Obama’s State of the Union Address Promises DADT Repeal, College Loan Relief, Free Smiles

Tonight the President told us all to be nice to each other, to stop being cynical assholes, and to create more jobs and love gay people! This message is very similar to what Conan O’Brien said last week. Also similar to Conan? All the jokes!

Executive Editor Laneia & Associate Editor Sarah watch the State of the Union Address, share their feelings [below]. What are your feelings?


i. in the beginning.

Sarah: DO WE HAVE A GAME PLAN? I’m very hyper!
Laneia: We are watching.
Sarah: Ok! Mostly my thoughts will be like “OMG STOP CLAPPING!”
Laneia: IT NEEDS TO BE FUNNY SARAH
Sarah: Ugh I hate the State of The Union. It’s so masturbatory.
Laneia: YES. I AM COVERED IN SELF-IMPORTANT JIZZ
Sarah: srsly

Obama: “Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its workforce because of the Recovery Act…”

Sarah: PHOENIX
HE SAID PHOENIX YOU LIVE IN PHOENIX
doesn’t that make you feel like he knows you?
personally?
Laneia: mhm def
Sarah: like he understands your plight as a person?
Laneia: he’s like, in mah backyard
Sarah: yeah
i’m sure that makes up for everything
for DADT
for DOMA
for all that
because he knows that your hometown exists
Laneia: yes
i feel much better now
also ? when biden nods?
i feel greatly at ease when biden nods
Sarah: oh mmhmm
and how there’s a woman up there
totes makes it up to me
is it too catty if i point out that she looks like skeletor?
i probs shouldn’t criticize her appearance
Laneia: yeah don’t do that
Sarah: she does though
not a bad thing, she’s great!
Laneia: mhm


ii.foreshadowing

Sarah: i am so cynical tonight
i need to be more hopeful


iii. how long should we wait = not rhetorical

Obama: “From the day I took office, I’ve been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious, such effort would be too contentious. I’ve been told that our political system is too gridlocked and that we should just put things on hold for a while. For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold?

Laneia: “how long should we wait” for equal rights for all people. “washington has been telling us to wait for decades”
Sarah: I AM WAITING

Obama: … Meanwhile, China’s not waiting to revamp its economy; Germany’s not waiting; India’s not waiting.

Laneia: Canada’s not waiting
Sarah: good point

Obama: “Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America.”

Laneia: OHHH GOD I HATE THAT SHIT
we’re #1
barf
i mean yeah, good point about how they’re not waiting but GOD it’s not a competition.
Sarah: it’s like high school football or somethin’
Laneia: exactly
Sarah: he’s subliminally trying to appeal to Texas
Laneia: mm mhm


iv. what does a state of the union address attendee look like?

Sarah: that republican looks P.I.S.T.
Laneia: PIST, lolz
Sarah: i think joe biden is wearing a purple tie
Laneia: everyone is!
either purple or red
i am v. interested in who he’s got in the audience for his DADT point
will they be super dykey?
or femme
Sarah: oh hmmmmmm
i am so intrigued
by how this will go
and also, wtf, he can just sign an executive order
i am so not funny tonight
Laneia: i know
dumbest part


v. brilliant idea

Sarah: i think that a constant feature of this broadcast should be a republicam
so i can judge the right’s level of agreement, asshattery, etc.


vi. a cake made of unicorns

Obama: We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. Next, we need to encourage American innovation.

Laneia: he’s basically just like : “in a perf world, we are awesome. here’s how we could be awesome, if we didn’t suck.”
and it’s like, “lesbians living in treehouses”
AND OTHER DREAMS
Sarah: hahahahah
omg i wanna live in a treehouse!
Laneia: RIGHT
Sarah: but i think that’s the point of the state of the union, right?
Laneia: is it?
Sarah: create an inspiring agenda
Laneia: i was hoping he’d be more fucking REALISTIC

Obama: But to create more of these clean-energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives, and that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.

Sarah: i wish lesbian treehouses was on the agenda but
but if this is so unrealistic, that doesn’t give me hope for DADT
like it’s a pipe dream or something?
i mean CLEARLY THAT’S WHAT IT HAS BEEN
Laneia: yes this feels like State Of My Pipe Dream
Sarah: you’re right about the campaignyness
i think that should be the post title, fyi


vii. getting schooled

Obama: And the idea here is simple: Instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform, reform that raises student achievement, inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city.

Laneia: oh hm, the idea that schools are stealing futures
that’s an interesting way to put that
Sarah: it is in fact
Laneia: kind of impressive
Sarah: i like that turn of phrase!

Obama: Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. That’s why I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families.

Sarah: he’s right, the undergrad degree is the new HS diploma
also hard to get a job with
Laneia: um did a h.s. diploma EVER guarantee a good job???
Sarah: no, it guaranteed a job if you were willing to join the military
Laneia: right
Sarah: i think the high school diploma lost it’s appeal in the ’40s

Obama: To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let’s tell another 1 million students that, when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years, and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.

Laneia: he said he wanted to change the college loan payback to 10% of a grad’s income. and that loans should be forgiven after 20 yrs. i just condensed that for you.

Obama: I didn’t choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now, it should be fairly obvious that I didn’t take on health care because it was good politics.

Laneia: he is SO FUCKING JOKEY
this will not look good to the repubs
srsly
Sarah: nope
Laneia: they will rip him a new one over this tone


Next: If Obama says our country is going to turn around, will we also turn around? And news on DADT!

viii. michelle is pretty

Obama: And by the way, I want to acknowledge our first lady, Michelle Obama, who this year is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make kids healthier… Thank you, honey.

Laneia: “thank you, honey”
Sarah: i love her
Laneia: <3
Sarah: btw
Laneia: mhm classssy
Sarah: she seems so unpretentious
OMG I LOVE HER
sit down hahah
that’s what i would say
stop clapping fools!
Laneia: hahaaa
Sarah: look at the supreme court, up there at the front
not standing up
they’re so cute and stodgy


iix. thanks so much george w bush for your nonsense

Laneia: are you taking notes?
Sarah: i don’t think any of these ppl know anything about health care
Laneia: basically just make note that he’s backing / not backing this bill
and is willing to listen to other ppl’s ideas.
Sarah: yes that was cute

Obama: By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program.

On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door.

Laneia: “all this was before i walked in the door”
Sarah: ha, omg 1 trillion dollars
that is SO. MUCH. MONEY.

Obama: So tonight, I’m proposing specific steps to pay for the $1 trillion that it took to rescue the economy last year. Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years.

Sarah: ok yes i agree completely
federal gov’t should be cutting back just like the rest of america
probs no one agrees with me?
what is this freeze gonna mean
Laneia: you can’t CUT spending ANNNND increase infrastructure, though
Sarah: that’s what i wanna know
Laneia: i mean, you have to spend money to create jobs

Obama: “Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.”

Sarah: oh shit he pulled out the veto
Laneia: VETO BITCH
Sarah: yeah but it’s going to SUCK in twenty years
Laneia: right like i agree w/ eliminating what doesn’t work
Sarah: and also china owns so much of our debt
Laneia: um yes
Sarah: everyone agrees with that
but what’s your idea of what doesn’t work
that’s the question
Laneia: right
like, um, providing free abortions to impoverished teens
Sarah: exactly
or clean needles
Laneia: yes, god.

Obama: To close that credibility gap, we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, to end the outsized influence of lobbyists, to do our work openly, to give our people the government they deserve.

Laneia: UM BUT WHAT ABT THE SUPREME CRTS DECISION TO ALLOW ANONYMOUS DONATIONS
Sarah: YES WHAT ABOUT THAT


xiv. floodgates

Obama: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.

Laneia: oh hello
Sarah: wait wait – god he is talking too fast
I CANNOT PROCESS
ruth bader ginsberg is so effing adorable, like my grandmother.

Obama: I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.

Sarah: i’m glad he is addressing this
Laneia: helps correct …. the supreme court

Obama: Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

Sarah: yes yes yes, digital records
Laneia: oh hm publish earmark req’s. that’s a good idea
Sarah: those are SO IMPORTANT
i think the government should publish all records on the internet
like you shouldn’t have to request it and then pay for photo copies
Laneia: yes, srsly
Sarah: because like, this is 2010. and everyone in america should be able to easily find out who bankrolls their representatives


xv. obamaspeak

Obama: These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they’ve been taking place for over 200 years. They’re the very essence of our democracy.

Laneia: he is so. fucking. bipartisan-hard

Obama: “To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.”

Laneia: “i’m trying to change the tone of our politics”
=
dems, don’t be pussies
[paraphrasing]
Sarah: we should translate
Obama into autospeak

Obama: Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.

Laneia: = repubs : don’t be bitches. be helpful
Sarah: “saying no to everything isn’t leadership”
i think literally every person in that room needs to hear that
including obama
Laneia: mmmhm

Obama: I’d like to begin monthly meetings with both Democratic and Republican leadership. I know you can’t wait.

Sarah: joke joke joke
Laneia: jokey joke time!

Obama: “I know that all of us love this country. All of us are committed to its defense. So let’s put aside the schoolyard taunts about who’s tough. Let’s reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values. Let’s leave behind the fear and division and do what it takes to defend our nation and forge a more hopeful future, for America and for the world.”

Laneia: = let’s get off our asses and just get some shit done so we don’t all look like overpaid cunts
also, stop the name-calling, assholes
Sarah: let’s reject the choice between protecting our people and protecting our values
i like that

Sarah: if someone had included “since the day i took office” in a drinking game, they’d be schwasted

Obama: And in Afghanistan, we’re increasing our troops and training Afghan security forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011 and our troops can begin to come home

Laneia: july 2011
write that donw
or down
Sarah: hahaha
july 2011
he’s going to london tomorrow?? what?
what’s happening

Obama: As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as president. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August.

Sarah: oh man, big promises!
Laneia: i hafta PEEEEEEEEE
um yes veterans affairs yes
Sarah: BIG WORDS! like omg!
Laneia: biden is so cute.

Obama: That’s why we’re building a 21st-century [Veterans Affairs] And that’s why Michelle has joined with Jill Biden to forge a national commitment to support military families.

Laneia: a 21st century VA
IMAGINE THAT SARAH!

and now for the part about gay people!

Obama: We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution, the notion that we’re all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law, you should be protected by it, if you adhere to our common values, you should be treated no different than anyone else.

We must continually renew this promise. My administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination.

We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate.

This year — this year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.

We’re going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work.

And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system, to secure our borders, and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations.

[Laneia returns from her pee break]
Laneia: he better start talking abt dadt
oh did he already??
Sarah: yes.
Laneia: god stupid pee break
Sarah: “it’s the right thing to do,” and he will work with congress and the military that denies the right to gays to serve for the country they love. i think
fuck it was too long of a sentence
that was like a throwaway line!
bing bam boom

big big feelings

Obama: The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates to silly arguments, big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away. No wonder there’s so much cynicism out there. No wonder there’s so much disappointment.

I campaigned on the promise of change, change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren’t sure if they still believe we can change, or that I can deliver it.

But remember this: I never suggested that change would be easy or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That’s just how it is.

A new decade stretches before us.

We don’t quit. I don’t quit. Let’s seize this moment, to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.


So. Pam’s House Blend has a rundown of LGBT reactions to his announcement of the appeal.

How do we feel? Well there was a ton of applause tonight, but the only moment of clapping and approval that really stood out to me was the moment after Obama called for the repeal of DADT. I mean, people actually agreed, you guys. Straight humans agreed that gay humans should be treated equally, and they did so in a public forum. That’s a big deal. I can’t believe I live in a world where that’s still a big deal, but I do and it is.

Obvs the next step is: get to it.

As the good man pointed out, cynicism is easy. But he made an appeal to the national character tonight in a way our last president certainly never could. Maybe that’s what endears us to him, even when he doesn’t do what he ought to do: that he seems to think being better humans is the solution to all our nation’s problems. He’s right. But will we get there, and will he honestly lead the way?

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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here. She's 37, has two kids, two dogs, one cat, one Megan, and some personal essays.

Laneia has written 900 articles for us.

21 Comments

  1. ‘america must always stand on the side of human dignity’ mmhmmm right. I’ll get back to you when i get my equal protection under the law card. I like the translations because I was totally doing this on my couch to my tv. I used to throw a big party for the SOTU. One day I will again and we can all Autospeak at the TV.

    As far as DADT I am very happy it was mentioned and to mention it in the SOTU should give it a nice big push. That being said Sen. McCain has already released a statement saying that it is a ‘mistake’ to repeal DADT. He also calls the policy ‘successful’ I mean this was released at 9:25 even before the speech was over.

    *clap clap stay optimistic clap clap*

  2. I am mostly optimistic as a result of this speech…..BUT….. I kind of got the vibe that he was rushing through the DADT statement. It was so short and he seemed uncomfortable. I guess I just wanted him to go into a little more detail. Maybe I am just seeing the glass half empty because I’m so used to the haters drinking all my damn milk. Did anyone else get gay-antsy vibes from him?

    • Yes, like it was there and before you soaked it in, it was gone. I was also probably already pissed about the “spending freeze” thing. Does anyone not remember during the campaign the scalpel, axe analogy? The speech wasn’t bad overall and he did get a few jokes in. But I wish whack-a-mole Pelosi had come out to play tonight, she’s fun to watch.

    • frankly i was surprised he said anything at all. i felt like he was doing a lot of pandering to his opposition, as usual (what the hell was with all that #1 rhetoric, anyway? first in what? being a country?), which is i guess a smart strategy in theory but i’m sick of it and it’s not winning him any repub support anyway. he had to acknowledge the gays somehow and DADT is the safest bet right now. everybody loves gay soldiers isn’t that what like, band of brothers was about? no? i never saw it.

      • i never saw it either but I’m sure you’re right. I give a lot and I mean a lot of leniency to politicians i agree with for the bullshit they pull but I am getting pretty frustrated that the Dems having a majority in the House and Senate can’t get anything through. Already there are some refusing to run for re-election and how does one guy who drives a truck in Massachusetts intimidate an entire party?

  3. When Obama started talking about “how long are we going to wait” and stuff I seriously became ANGRY WITH RAGE. I was playing WoW with my brother and my response was to pretty much pound on the keyboard incoherently. We’ve been saying that about GLBT rights for so long, and he and his buddies keep saying “wait”… it just felt like a slap in the face.

    Yeah, cynicism is easy, but that’s because every time we open ourselves to hope, we get kicked in the face. Funny how that works.

  4. Q: Great diversity vs. created equal?
    We’re not the same. We’re not the same on the outside and we’re not the same on the inside. I guess the point is that the value of every human life is the same, we deserve the same rights the same starting point (which makes the fact that it’s the most capitalistic country in the world slightly ironic. Socialism is not communism…), but we’re NOT created equal. We have different needs, goals, values, cultures… isn’t that diversity?

  5. The part when Laneia managed to take a pee break during the small bit about DADT is like when my friend took a pee break during the only 3 minutes of plot in that god awful three hour David Bowie movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth. He almost cried. Did you?

    Obama is such a great public speaker, he makes everything sound like sunshine and rainbows. He also has very soft hands.

  6. This play by play is better than the speech. Funnier and without the clapping! I didn’t watch the speech, but apparently when Obama was talking about the anonymous funding, Alito mouthed something like “he’s wrong.” so much for impartiality!

  7. DADT is important. I’m glad he says he’ll work on it. But as the president who strictly mentioned queer folks in his acceptance speech after he won the election, I expected more. I hoped for more. And I want to get married, dammit! And just, you know, rights.

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