State of the Union Responses


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• Shay O’Reilly: OK, so this is The Daily Iowan’s live coverage/commentary on the 2011 State of the Union. I’m Shay O’Reilly, Opinions editor.

• Shawn Gude: Hey, I’m Shawn Gude — DI columnist.

• O’Reilly: “Mindful of the empty chair” — Gabby Giffords drop in the first three minutes. If he didn’t mention it straight off the bat, I think people would talk.

• Gude: “Conflict is an ineradicable part of democracy” — you’re right, Obama.

• O’Reilly: Obama still seems to believe that a “new era of cooperation” is possible/desirable. I’m pretty sure a lot of folks disagree, both pundits & politicians.

• Gude: Sure, Obama wants bipartisan comity. But what if principles get in the way? Is bipartisanship an inherent virtue?

• O’Reilly: First full-Congress standing ovation at “out-innovating … the rest of the world.”

• O’Reilly: Question: How can we encourage innovation in our kids? What kind of an education makes our population generally more creative? If we’re emphasizing that in our economic strengths, we should encourage it with our educational policy.

• O’Reilly: I’m not sure scientific innovation is the solution to climate change; good to break reliance on other countries’ oil, but still.

• Gude: Is the much-vaunted “energy revolution” being oversold? Will the job creation really be there?

• Gude: “When education is reduced to training, the meaning of self-government is devalued and democracy is rendered meaningless.” — Henry Giroux

• Gude: Increasing the proportion of college graduates in the world — a good thing, but what will they be learning? We need to discuss curriculum as well.

• O’Reilly: Mention of undocumented students. The DI Ed Board pushed the DREAM Act last semester.

• O’Reilly: “Fix what is missing, and let’s move forward” — good advice to health-care reform critics on either side, I think.

• Gude: An anti-earmark pledge by Obama. That was unexpected.

• O’Reilly: Using the Iraq war as a touchstone of American military success is … a stretch at best, I think.

• O’Reilly: “American Muslims are a part of the American family.” Kudos on that.

• O’Reilly: Obama should come out and support the democratic popular movements in the Middle East that are happening right now.

• Gude: U.S. “supports the democratic aspirations of all people.” Mad kudos for that.

• O’Reilly: Shawn: Definitely, although we, uh, continue to support dictators when it benefits us. Egypt, say — see Secretary Clinton’s remarks earlier today about how the Egyptian government is “stable,” and people should “show restraint.”

• Gude: Egypt is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid. Ben Ali was also supported by the U.S.

• Gude: Obama’s red state-blue state spiel.

• O’Reilly: Thank you, God bless America. And we’re done.

• Gude: It was a bit anodyne. He seemed a bit chastened by the big GOP victories. Not any huge announcements.

• Gude: Pretty typical stuff — yea for entrepreneurs, yea for the military, etc. Not altogether bad but a little underwhelming.

• O’Reilly: I hope we can resurrect the DREAM Act; I’m a little unhappy with some of the bones thrown to corporate interests and militarization.

• O’Reilly: I think there were some good political moves. Challenging the GOP on health-care reform was a big one; he did it in a way that was very mature and calculated.

O’Reilly: No matter your opinions on health-care reform, it was a pretty solid choice.

Gude: I think certain members of the GOP have reasonably well-thought-out plans. I just don’t agree with them. But, at the same time, I don’t agree with a lot of the Obama-Democratic health-care.

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