There was simply too much in it to absorb fully with the eyes and ears. HuffPo did a pretty good job of summarizing it:
Overlooked in all the post-speech coverage I saw was the brilliant opening:
Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.” “It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union — to improve it is the task of us all.”
Progress and improvement. That was what President Obama’s speech was all about. And he called upon Congress to help, but the reason Congress won’t help much is because of what we saw and heard in the second, then the third, speech of the night, given by Marco Rubio and Ron Paul, both of whom on the day they gave their speeches voted against the Violence Against Women Act, for God’s sake.
Like his political philosophy, Rubio’s palate was dry, causing an embarrassing dip for a drink worthy of any amateur on YouTube making his first video. His speech, really an audition for 2016 GOP primary voters, was mostly warmed-over Ryanism, with an ethnic twist.
The straw man Rubio vanguished last night is one Republicans have murdered many times:
This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.
That Rubio believes such a thing I don’t doubt. That he expects a majority of Americans, many of them victims of genuinely reckless behavior in the financial industry, to believe it, I do doubt. Most of the true-believing government-shrinkers in the country have now given up on selling the nonsense that do-gooders in government caused the Great Recession.
Rubio plodded on, though, confident that his target audience—both softcore and hardcore teapartiers—would find his argument convincing, even though they are already convinced:
More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back.
More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them.
And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It’s going to create uncertainty. Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can’t afford to follow.
The real uncertainty, of course, has been created by Republicans in Congress. And that uncertainty hasn’t been created by “more government,” but by dysfunctional government: That government is best that governs chaotically.
And speaking of chaos, we have the mind of Rand Paul. He argued in his speech for “a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution!” (yep, that exclamation mark is in the original text). He said he “will propose a five-year balanced budget.” But later added:
We must stand firm. We must say NO to any MORE tax hikes!
Those caps and punctuation are, once again, in the original. This guy even SHOUTS when he WRITES!
The muddled and immature philosophy he gets so excited about is this:
Only through lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom will the economy begin to grow again.
An opthmalmologist by training, Paul has taken to practicing short-sighted voodoo economics. He’s sticking pins in America, hoping this time the voodoo ritual will work. But he’s confused. About the GOP he says,
Our party is the party of growth, jobs and prosperity, and we will boldly lead on these issues.
Huh? Earlier in his speech he informed us that,
Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses…I will work with anyone on either side of the aisle who wants to cut spending. But in recent years, there has been no one to work with.
No one. Just him. Just him and his voodoo.