Clue #1: Michelle Obama who had, in years past, worn purple to symbolize bipartisanship (red+blue=purple) was wearing this:
Not even a subtle shade of blue. Game on, said that dress.
As did the President's pointed remark about how people's desire for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes isn't because they envy the rich. See, it was Mitt Romney who suggested that if I want him to pay oh, say, even the same percentage of taxes that I do, it's because I envy him. Not because there's anything unfair about a guy who makes more per day in interest alone than I do in a year for my job paying a lower tax rate than I do. Nope, just envy.
(Here's my take on the whole tax thing, in case anyone is interested. As the income disparity widens in our country, more of us are paying less in taxes because we're making less. The wealth is increasingly concentrated among a few people who are paying historically low tax rates. So less of what money there is goes to the government. This isn't a case of steal from the rich to pay for the poor, it's a case of someone has to pay taxes or there won't be money for anything. Even if you oppose social programs, probably you want us to continue to have a military. Time was, rich people thought it was their patriotic duty to pay taxes. Now nobody seems to feel that way.)
Some things stay the same, election year or not. For the however-many-times-I've-been-doing-thisth time, the State of the Union included a line about getting rid of bad teachers. Should we get rid of bad teachers? Absolutely. Does the President have anything to do with that? Nope.
Also in the education section, President Obama suggested that all states legally require students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. I recorded my response for you. "Oh no no. No no no no no. No." Do I wish all kids would graduate? Of course. But it's not going to happen and some of those kids who aren't going to graduate seriously need to not be in school. And I have to disagree with the line about how sometimes teachers reach into their own pockets to buy school supplies. I know no teachers who don't buy supplies out of their own pockets. So it's the "sometimes" that I dispute.
I also had a moment of not being sure I agreed that we should fight climate change. I was thinking how it was pretty nice to have a winter full of 50 degree days. Except then I remembered how Sigourney Weaver damn near made me cry the other night over a starving polar bear and then I was back on board with fighting climate change. Also I could really stand some snow days.
Folks, how sweet was it of Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to stand up for the Democrats-only standing ovation lines in order to help Gabby Giffords stand to applaud? I met him once. While I of course disagreed with pretty much everything he was saying, I remember thinking he seemed like a nice guy. (Who looked exactly like Ken.) (Of ...and Barbie.) (But that is neither here nor there.)
In other superficial news, I thought Senator Boehner looked less orange this year. He even managed to say that introducing the President was his "high privilege and great honor" without turning any unnatural shades. Also, Vice President Biden's tie was borderline seizure-inducing.
And finally, I'm concerned that the President may have inadvertently caused me problems at home by further inflating Raj's already-enormous ego. Sure that whole "we could learn a lot of things from members of our military" bit got him bi-partisan applause, but it didn't do me any favors. He went on and on about their tremendous example. Thanks a lot, President Obama.
And God bless America brings us to the Republican response, this year by Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana.
I watched a thing about him on 60 Minutes or something and thought he seemed like a good guy. And he started out so well. Home of the Superbowl! The Obama family is a great example of a family!
Then the campaign started. While the President said the state of the union is "getting stronger", Daniels told us that the state of the union is "grave". He said that 2012 may be our last year to restore an America of hope and greater equality. OUR LAST CHANCE! DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!
He also told us that no failure of the Obama administration is greater than its constant efforts to divide us. Seriously? Also the constant disparagement of people in business. Including, apparently, Steve Jobs who he specifically mentioned. Apparently Steve Jobs's widow didn't feel he'd been too terribly disparaged by the Obama administration, seeing as how she was there at the State of the Union.
Also, "there are smart and dumb ways to make even the affluent help." By all means, let's leave the affluent for a last resort in helping to fund our government. Governor Daniels says the smart way is to not give the very wealthy any Social Security or Medicare. Apparently raising their taxes is the dumb way.
He said that Republicans do not accept that we live in a nation of haves and have nots. YES. YES, WE DO. The fact that you don't accept that doesn't change it. You can say that we live in a nation of haves and soon-to-haves, but unless you've got a plan to end the cycle of poverty (and I'm not hearing one), then we stil live in a nation of haves and have nots and will for the foreseeable future.
Then he told us that in word and in deed, the President and his allies tell us that we just can't make it. We can't pick our own health insurance or light bulbs! A) The thing about light bulbs was signed by President George W. Bush. B) We CAN'T pick our own health insurance! I have one choice, which is the one provided by my employer. Were I not employed full-time by an employer who provides insurance, I'd have no choices because I have pre-existing conditions. Not to mention the unlikelihood that I could afford useful insurance in that situation, even if I could get it.
I found the whole speech to be just jaw-droppingly combative. I know that shouldn't surprise me, but it did.
The state of the union is partisan. I don't have a joke about that. God bless whichever side you're voting for, I guess.