SOTU: Quack, Quack, Quack


Ron Fournier:

A Pen, a Phone, and a Flailing President

For months, the White House and its allies mocked critics of Barack Obama’s leadership, arguing that no president has “Green Lantern” superhero powers. Now these same people are predicting that Obama can salvage his agenda by waving a magical “pen and phone.”

The contradiction illustrates how far partisans will go to defend a flailing presidency, grasping at slogans and insults as a growing majority of Americans tune out. We witnessed a similar drama under President Bush, who set a low bar for public approval that Obama is close to matching.

More than that, Obama’s plan to exert executive branch authority, starting with his State of the Union address, further illustrates his unfamiliarity with the levers of political power, the limits of his leadership style, and the vast amount of time and potential squandered by the president so far.

“We need to assure the American people that we can get something done either through Congress or on our own because what they want are answers,” White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“He is going to look in every way he can with his pen and his phone to try to move the ball forward,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re putting an extra emphasis on it in 2014.”

I won’t be watching Obama read the State of the Union address tonight. Among the many reasons for that decision is that the chances of him saying anything truly newsworthy are slim and none. I could probably write a review of his speech right now and it would prove to be pretty accurate.

There are a whole bunch of people discussing Obama’s threat/promise to assert dictatorial powers. I want to talk about something else.

This is a really radical idea, but maybe Obama should spend the next three years trying to be the best lame duck he can. He’s the President of the United States, and he’s gonna hold that job for another 36 months.

What if he just tried to be a competent executive from now until he leaves office? No agenda, no big ideas, just take care of running the federal government the way it should be run.

Honestly, do we really need any more new laws? How about if we try enforcing the ones we already have? There is a huge federal bureaucracy that could use some managerial attention. Leave legislating to Congress and interpreting the law to the courts.

I got this idea from my mom. She spent 35 years as the secretary to the city manager of Merced. We have a part-time mayor and city council that do the politicking, speechifying and legislating. The city manager is a full time employee who actually runs the government. He’s the “chief executive”. We could use somebody like that in Washington DC these days.

I know, I’m not being realistic. It is Obama’s destiny to remake the world in his own image. He’s too important to waste his awesome abilities on mundane things like making government function.

So anyway, I’ll be watching the latest episode of Justified tonight. What will you be doing?


About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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113 Responses to SOTU: Quack, Quack, Quack

  1. votermom says:

    Eliza Doolittle sums up all Obama’s speeches

    • DeniseVB says:

      Good one ! The original “Niles” and “Daphne” 😀 Saw this in concert last spring at Lincoln Center and it was Ahhh-mazing. Trivia: the actor who played Prof. Higgins’ friend in the version I saw, is the real father of the actress “Haley” in Modern Family.

      Ok, back to the SOTU…… 😉

      • votermom says:

        When I was a kid I once had all the songs in My Fair Lady memorized. Love that movie.

        • DeniseVB says:

          I read where NBC’s picked Peter Pan for their next live musical. The producer said his “dream” casting is Myley Cyrus to play Pan. I can see that if she brought her Hannah Montana game 😀

        • elliesmom says:

          We took my daughter to see Sandy Duncan in Peter Pan on Broadway when she was just a little thing. Cemented her love of the musical stage for life. Gave her tickets to take her son to see Mary Poppins. Another one hooked. Into the Woods is playing on the Lyric Stage in Boston this spring. I might take my granddaughter to see the first act. She’ll be almost 3. I dunno if that’s too young. Not a huge investment if it is, but I want her to like it.

        • 49erDweet says:

          Elliesmom, if grandma likes it so will she – if she’s anything like my Boss-of-the-World.

  2. driguana says:

    Love this from the new Dinesh D’Souza movie trailer for his upcoming 4th of July release “America”…

    “To love our country,
    Our country should be lovely.” Edmund Burke

    Maybe Obama could go around the country for the next 36 months reminding everyone what a lovely country we have and how lovely we could actually be to each other. Become President Feelgood!

    Oh, right….he and the progressives don’t believe that….dang.

    • DeniseVB says:

      As someone mentioned before, if this is political payback it could backfire. That which doth not kill D’Souza will make him stronger. 😀

  3. Lulu says:

    He doesn’t work. He talks. He has never worked. He blabs. One of the hallmarks of his thin resume is he stayed just long enough for everyone to start getting tired of his blabbing. Then he would move on. The biggest mistake he has made in his life is running and winning a second term. He has never stuck around long enough for most everyone to get thoroughly sick and bored with his bullshit until now. The SOTU ratings will be tiny. More people will be watching the Weather Channel.

  4. votermom says:

  5. votermom says:

    OT LOL

  6. Somebody says:

    Perhaps I’m dense but the threats that he will rule by executive decree always include that he has a pen and a phone. I understand the pen…..he’ll sign an executive order. What is the purpose of announcing he has a phone? What is he threatening to do with the phone?

    He’s going to text nasty, taunting messages to leaders in Congress? Blackmail messages to members of SCOTUS, should they think of reigning him in? He’s going to tweet out photos of the executive orders he signed? He’s going to use it to call Batman? I don’t know? Why is the phone always mentioned?

    • Lulu says:

      Since his signature looks like a thirteen year old “artistic” girl’s John Hancock, I hate to think what he would do with a phone. It is WH PR blather to make him sound like a hipster mover and shaker which he isn’t.

    • Anthony says:

      What is the purpose of announcing he has a phone?

      My sense of humor wants to say “He’s letting us know he’s going to ‘phone it in” again”, but I suspect he’s trying to say that he’s going to call some of his minions to carry out his orders rather than actually roll his sleeves up and work with Congress.

    • lyn says:

      Phones are what the masses use and understand.

  7. DeniseVB says:

    LOL, preview of SOTU from the IJR:

    “My fellow Americans blah blah blah blah blah blah ME blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ME blah blah blah blah ME blah blah blah blah GOVERNMENT MUST blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah EVIL TEA PARTY blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah LET ME BE CLEAR blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah EVIL REPUBLICANS blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah TAXES ARE TOO LOW blah blah blah blah blah blah blah I SUPPORT ISRAEL blah blah blah blah INCOME INEQUALITY blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah NEW IDEAS blah blah blah blah blah blah blah EVIL RICH blah blah blah blah OBAMACARE IS WORKING blah blah blah blah blah blah I blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ME blah blah ME blah blah blah blah blah blah (LONG PAUSE) blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah OBAMACARE IS WORKING blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah GOVERNMENT CAN blah blah blah blah blah blah blah YOU NEED ME blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah I WILL DO WHAT I WANT IN-SPITE OF CONGRESS blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah CARING blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah CHANGE blah blah blah blah blah blah blah TOMORROW WILL BE GREAT blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah (REPEAT 259 TIMES)”

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Via Chicks on the Right, MichelleO’s fundraising letter that wants $10 to help save Obamacare !? Do their supporters have any money left?

  9. votermom says:

    • DeniseVB says:

      Retweeted ! There will be others? Heard about the GOP and TP responses, but there’s another one too? Libertarian?

      Had to laugh when I saw someone refer to O’s speech as the State of the Onion 😀

    • Lulu says:

      EVERYONE is giving a “response”. It is like everyone wants to sass him and not let him have the last word anymore. I would give one too (a big raspberry or “the horse you rode in on” or yo mama) from my front porch but it is too cold.

  10. Constance says:

    It still gets dark before 5pm around here so I will probably be inside during the SOTU. I TIVOed a bunch of “Murder she Wrote” because it reminds me of my mother so maybe I will watch one of those and get my knitting back on track. Whatever, I will NOT be watching Obama.

    • DeniseVB says:

      We’re sitting on a 5-10 inch snow potential within the next 24 hours. For our area, we’re all going to die!!! (well, according to the local news). But there will be power outages because our local drivers are strangely attracted to power line poles and transformer boxes. Fingers crossed our Verizon/Fios box’s battery backup holds so I can stay online to whine about S.N.O.W. 😀

      • Lulu says:

        Sounds familiar. It sleeted a 1/4 inch and schools are closed. But if they didn’t close them forty kids would be killed in a bus accident sliding off an overpass that was closed already but the cones were stolen. And it is true that power poles have magnetic devices that attract cars sliding on ice. I know this for a fact as I have seen it happen. And the car was going backwards. With the brakes on.

        • DeniseVB says:

          Oh yeah. Local school kids were let out early today, the first flake is yet to fall. Our local news just went into 24/7 mode, oh this is going to hurt POTUS’ SOTU ratings 😉

      • Mt.Laurel says:

        Good luck. I am sure the newscasters are predicting something just short of Armageddon.

        Having lived in Eastern VA, they would panic where a snow flake was seen at 10,000 feet. If snow actually hit the ground, they would raid the beach for sand and everything would be canceled for a dusting. My boss was turned back from I-64 on more than one occasion because the road was closed with an inch of snow and multiple pile ups.

        Does Virginia Beach still have only two snow plows? They used to have to stay together in case one got stuck.

        It was nice, I had more snow days there than I got in my first 25 years in western PA.

        • The Klown says:

          We’re hoping for some precipitation this week. A fog or heavy dew would be a welcome improvement. If we don’t get some spring rains I won’t be able to water my lawn this summer. They’ll cut back water usage 60% – that leaves drinking, cooking, washing dishes, laundry and bathing. As for the toilet, “Yellow is mellow, if it’s Brown, flush it.”

        • DeniseVB says:

          LOL Mt.L, the last Snowmageddon was in 1980 here, we didn’t have a Weather Channel or other 24/7 news at the time so we were less panicked. I think we have 4 plows now and we still have problems, they’re recruiting other kinds of truck to spill “brine” on the roads now. It’s like what you soak your holiday turkey in *smh*.

        • Mt.Laurel says:

          LOL,They also use brine on those Smithfield country hams!

          I just missed the 1980 fun. As I recall the (Real*) Weather Channel was up and running for Hurricane Gloria.

          *Before it was taken over by (MS)NBC and morphed into another purveyor of fake reality programing and became obsessed with Global Warming.

      • lorac1 says:

        But there will be power outages because our local drivers are strangely attracted to power line poles and transformer boxes.


      • Constance says:

        Good luck with the snow. Here is a video of Seattle people trying to drive in snow while their neighbors wander around aimlessly drinking coffee in the street.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      I will be watching a Movie I DVR’d 🙂

  11. DandyTIger says:

    I’m afraid I won’t be able to watch. I have to do my hair.

  12. leslie says:

    When I finally get home from work tonight, I will have just enough time to watch three episodes of Justified, Season 2, before I go to bed. I started streaming it on Amazon and LOVE it. Season 2 is awesome.
    If anything happens to my electricity tonight due to the sub-zero temps we are experiencing, I’ll read by candlelight.

  13. helenk3 says:

    tonight will be a ROKU night at my house. such a wide variety of things to watch other than backtrack.
    just started watching the series MI5. one thing I love about ROKU i get to see series that I missed due to working odd hours

    • leslie says:

      Hey Helen,
      How do you like the ROKU? How long have you been using it? Is it wireless?

      • piper says:

        Roku is wonderful and wifi although you have to plug it into an outlet and TV set. We also have a Samsung smart TV so we have streamed many shows. Currently watching Dexter, Season 1 – will be able to stream all 8 seasons which we never saw due to us being cheapskates and refusing to pay for Showtime.

  14. helenk3 says:

    off topic

    this is a case to watch. it will have far reaching effects either way it is decided

  15. helenk3 says:

    a good way to make money in this weather. get these put them on your truck and go

  16. The Klown says:

    Ho Lee Gee Suss!

    “Every time he says ‘folks,’ drink. Every time he says ‘fair share,’ drink. Every time he says ‘extraordinary,’ drink. Every time he brags about working tirelessly, drink. When he frets about lack of compromise, drink. If he says, ‘Bring me a bill, and I’ll sign it,’ drink. When he brings up the middle class, the people he’s ruining, drink. Every time he says, ‘It’s the right thing to do,’ drink. Every time he cites someone that his policies have helped, drink. If she’s in the audience, drink some more. Every time he says, ‘I never said it would be easy,’ drink. If he says that after mentioning ObamaCare, drink again. If he says ObamaCare’s rough start was worth it, drink. And every time he reminds us that running a country is really hard, say, ‘Yeah, we can tell,’ and drink … Finally, each time you feel like you’re being screwed, drink. And if you still buy anything from this gas bag, then you deserve the world’s worst hangover, and enjoy it, ‘cause you built that.”

    That’s not a drinking game, that’s alcohol poisoning!

  17. votermom says:

    Gotta go on an errand & it’s 12F out. Brrr.

    • The Klown says:

      It’s almost 70 degrees outside right now.

      • 49erDweet says:

        We had our “usual” morning fog until it burned off and went to 70° today. I think this means our “normal” pattern is resuming and the Pacific High has been broken. Maybe rain next week just in time for the AT&T Pebble Beach National ProAm?

    • foxyladi14 says:

      11 below here. my pipes froze. 😦

      • insanelysane says:

        Water expands when it freezes. When the pipes thaw,you could see cracked fittings and valves. Look for leaks.

        Here in Northern Calif, we rarely freeze, so everybody has plumbing on top of the ground. Back in 1989 we had the 75 year freeze. A day after the cold blast ended was a Sunday and thousands of us found busted well head valves , and standing pipes blasting water. Most plumbing stores were closed and all plumbers on overtime.

        Exciting times.

    • piper says:

      2 below with windchills of 22 below. And boo hoo – need to put out both garbage and recycling barrels tonight for early morning pick-ups.

  18. The Klown says:
  19. The Klown says:
  20. The Klown says:
  21. The Klown says:
  22. wmcb says:

    I’m pretty much just enjoying ignoring politics these days. Amazing how many books you can read, how much family time you can spend, when you stop giving a shit about the powers that be. Let it burn. Empires always fail – and America began failing the day, many decades ago now, when they stepped away from federalism and decided that they could play with fire (a centralized state) and not get burned.

    They were wrong. And the accumulations of power and the jockeying for power over various voting blocks (usually through control of messaging and culture) is doing what it always does, has always done, and will always do: devolve to an ever-expanding bureaucracy that will ineveitably choke the nation.

    Limited govt works. But it only works so long as the majority of the populace understands what it is, and why it’s the best hope. Once the majority of the populace no longer thinks that way, you’re fucked.

    I’m not an activist of any sort anymore. I’m done. I’m an observer, and a survivor.

    • The Klown says:

      Empires don’t just fall overnight. They rot from within over decades – even centuries – until one good external push makes them topple over.

      We’re still the biggest dog on the block.

      • wmcb says:

        Oh, I agree that we are still the big dog. When I say “inevitable and always”, I don’t mean in my lifetime, or even my kids lifetime. But barring some massive change in the people of the USA, in their entire worldview, then any return to our earlier federalism is a pipe dream. The USA as we knew it is done. What comes after, and when? I have no idea.

  23. helenk3 says:

    if you must watch the SOTU tonight, this is the only way to do so

  24. helenk3 says:

    as usual Maxine gets it right

  25. tpcelt says:

    Unless the orator is particularly inspirational, the only important thing about the SOTU is the identification of the topics included in the speech. The speech really can’t go on forever, so there has to be a priortization of the issues addressed. A president may be interested in rhetorical flourishes, but the SOTU signals what he is really interested in.

  26. tpcelt says:

    Correction: ‘…the topics included in the SOTU….’

    A president may have other agenda items, but the SOTU topics are the ones that will be definitely & publically addressed by his administration….and you can get the gist of those in the next day’s news coverage.

  27. westcoaster says:

    Palin wrote about McCain yesterday on Facebook. I like the last paragraph: “We live in a time of diminishing virtues because of societal influence towards total self-centeredness. This is unfortunate and makes raising families, conducting business, and governing that much more challenging. I know how important the virtue of loyalty is because in politics it’s pretty much nonexistent. I stand on that most important virtue and answer those asking today: “Yes, I am proud to have been asked to run with him in 2008, and he is my friend.””

    • westcoaster says:

      Speaking of McCain’s past, one of the comments was by Bill Faust: “I served aboard the USS Forrestal in Vietnam with John McCain and this exactly the way I remember seeing him. On July 29th 1967 we had a horrible fire on the Forrestal that killed 134 young and courageous sailors and wounded 161 of us. I understand Senator McCain had the option to rotate home with the ship but instead volunteered to take the place of one of the A-4 pilots on the USS Oriskany that was due to go home. It was during this tour that he was shot down over North Vietnam and captured. He may do some things in his political life that are not liked by some but he is one hell of an American and I would serve in combat with him again tomorrow.”

      • The Klown says:

        He had the chance to go home early from the POW jail he was held in too. The NV were releasing our captured troops in dribs and drabs based on when they were captured but they were going to move McCain to the front of the line because his father was a Navy admiral.

        He refused, and waited his turn.

  28. The Klown says:
  29. wmcb says:

    I won’t be watching the Greatest Speech Evah version 45.7, but I’ll read the snark and liveblogs.

    • The Klown says:

      If all else fails I have DVR, DVD and VHS options.

      Or I might just take an after-dinner nap.

      • wmcb says:

        I’m reading and watching some show on luxury houseboats. If I had millions and built a custom houseboat, I’d include zombie-proof storm shutters that rolled down, and an armory. These rich assholes have gotten way too soft, and it will bite them in the ass during the alien invasion. The rich drug dealers will probably survive – they know from security and an armed compound (aka “the Keep”) Very feudal, those drug kingpins.

  30. helenk3 says:

    I guess reading something before you sign your name to it , is no longer important in DC.

    I was always told to read something and understand it before I signed my name. but that is just me

  31. swanspirit says:

    I am watching STAND BY ME . I haven’t seen it in years . It reminds me of my idea about Obama . The idea that he lacks the genuine American kid experience . He just doesn’t understand us. Not to mention he thinks he is better than us. . I am certain he thinks he is “ahead of his time” and that the proles just don’t understand or appreciate him . I wouldn’t be surprised if he said as much , out loud in the SOTU.

  32. The Klown says:
  33. westcoaster says:

    Putin still beats Obama in corruption- $51 billion for Olympics

  34. The Klown says:

    I am turning off my TV and computer and taking a nap for the next couple hours. I doubt I will miss anything.

  35. helenk3 says:

    ok who won the drinking game?

  36. The Klown says:

    “I just farted”

    “Knock it off!”

  37. wmcb says:

    Heeey….. heard President Hopey Changiness tonight talked about starting up govt IRA’s! Let’s see, we had a tech bubble that looted a ton of us, then a real estate bubble that looted a lot more of us, so, what’s left for them to bubble and cash out (with the little guy left holding the bag)? IRA’s sounds like a plan! Because really, the govt getting in bed with the financiers to create new “markets” and rig the game to herd lots and lots of people into that new “market” has always turned out so very well for Joe Blow, right?

    Baby, you ain’t seen broke yet. They will squeeze the last red cent and the last fecking job out of the real economy before they EVER admit they have been venal and reckless and WRONG for decades, and fess up and take their medicine (which would be painful for all of us, not just the rich). Nope, just find another venue to prop up the charade. This is beyond a house of cards, folks. Our “economy” right now consists of nothing more than high stakes Jenga.

    • The Klown says:

      Hey, the govt IRA’s will be federally insured – what could possibly go wrong?

      • wmcb says:

        The sad thing is that if, in 2008, there had been a genuine cleanup and reset of the economy, it would have been briefly HORRIBLE, but with a fast recovery on a clean slate. Instead they (both parties) chose to go the kick the can and coverup route to save the asses of the big financiers and their own political asses. And now? Now the debt monster is three times the size. There will be no easy exit from this. What was possible (painful, but possible) in 2008 may not even be an option now.

        Sorry to be on the DOOM kick lately, but I calls ’em like I sees ’em. No exit. We are done – it’s just a matter of time and how soft or hard the landing is.

        • wmcb says:

          Exponential curves don’t care. Exponential curves don’t give a shit. Math is so un-fucking-ideological that it’s not even funny.

        • Lulu says:

          The speech was a bunch of fiddle faddle and piddle. It is clear to all but his most invested acolytes that Obama doesn’t have a clue OR is completely impotent. Small man, small intellect, small heart in a big office that is swallowing him. He is now the bait on the fishhook wiggling around waiting to be gobbled up. Shame on those who promoted this non-entity upon the country. He has gone from saving the planet and the masses to he has a pen. Prezzy hipster has a pen! The electorate has a big ass shredder and it is called an election.

  38. Angry BG Eternal says:

    Amazing. After all these years you are still on Obama. I thought it would end when he won two terms and proved you wrong twice.

    Oh well. I guess there is a point. I gues.

    Upside: Go Hillary! She has my vote.

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