State of the Union Round-Up

President Obama’s State of the Union last night was, particularly following such a moving address in Tucson, sort of unremarkable to these feminist ears. He was predictably bi-partisan in his approach and focused most on jobs (this time in a very global context) and the economy. In one of the only definitively progressive moments of the evening, he defended Social Security–telling fiscal analysts they’d have to figure out some other way to get the national debt down. Further, he outlined initiatives in five areas: innovation; education; infrastructure; deficit reduction; and a more efficient federal bureaucracy. Here’s some analysis from here and there around the internets:

From Salon’s Andrew Leonard: “The president did not even mention the word ‘unemployment.’”

“This was not a satisfyingly progressive State of the Union Address. It was, however, far less deferent to conservative demands than had been predicted just a few days ago,” writes The Nation’s John Nichols.

The American Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie writes, “Given the political environment, it’s no shock that President Obama used the State of the Union to leap for the center. Still, it’s deeply disappointing to realize that — even with a Democratic president — the poor and least-fortunate have few advocates in the mainstream of American life.”

“The message was, if the nation doesn’t get its act together, its old, wind-up clock will be cleaned by the Chinese and others,” writes Mother Jones’ David Corn.

Note: anyone notice that every single one of these commentators is male? Yeah, that’s because it was virtually impossible to find any female pundits commenting on the SOTU on the nation’s most notable progressive media outlets. Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now hasn’t gone live yet, but I’m crossing my fingers and toes that she’s got some good analysis here.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I think the reference to Medicaid and Medicare was little more than posturing. The issue depends on what is meant by driving down deficits.

    I know I’ve noted that I have no choice but to rely on both Medicare and Medicaid for health insurance coverage. What many don’t understand is, even with this so-called waste, both provide a standard of care that is inferior to that of private plans. Medicare will only pay out a fraction of the total costs of many services and procedures. What needs to change is the high cost of health care, which is absolutely ridiculous. If we want to prune back now, that is possible, but it will require having less administrative staff and decreasing the salaries of middle management.

    And an issue within that is this: health care, in many cities and states, has taken the place of industries that went overseas. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, which was a steel producing town for a century. Then those jobs went elsewhere and had health care not replaced it, it would look a whole lot like the typical Rust Belt cities full of blight and decay. We need to be far more creative about establishing industries and providing jobs. The easiest possible thing is to just add one more administrator over a largely irrelevant department. Until that changes, expect more of the same.

  2. Posted January 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure the president didn’t mention “women” once, except in conjunction with “men and”.

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