Cathy McMorris Rodgers (who???) delivered the Republican party's official State of the Union response last night. I'm going to go over bits and pieces that capture my attention.
"Where a girl who worked at the McDonald's drive-through to help pay for college can be with you at the state capitol."
Translation: "I've got mine. Fuck you." I say this largely because that does seem to be the conservative attitude toward people. And there is some context missing here that could be important. I worked at a McDonald's, too, to help pay for college. But I didn't really have to. I would have found a way to pay for it without doing that work. What that work perhaps did the most is helped me to have less debt after college. However, there are people out there that have little choice but to work to pay for college. What situation was she in? If I had to guess, I'd guess her experience was more so like mine. In which case, she's trying to give a false impression that she used to be struggling just like a lot of other people.
And even if she did struggle, there is such a big problem with the conservative message. Largely, there is a failure to understand math. The conservative attitude is often one of "I made it out of poverty, so you can too!" But the message totally lacks any recognition for the probability of getting out of poverty. If she did, she's one of the lucky ones and she needs to recognize this. The conservative delusion, however, is to convince themselves that they aren't lucky but rather they got out of poverty through "hard work." Every time I've tried to get a conservative to go into detail of their "hard work," I've found them to be nothing but arrogant about their own abilities.
"...People who come to America because, here, no challenge is too great and no dream too big. That's the genius of America. <New paragraph> Tonight, the President made more promises that sound good but won't actually solve the problems facing America."
*Facepalm* I highlighted what really got to me. She says that immediately after making her good sounding comments on "the genius of America." That's some serious lack of awareness there. Not to mention I have yet to here a Republican proposal that is anything but good sounding. If I hear anything in her speech, I'll be surprised.
"One that empowers you, not the government. One that champions free markets and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you"
I saw others pointing out the typical response that the exception is always women in regards to abortion. You could add other things to that list, too, though, such as LGBT rights. So, translation: "We'll empower you as long as what you decide to do matches what we want you to do. Otherwise, we will take that decision away."
"It helps working families rise above the limits of poverty."
Here is one of those good sounding bits that has nothing substantive to it. Or, what there is that is substantive, Republicans tend to oppose. For example, labor unions. Labor unions, as far as I can tell, are able to fit in to the idea of a free market. At their core, they are a way for people to come together and tell the market what they want. (Wikipedia speaks of "worker cooperatives." These are apparently a bit different than labor unions, but there appear to be many similarities.)
"They taught me to work hard..."
Yeah...I don't like where this is going... And shortly after this, she starts talking about how she saved her 4-H money. This seems to be going down this path that conservatives like to pretend that people just need to be more fiscally responsible like they are! There is a potential problem with this story, though. Again, I, too, was in 4-H having been a North Dakota farm boy, so I can see the likely flaw. First, she's getting money from the 4-H animals, but did she use her own money to invest in the animals to get to the show? Perhaps some, but I would guess that ma and pa probably chipped in a good chunk of money and didn't expect to get paid back. Second, 4-H animals, in my experience, sell for quite a bit more than actual market value. That is in part because the people buying the animals want to help these kids feel like they accomplished something. Which is great! But the problem is people like her seem to somehow completely forget that people were giving them a helping hand along the way. In other words, she wasn't successful on her own.
Although, alternatively, if they do recognize the helping hands, they'll point out that it was the community and not the government that helped them. This message is problematic in that it ignores the problem of people that don't have a community that is capable of helping them out. I.e, a poor kid in a poor neighborhood where everybody's struggling to get by so they can't offer a helping hand even if they wanted to.
"And to ensure that everyone in this country can find a job. Because a job is so much more than a paycheck. It gives us purpose, dignity, and the foundation to build a future."
Yet more good sounding stuff that's not very well connected to reality. If your job is only paying minimum wage, it simply does not give you a foundation to build a future. Being that there are a lot of people who only make minimum wage, there are a lot of people who recognize this. Some Republicans really need to step out of their bubble.
"But we also know what it's like to face challenges."
Sure. Who doesn't? If she's trying to gain sympathy or understanding, the problem is that a lot of people may face tougher challenges and face them more regularly as well.
"Cole was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome."
Well, that's unfortunate, but she must surely have some pretty good health care coverage being an elected official (not to mention a good salary). Now, try being a parent of a child with Down's that doesn't have healthcare. Now look at how many times the Republicans have tried to repeal the ACA without offering any sort of alternative.
"But when we looked at our son...we saw a gift from God."
So, hey, poor people! Even though you're struggling to make ends meet with your shitty minimum wage job, shitty health care (if any), and a child with Down's, just remember that child is a gift from God and that will make everything better. It's magic! /sarcasm. Yeah, if that's the Republican plan, is it any wonder their party has not been doing so well as of late?
She continues sending out a hidden anti-abortion message in regards to her child.
"Because our mission, not only as Republicans, but as Americans, is to once again ensure that we are not bound on where we come from..."
So we can expect Republicans to back immigration reform now??? Yeah...didn't think so.
"It's the gap we all face — between where you are and where you want to be. The president talks a lot about income inequality, but the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality."
Part of that I had seen on the news Wednesday morning. I thought then as I do now, just how stupid is she? How does she figure the two are separate things? This is much the problem I and others like me have with income inequality — it produces this "opportunity inequality." On that, as an engineer, I am not impressed. We have this concept known as "root cause analysis." I've talked about it on this blog before, so I suggest checking that link for more information. The problem here is that the "opportunity inequality" is not the root cause, it is a symptom. So when she says it is "the real gap," she's simply full of crap. She does not help her case at all when she goes into her examples. Hey, that guy working part time could probably do better if his job paid well. Or, similarly with the girl going to college, it would help if her parents had more money. Or, to go back to earlier statements, if her job at McDonalds could help pay for that better.
"Republicans have plans to close the gap."
Of course, we'll likely never see those plans.
"And, yes, it's time to honor our history of legal immigration."
Here's more good sounding stuff. Republicans have been fighting against this. Are we seriously supposed to believe Republicans are going to turn things around here in 2014?
"...making sure America will always attract the best, brightest, and hardest working from around the world."
Again, actions speak louder than words. Republican actions, particularly in areas of science (funding of and promotion of creationism, for example), display the exact opposite.
"We have solutions to help you take home more of your pay. Through lower taxes..."
*facepalm* Really? Need I remind everyone about Romney's 47% comments? Or other Republicans complaining about too many people not paying any federal income taxes? If my taxes are already 0, how are you going to get them any lower? The only thing they can do at that point is give people money. But that would be a "handout," which are bad.
She then goes on to mention cheaper energy costs. What? Through subsidizing the oil and coal industries, by chance? Because you can't touch that hippy solar stuff!
Or affordable health care. See above — where have the Republican plans been thus far? She then says, "No, we shouldn't go back to the way things were." OK, but I've only seen the Republicans try to repeal the ACA. Isn't that exactly what repealing it would do? (Go back to the way things were?)
"We advance these plans everyday."
Really? I've never seen them. (Does she really mean "plans," or is she getting confused with "goals"? Those mean two different things, but people confuse them all the time.)
"I ask him to listen to you."
Bit of advice, Republicans, you need to stop believing you represent the majority of the people. You don't. I know, I know. You got all those Tea Party wackos elected back in 2010, which has you believing that you do indeed represent the majority. You need to realize that was likely a fluke. You caught people off guard, tricking them into thinking you had a bunch of political "outsiders" that the people wanted. At this point, the con has been well revealed. You can't pull the same stunt again. (But, then, I think Republicans darn well know this — that's why they are fighting for voter ID laws and gerrymandered districts. But why then turn around and tell themselves they represent the majority?)
Overall, I still get a kick out criticizing Obama for making promises that "sound good," but then does nothing more than that herself. The religious sentiments at the end weren't helping her at all, either. If the Republican plan is to pray??? We're fucked!