The Conversation

State of the Union:

The Hagel Not-Filibuster

Feb 13, 2013 1:51 PM PT

Republicans aren't going to filibuster the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. They're just going to make Democrats put 60 votes on the board to close debate. Is there a difference? Well, sort of.

A filibuster, as Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post points out, depends on a credible threat. Republicans don't have one, since several Hagel opponents--McCain, Collins, and others--don't want to filibuster a Cabinet nominee on principle (Democrats will accuse them of going along with a filibuster on Hagel regardless).

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How Obama tries to rewrite our founding texts

Feb 13, 2013 6:07 AM PT

It's a simple trick: describe something strange and radical as if it is traditional and familiar.

Obama is no longer into "transforming" America; he's into "restoring" it. From the State of the Union:

It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.

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I give Obama's speech a generous 1/10

Feb 12, 2013 9:48 PM PT

In my State of the Union preview, I listed 10 questions to which Americans had the right to demand answers. Obama only touched on one of them, briefly--namely, the rising cost of health care. He correctly pointed out that the rate of growth in health care costs has slowed, though the recession is arguably the major factor there. I'll be generous, and give him 1/10. A failing grade. But hey--Marco Rubio might need media training. So there.

Meanwhile, at Obama HQ... we await our Leader

Feb 12, 2013 7:32 PM PT

In the aftermath of the speech, the very friendly, largely white- and middle-aged crowd of Democrats at the Organizing for America gathering to watch Obama's State of the Union is gathered eagerly around a laptop computer in a pub, awaiting a national conference call from President Barack Obama to his activists.

The sound is turned down on the television, where Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is responding to the President. One of the organizers is running through a list of future events and political campaigns for people to join.

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Obama: Preschool for Everyone!

Feb 12, 2013 6:56 PM PT

This is how the left manufactures an education crisis:

"Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program," Obama lamented in his State of the Union address.

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Words, more words

Feb 12, 2013 3:39 PM PT

Another zombie groan released in advance from the State of the Union speech:

"Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.  It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth."

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