SOTU Preview

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New York Times national correspondent Jackie Calmes previews tonight's State of the Union speech.


Jackie Calmes

Comments [23]

Nate from Manhattan


Please discuss the actual issues more and the political reality (or the way the politicians want to frame the debate) more.

Our representatives do a much better job representing their lobbyists' interests than the people who voted for them. We count on you to speak truth to their power, not just discuss their talking points.

Politics is NOT what people are concerned about. They are concerned about their lives. To the extent that you focus on the political reality, you are ignoring us. It may be interesting to you (and it might be convincing to some listeners) but it leaves the citizenry out in the cold.

Jan. 27 2010 11:00 AM
Estelle from Austin

Employers should NOT be required to offer health insurance as part of the overhaul. Individuals should be able to buy affordable insurance for our families regardless of preexisting conditions or employment status. We should not be dependent on others for such a basic need, and employers should not have this extra burden.

Jan. 27 2010 10:48 AM
RiT from Westchester County, NY

RE: Congressman Weiner's excellent comments on health care - in addition to the points he makes concerning how the process subverted interest by the public in passing the bill, concerns about costs have not yet been addressed. And that makes people understandably nervous. The idea that there will be greater numbers of people covered is great, and that pre-existing conditions will be covered, but nowhere that I'm aware of has anyone indicated that insurance companies will be capped in what they can charge. And in Massachussetts, which has been a model for structuring a bill, this appears to be one of the elements people there are most upset with - costs have spiraled because now people must buy insurance, including small business (of more than 50 employees, I believe), and there is not a cap on what insurance companies can charge. So before we inflict higher cost, while also offering insurance firms a gazillion more customers, we need to put a check on the costs!! Greater attention to the cost/economic side of the discussion would have helped get adherents and get the bill passed. As it is, I hope they do pass it - we have to start somewhere!

Jan. 27 2010 10:45 AM
Patty Fogarty from NY

Will Nancy Pelosi have been sedated in time for tonight's SOTU? Like a manic clown jumping up and down, her maternal pride in the boy wonder makes him look like the class idiot. Meanwhile Joe, dozing by her side so obviously struggles with his attempts at doing anything for a quiet life.
As for the message? Keep Nancy down please and I might not be so distracted as to miss the points!

Jan. 27 2010 10:36 AM
Patrick from New Jersey

The SOTU speech will likely begin an abrupt shift to the center-right. Obama has three truly progressive, sweeping goals: 1) healthcare reform; 2) climate change bill; 3) immigration reform.

The first has been put into action, but is temporarily stalled. But not because Ted Kennedy's seat was lost. (Does anyone think that Lieberman would have voted on a liberalized House bill?) There were never 60 votes on a final bill. But delayed reform does not equal defeated reform. It will be back.

The shift to the center-right will be pragmatic. It's not an election year for Obama, but it is for Congress. Moving right of center will boost his numbers among centrists and independents, and possibly mitigate the rage against "liberals."

My guess: 2010 will be the most conservative year in Obama's first term. 2011 and 2012 will be significantly more progressive. Get ready for a lot of Obama bashing from the left.

Jan. 27 2010 10:34 AM
Nate from Nyc

And just why is the military budget exempt?

Mr. Bush cut taxes on the rich and financed the war off budget. Mr. Obama is expanding war costs and military costs in general. The military budget is the largest component of the US budget and accounts for almost half of all military expenditures in the world.

Yet, most of the talk is about raising taxes on the working class and making cuts in the social safety net.

Jan. 27 2010 10:31 AM

What exactly is the use of these endlessly speculative conversations, with no participant enjoying expertise as a sybil or seer? When did a guest of Brian Lehrer last accurately predict much of anything?

This at a time when 99.9% of listeners, Brian Lehrer himself, and NYT political reporters, know next to nothing about American domestic and foreign policy.

And this is how we spend our time....

Jan. 27 2010 10:29 AM
Lee from TN

Why has no one mentioned the fact that prior to Brown's Mass. election upset all Obama gave speeches about was health care reform? Now after that election he simply mirrors Brown's talking points in his speeches. Same old politics as usual?? Where's the change?

Jan. 27 2010 10:27 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If Obama didn't say the freeze would be across the board, maybe he has some wiggle room.

Me, I'm wondering if the environment/global climate disturbance will even be mentioned.

Jan. 27 2010 10:25 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

I wish he would address the broken American polity and its inability to address any major problem in any serious way. The government is owned by special interests and the public wants everything without paying for anything or sacrificing anything.
The state of the union is sorry.

I wish he would call it out for what it is....

Jan. 27 2010 10:24 AM
JK from Midtown

if only america and its "leaders" had this much self-righteous gumption and this little patience for president BUSH, the world and not just the united states would be in a much better place right now.

Jan. 27 2010 10:23 AM
Jill from Westchester

My pre-action? Damn - I have to miss "Modern Family at 9.

Jan. 27 2010 10:21 AM
Adrian from Upper East Side

If Mr. Obama or any other politician is serious about cutting spending and saving the US from a sovereign default, they must start with cutting defense spending. More than $600 billion a year in defense spending has to be the greatest misallocation and outright waste of limited resources in human history. Cut the defense budget by 80-90% and the US economy will benefit and the rest of the world will be greatly aided by the reduction in our imperial overreach.

Jan. 27 2010 10:21 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Why did Brian Lehrer fail to mention that the military is excluded from any freeze?

Military spending accounts for over 44% of all federal tax revenues.

Jan. 27 2010 10:20 AM
Eric from B'klyn

Raise taxes, cut Social Security... Why can't we cut the 'defence' budget? Why isn't it 'on the table'? If you add all of the military, intel, Homeland Security and Nuclear Arsenal, it is over a TRILLION ANNUALLY. Every department has to tighten its belt, but not defence? I really don't get it

Jan. 27 2010 10:20 AM
Scott D. Strader from Atlanta, GA

Why aren't we considering cutting military spending? Have you *seen* how much of the budget goes towards that?! If we can't trim that down to become fiscally responsible, then I agree with Mr. Lehrer that we are doomed.

Jan. 27 2010 10:19 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

How about reducing by 10% the $850 BILLION we are blowing on the military? Or 20% or 50%. We'd still be spending more than most of the rest of the world combined. We spend three times as much as all of Europe. We spend more than India and China combined.

Or in New York City, the $500 million we spend on Access-a-Ride, which as ABC7 has reported, spends most of its time doing NOTHING.

How about taxing the richest in proportion to their ability to pay. What happened to the millionaires' tax? (The rich, the oligarchs, opposed it.)

Jan. 27 2010 10:17 AM
hjs from 11211

how can we stop the boomers from stealing our national assets ?

Jan. 27 2010 10:16 AM
Shawn Onsgard from Brooklyn

When will reduced defense spending become a real option???

Jan. 27 2010 10:15 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Stop being ridiculous Brian, unfortunately for you he will have more to say, than Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs...u sound uneducated trying to make that a focal point! Get on with the show.

Jan. 27 2010 10:09 AM
Fabio Carasi from Montclair NJ

The budget freeze: if it is a tactic to pacify "moderate" Dems and Reps, I DON'T UNDERSTAND.
I voted for principles, transparency and forthrightness, not tactical politicking.

Jan. 27 2010 10:09 AM
the way you guys do things from

Since you brought it up -- I'm loving that WNYC has doubled the takeaway's daily air time and keeping it on AM! In fact I will double my annual contribution if you start it an hour earlier and end it an hour later.

Jan. 27 2010 10:09 AM
longstreet from NYC area

For tonight:
Expect a lame "theory of everything" tonight as Mr. Experience tries to tie the disparate parts of his agenda together in some coherent manner. He can't help himself and will give us some faux modesty while not conceding on his core plans.
Over/ under on utterances "I" or "my" is 50.
Over/under on oblique Bush references: 3.
Over/under on straw men constructed: 6.
Over/under on references to "hope and change" 0.
Over/under on Pelosi blinking her eyes: 3
Over/under on "you lie" shouts: 0
Enjoy, folks.

Jan. 27 2010 09:00 AM

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