Obama’s State of the Nation

Written By: - Date published: 4:11 pm, January 29th, 2010 - 5 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags:

I suspect more than one reader of the Standard would have been glued to the live stream yesterday of Obama’s state of the nation speech. If you’re interested in reactions there’s a useful summary over at the Huffington post, which appears mixed. But what I really enjoyed was this visual from the Guardian, which asks “is his message similar to that of previous US presidents?” They use Wordle.net to see how Obama compares to Bush, Kennedy, Roosevelt, Reagan, Lincoln and Washington. Words that leapt out to me – Americans, people, jobs, now, work, business, families, know, values. And yes, it does look different to the other speeches!

5 comments on “Obama’s State of the Nation”

  1. Mr Magoo 1

    US state of the nation speeches are ALWAYS short on details and looooooong on rhetoric.

    This was no different.

    Basically it means next to nothing. What matters is policy. And they just lost their filibuster majority after failing to be very good at getting policy through the senate.

    So I would not really count on it meaning anything…

  2. prism 2

    Why would an intelligent asembly of representatives allow this filibuster thing to continue? USA seems to be able to go to war on a whim but try to improve service delivery to what seems general for the 21st C and you get fatheads flocking from the golf course to put in their two cents worth, and that is all they are worth.
    Meanwhile nothing gets done about chronic recurring problems. And people get further distrust in their politicians’ integrity and concern for duty to the people.

    • Mr Magoo 2.1

      It is about checks and balances. The whole structure of the US political system is supposed to ensure that a party cannot just rail road policy just because it has a slim majority. (i.e. less than 60 in the senate)
      It is a fine line, because of course you could have a huffy party with a minority holding up all legislation.

      That is what the filibuster is all about.

      The problem at the moment is that the democrats have “members” that will quite happily cross the floor because some corporate hands them a bunch of campaign cash. (e.g. the amount of money that was spent destroying the health care bill to the point that is now just a subsidy for the insurance industry)

      The recent supreme court ruling makes this even worse of course.

      Yep. The US is easily the most corrupt open democracy on the planet at the moment.

      • prism 2.1.1

        Thanks for explaining Mr Magoo. I do remember the cartoon character – walking into things because his eyesight was wonky. Were you being ironic about the USA being “easily the most corrupt open democracy on the planet at the moment”?

        Is open democracy a trick phrase? Does the USA have a democracy robust enough, and modern enough with its checks and balances to ensure that its people really get the best politicians available and the best policy decisions available?

        • Mr Magoo

          It is great you remembered the cartoon and not the horribly unfortunate movie starring Leslie Neilson…. 🙂

          No joke intended at all.

          “Open” means the public’s access to what is actually going on. I don’t mean they are TOTALLY open, but they are more open than many countries – ours especially.

          For example,
          – Even secret and confidential docs are released after a period of time once deemed safe. (ACLU has taken this issue to court and won several times)
          – Campaign donations are all listed on a public website.
          See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_information_in_the_United_States

          “Corrupt” means whether or not the representatives of the people act in their best interest and/or as they would want. (As opposed to in their own best interests or those paying them in some way)
          I don’t think I need to comment on this one…

          If the people of the US actually want things to be better then they really should start voting for them based on their track record and their policies and not the usual 24/7 media rubbish that seems to always become the “most important issue” of the day.

          A bit like the nz ones: summer murder rate, the Winston who said what when and the smacking bill.

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