one Democratic strategist emailed, "I'd pay a lot of money to be back watching a Palin speech.""

What to Expect When You're Expecting Details

Don't expect details. I'll be pleasantly surprised if there are details.  What to look for:
  1. How much time spent on foreign policy vs. domestic policy. He's facing opposition over his Defense and National Security picks (despite much opposition Hagel should be confirmed -- although  Republicans are calling for a walkout at his confirmation hearing.) The Middle East is still a powder keg, and now North Korea is testing Nuclear weapons.  AND...how are we supporting our armed services and veterans with healthcare, housing, and jobs!
  2. Speaking of jobs....let's see what he says...another stimulus? This is the ISSUE for most Americans.
  3. He is sure to address voting rights and the long lines many had to stand in this past election.  Remember Florida?
  4. Guns....will he talk about how he likes to 'skeet shoot at Camp David?  Hope not. What agenda will he lay out regarding reducing gun violence,especially with so many relatives of shooting victims as guests?
  5. Climate change? Will it be discussed in light of so many major storms?
  6. Immigration reform...perhaps an area for bi-partisan agreement?
  7. Will he address the tragic situation going on in Southern California?  
Prayers for all innocent victims and their families.
SOTU Part Two after the speech.....

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