Earlier tonight, President Obama laid out what I personally thought was his best State of the Union address to date. It was optimistic, and honest, and filled with the sort of promise we've wanted to hear from a President for a very long time. I disagreed with some of what he said. As a resident of New York State, I wasn't too fond of his endorsement of hydrofracking, and I certainly begged to differ when he disagreed with the ascertation that America is in decline, because I believe American exceptionalism is a serious culprit that is perpetrating exactly that. But overall, his message was positive, and re-affirmed my vote for him in 2008, while further convincing me that he'll get another out of me later this year.
And then came Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
Daniels made a claim tonight during the Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union Address that literally caused me to boo my television, so loudly and ferociously that I fear I may have woken some of my neighbors. The line went beyond being disagreeable, and well into the realm of sheer stupidity. I don't like calling others names, and I'm not a fan of labels, but there's no other way to describe it. It was a stupid comment, and anyone who agreed with it needs to seriously consider not only the fidelity of their future arguments, but their sanity.
The line in question? "No feature of the Obama Presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us." Yeah. He really did say that. Word for word. My initial knee-jerk reaction was shock. I'd heard people make this nonsensical claim before, but I really did believe we'd gotten past it. Perhaps it's because I've spent the past several months focusing most of my efforts in the world of politics on satire. What came after that surprise was... well, in the spirit of maturity, I won't publish exactly what I yelled at the TV. I'm offending myself just remembering it all.
Republicans are the ones dividing this nation. That's the end of the argument. There's no "but" to be amended there. There aren't any additional parameters that need to be weighed. President Obama has bent over backwards to involve Republicans in the process of Democracy, moreso than any other President in my lifetime, surely. And what has he gotten in response to that? Comments like that of Governor Daniels tonight, and far, far worse. President Obama's legacy after his eight years are done (that's right, I said eight years... get over it) will be that he was bi-partisan to a fault. To call him divisive is more insulting to yourself than it is to anyone else.
Republicans violently scream and shout their opinions at you, and when you try to offer up an alternative, they stick their fingers in their ears, letting out onomatopoetic farts broken into only by unfounded, ridiculous claims of socialism and other hyperbolic nonsense. They have a 24-hour news network dedicated not only to delivering one-sided arguments, as if that wouldn't be bad enough on its own, but to literally insulting anyone who has the nerve to disagree with them, ridiculing entire paths of idiology and excusing anyone and everyone who follows suit. In recent years, they've set constant records for hyper-partisan obstructionism. They've done everything in their power to derail voters' rights and to tip the scales of electoral justice in their favor. And now they expect us to buy the line that President Obama is trying to divide the American people? Seriously... do yourself a favor, and just stop talking. You're only weakening yourself with that grade of asinine talking points.
As I always do, I need to make a point that not all Republicans act this foolishly. Quite a few, in growing numbers actually, are stepping forward and saying "go be stupid on your own. Don't take the rest of us down with you." I applaud each and every one of them. This isn't about those Republicans who respectfully agree to disagree and want to work together for the betterment of the nation. This isn't aimed at Republicans who realize that progress is made in the compromises between two ideologies. This article is aimed at those other Republicans, whom all of us who live in the realm of serious discourse, Liberal and Conservative, hope will go away. And when you're being criticized for a lack of seriousness by a political satirist, I think it's safe to say you're on the losing side of the discussion.
As I stated earlier, I disagree with President Obama about his claim that America isn't in decline. It is. We're facing serious problems. We're falling behind other nations in almost every category you or I could think of, and in some of those fields, it'll get far worse before it gets even slightly better. But if we really want to start making progress, we need to do one of two things: Convince these radically-partisan Republicans that they need to shut up and put up, doing their part to make America great again... or they need to go to their rooms without supper. They need to stop claiming President Obama is trying to divide us while they themselves -- yep, you guessed it -- try to divide us. They need to stop making President Obama out to be worse than he is. They need to offer him credit for all the great things he's accomplished, and stop pretending like everything he does and everything he says is wrong for this country. It only makes them look stupid. And like I said earlier, I really dislike using labels like that.
President Obama is going to win the 2012 presidential election. None of the GOP candidates in the field right now can beat him. They're all far too easy to campaign against. We can't predict what the future might have in store, and anything can happen on a campaign trail, but as it stands, it's looking like President Obama will get another four years. Will those four years contain American ingenuity and perseverance? Will they be years that make America number one again in those fields we've fallen behind in? Or will Republicans spend those years making farting sounds and lying to their constituencies in the absence of a substantive argument? I suppose only time will tell. In the meantime, I can only hope and pray that either they'll grow up, or shut up.