The State of the Union and the GOP Response - Carl Davidson
and Laura Flanders
1. We're All in the Same Boat? - On the Topic of Obama, the
GOP Can't Even Blush Anymore (Carl Davidson)
2. Not a Peep About the President's Praise for War (Laura
We're All in the Same Boat?
On the Topic of Obama, the GOP Can't Even Blush Anymore
By Carl Davidson
(Carl Davidson's 'Keep On Keepin' On' Commentaries)
January 25, 2012
If Hollywood gave Oscars for shamelessness, the Republican
responses to President Obama's State of the Union speech
last night, Jan 24, would have swept the field.
Take Indiana's Gov. Mitch Daniels, who gave the official GOP
"No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its
constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some
Americans by castigating others," he said. "As in previous
moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same
Amazing. One top GOP candidate, Newt Gingrich, is running
around the country attacking Obama as the 'Food Stamp
President,' while the other, Mitt Romney, whose newly
released tax returns show he takes in more in a day than a
well-paid worker does in a year, critiques Obama's business
skills using a shuttered factory as a stage prop.
Obama, of course, never shut down a single factory, yet that
was precisely the business Mitt Romney and his outfit, Bain
Capital, was famous for, including shutting down a factory
in Florida, where his video message was being recorded.
"All in the same boat" and 'castigating others' indeed.
Governor Daniels uttered these words as the state he
presides over is currently engaged in a notorious 'right to
work for less' battle to strip Indiana's workers on their
ability to bargain collectively.
Like many Americans, I watched the President's speech with a
critical eye. As he detailed a number of manufacturing and
alternative energy industrial policies, I thought, finally,
he's giving some voice to his 'inner Keynesian' and forcing
a crack in the neoliberal hegemony at the top. I cheered
when he took aim at Wall Street and declared, "No more
bailouts, no more handouts, and no more cop outs." On the
other hand I winced more than once at the glorification of
militarism and the defense of Empire-I'm one quick to oppose
unjust wars and who has long believed a clean energy/green
manufacturing industrial policy needs to trump a military-
hydrocarbon industrial policy.
This speech was also Obama in campaign mode. One thing we've
learned over the last four years is that his governing mode
is not the same thing, and requires much more of us in terms
of independent, popular and democratic power at the base to
make good things happen.
But one thing is clear. My critical eye has nothing in
common with what's coming from the GOP and the far right.
The first Saturday of every month, the pickups trucks from
the local hills and hollows, growing numbers of them, fill
the parking lot of the church on my corner, picking up
packages from the food pantry to help make ends meet. In
these circumstances and lacking better practical choices,
I'll go with the 'Food Stamp' President any day of the week.
[Long time peace and social justice activist Carl Davidson
is a co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for
Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)]
Not a Peep About the President's Praise for War
by Laura Flanders
January 25, 2012
The grades for the president's State of the Union are in and
the critics have been kind. In fact, it's chilling to see
just how few hits the president takes for couching his
entire address in unqualified celebration of the US
Speaking of the troops, President Obama began: "At a time
when too many of our institutions have let us down, they
exceed all expectations."
Post-show pundits on cable news praised the president's
comfort with his commander-in-chief role, but none saw fit
to mention recent news-of marines urinating on Afghan
corpses, say, or Staff Sergeant Wuterich walking free after
participating in the killing of twenty-four unarmed men,
women and children in Haditha, Iraq. Accompanying Obama's
next phrase, "Imagine what we could accomplish if we
followed their example," no one thus far has played vile
viral video. The critics have been kind.
The president chose to celebrate the US military; the press
chose not to raise a peep about the spread of US militarism.
Yet US targets proliferate-abroad-with unmanned drones
assassinating unconvicted suspects in innumerable undeclared
wars. And militarism spreads at home. The 2012 National
Defense Authorization Act makes indefinite military
detention without charge or trial a permanent feature of the
American legal system. It's kind of the critics not to
mention that-or the president's four-year-old pledge to
close Guantanamo, and to restore the "rule of law."
"They're not consumed with personal ambition.. They work
together," continued the president (again, speaking of the
troops). There are surely plenty of troops who would
disagree. The tally is long of commanders and pigeon-hawk
commanders-of-commanders who've dodged responsibility,
fingered underlings and permitted rank-and-file "bad apples"
to take the heat for US war crimes.
"Those of us who've been sent here to serve can learn a
thing or two from the service of our troops," the president
There are indeed things we can learn; things that many US
troops have begged us to learn. That war dehumanizes the
killer and the killed, and that war tactics have a habit of
spreading from the war zone to the home. Successive
generations have told us that military recruiters lie, and
that "rules of war" exist only in legal minds. (Ninety
percent of casualties in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
were civilians). Troops have begged us to learn just what we
are celebrating when we celebrate "winning" and war.
As far as I can see, Ralph Nader on Democracy Now! was the
lone voice of disgust on national TV.
Clearly we have a lot to learn.
[Former Air America Radio host, Laura Flanders is the host
and founder of GRITtv with Laura Flanders, a daily talk show
for people who want to do more than talk. She is the author
of the New York Times bestseller BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a
Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats
Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press,
2007). A regular contributor on MSNBC, Flanders has appeared
on shows from Real Time with Bill Maher to The O'Reilly
Factor. Flanders is the editor of At the Tea Party: The Wing
Nuts, Whack Jobs and Whitey-whiteness of the New Republican
Right. and Why we Should Take it Seriously (October 2010, OR
books). For more information, go to LauraFlanders.com or
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