The President’s underwhelming State of the Union speech was heavy on economic policy, not so much on gun laws.
It was a mostly underwhelming State of the Union address—so much so, that the mere mention of a TV series got the Internet all atwitter, as President Obama explained, “It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a Mad Men episode.”
The President was discussing how women still make 77 cents to a man’s dollar (we have the Republicans to thank for killing the ERA once and for all in 1982, with a special shoutout to Phyllis Schlafly). “That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment,” Obama said. “A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship—and you know what, a father does, too.”
The speech, as always, was heavy on economic policy, but it wasn’t without a bit of comic relief. Peering over the President’s shoulder were Vice-President Joe Biden, with his smirks and his finger guns, and orange House Speaker John Boehner, as sour-faced as a kid in after-school detention:
At least Boehner seemed to take it in stride when Obama gave him a little shout-out during a section on the American dream and upward mobility:
President Obama advocated for increasing the minimum wage—a measure that would mostly help women, who make up 64 percent of workers who earn the minimum wage or less—noting that there’s a bill circulating that would raise it to $10.10. As the bill is in Congress, its chances are somewhat dubious, but as the President pointed out, five states have raised it on their own in the past year.
Obama naturally used the speech to offer a throaty defense of Obamacare. He argued that, “because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman.” And then he cast a little shade at the Republicans: “So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. But let’s not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda. The first 40 were plenty. We got it.”
And while we’re at it, let’s do something about that little problem we seem to be having with gun violence, too, a topic the President spoke of all too briefly when you consider how many gun-related homicides we have in any given week. “Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day,” he said. “I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.”
Congressman Vance McAllister (R-LA) invited the cast of Duck Dynasty to see how they’d react to the president’s remarks on gun control. Alas, A&E must have a binding contract on drama with the Robertsons, because those “stars” were about as tame as Obama’s comments. “I think I missed that,” Willie Robertson told The Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas. “Wasn’t paying attention.”
Obama got his biggest applause of the night when he spoke of Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, who attended the State of the Union after facing seemingly insurmountable injuries during his tenth tour in Afghanistan. “My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than 200 years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress,” Obama said, in the concluding moments of his speech.
And then the Republican rebuttal. Was there nervous water-guzzling? Not so much. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) gave a sleepy response, though she did manage to outrage a whole lot of New Yorkers by referring to the borough of “Brooklynd.” And it wouldn’t be the State of the Union without someone calling Obama a Socialist. This year it was Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), who set the tone before the speech even began. “On floor of house waitin on “Kommandant-In-Chef”… the Socialistic dictator who’s been feeding US a line or is it “A-Lying?,” he tweeted.
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