State of the Union

StateoftheUnion2014Like many Americans, I just finished watching President Obama deliver his fifth State of the Union address.  If you’re looking for someone to help you make sense of the speech’s political ramifications, you’ve come to the wrong place.  There are many people who are far more qualified to dissect the President’s comments.  Nevertheless, I thought I’d offer my immediate reaction.

  • In the days ahead, pundits will no doubt squabble over the President’s policy goals, his relationship with Congress, etc.  More power to ’em.  From my perspective, however, the most stirring part of the night came at the end, when the President acknowledged Sgt. Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger who was severely injured during his tenth (!) deployment overseas.  Sgt. Remsburg received the longest standing ovation of the night, and with good reason.  You can listen to the President describe Remsburg’s journey at this link.
  • As the President astutely pointed out, it is more than a little absurd that women continue to earn almost 25% less than men.  I’ve never done any research on the topic, but I cannot fathom why this discrepancy has not been corrected.  After all, approximately 50% of Americans are women, and approximately 100% of Americans have mothers.  You can listen to the President’s completely reasonable pitch at this link.
  • Every year, one member of the President’s cabinet is asked to not attend the State of the Union address.  The idea is that this individual would become President if something terrible should happen to the nation’s other top leaders.  This year’s Designated Survivor (yes, that’s the actual title) was the Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz.  Since the State of the Union went off without a hitch, Secretary Moniz remains 14th in the presidential line of succession.
  • And finally, I’m compelled to report that, for some reason, the people from Duck Dynasty were in attendance at tonight’s speech.