I have had occasion to be really annoyed lately by the media because they so often spoke of someone as trying to "reclaim the center" and I saw the supposed center as being so far right of what I thought a center should be.
I have spoken before of a time when Republicans were a viable alternative party. Back in the days of Eisenhower and Everett Dirksen. Eisenhower promoted the right of people to form unions, he defended social security, and called those who would curtail these things as "stupid." And he warned against the military-industrial complex.
I always liked Ike.
Of course in 1956 I was only 11 years old.
It's only in later life that I begin to appreciate him.
For today's Republicans, Ike is a dangerous socialist. Shows you how far we have fallen.
Anyway, I started listening to Obama's State of the Union speech on my way home from town that night, and the first ten minutes seemed like a lot of boiler-plate—this isn't a criticism, it's just how these things always get started, and often finish—so when I stopped to get gas I turned off the radio and put in an Amanda Palmer CD for the rest of the ride home.
I shouldn't have. But I get antsy when the President, whoever he is, starts bringing "two brothers with a factory," "a housewife in Topeka or somewhere," etc. into his speech, I start feeling manipulated. I know the speech is designed to produce a particular effect in me and I resist that. Doesn't matter if it is a Republican or a Democrat who is speaking.
I feel the same way about a lot of movies.
I did hear him say government subsidies to oil companies should be ended. And that caused me to say "Whoa, did he just say that?" Then I go to Rachel Maddow's show and hear her and Frank Rich talk about Obama going back to something like a true center, not a center defined by the radical right. These two are close to my political position ( a little to the right actually—I'm someone who made up an "Anarchy is good for you" bumper sticker for my car when I was in college, tho I've moderated a little bit since then) and I have to pay attention at least to what they say, even if I may not agree totally with what they say.
So it seems that some, at least, think that Obama's speech is more than boilerplate. Apparently the Republicans thought so too. They had an official response by Congressman Paul Ryan, and an unofficial one by Congressperson Michelle Bachman, the space cadet representative to Congress.
Paul Ryan is the person who wants to get rid of Medicare and give those who are on it now coupons to help them find private insurance. You have a preexisting condition and maybe won't live another ten years? Too effing bad. Take your coupon and shove it. So would say the unregulated insurance companies.
Yup, Paul Ryan is right up there trying to do the best for the ordinary American. Not.
I'd feel better if so many Republicans hadn't been elected with the help of big corporate purses. To whom do they really owe their allegiance?
I have heard too much from Republicans, and Paul Ryan, about how the unemployed are being spoiled by the government's help, how social security is a "hammock" not a safety net. These people in my mind are un-American, despotic, ready to oppress the many for the benefit of the few.
They are really straining any impulse I have to bi-partisanship.
Hell, it's not the job of a curmudgeon to be bi-partisan.
Then there is Michelle Bachman. She is a piece of work. Ms. Bachman is either a manipulative politician misleading her supporters for her continued advancement, or she is a totally deluded individual striving for power and recognition. I'm voting for deluded. Listen to her rants—if you have time to waste—and make up your own mind.
This curmudgeon will be anti-partisan, and if anyone (of the last two of you who still read my fulminations) objects, that's the breaks.