Two days ago, president Obama gave his state of the union speech that I, as is my usual practice, did not watch. I really hate meaningless political rituals. Apparently he listed several progressive proposals and was not at all conciliatory towards the Republicans or their agenda, even making pointed digs and laughing and winking at them, which has infuriated them.
Larry Wilmore in his monologue gave the highlights.
Wilmore was right in his assessment that his speech seemed to indicate that Obama seemed to have broken free of past constraints and is pursuing a progressive agenda. But we have seen this film before. Democrats always, always, talk a good game when they are not in a position to achieve their stated goals. But when they can, as in the first two years of the Obama presidency, they do very little. Then they could have passed laws (or at least tried to) raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women, providing paid sick leave, providing free community college education, recognizing the rights of the LGBT community, raising taxes on the very rich, all the things mentioned in his speech. But they did not. They did pass a health care reform bill (without even a public option, let alone single payer) and the Lilly Ledbetter act that provided women with more chances to fight for equal pay, but that was about it.
But the revived rhetorical moves are not all in vain. They do keep the progressive agenda on the front burner, which is a good thing.
The Daily Show also covered the speech highlights and made fun of the dour Republican reaction to even the good news about the economy.
And of course we had the Republican responses to the speech, whose numbers are growing each year as everyone tries to get their moment in the spotlight.
(These clips aired on January 21, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)