united we sit

The State of the Union in Numbers

Five Longest Rounds of Applause:
• “There isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on earth.” (28 seconds)
• Obama is introduced. (27 seconds)
• Troops left Iraq with their “heads held high.” (25 seconds)
• Gabby Giffords mentioned. (24 seconds)
• “Become a teacher — your country needs you.” (21 seconds)

Four Jokes, in Descending Order of Laughter They Received:
• “The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in freshwater, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”
• “For some trips [high-speed rail] will be faster than flying — without the pat-down.”
• “Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health-care law.”
• “I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own.”

Seven References to “Winning the Future”:
• “To win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.”
• “That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future.”
• “The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.”
• “But if we want to win the future … then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”
• “If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.”
• “We cannot win the future with a government of the past.”
• “That’s how we win the future.”

One Bad Metaphor:
• “Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.”

Ten Specific Goals/Proposals:
• “Become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”
• “Eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies.”
• “By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.”
• “Over the next ten years … we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.”
• “Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.”
• “Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans.”
• Use the savings from closing tax loopholes to “to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years — without adding to our deficit.”
• I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade.”
• A website that tells you “exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent.”
• The promise to veto any bill with earmarks.

Five Inspiring Human-Interest Stories:
• The Allen brothers, roofers who volunteered to help rebuild the Pentagon after 9/11, got hit by the recession, and now produce solar shingles with the help of a government loan.
• Denver’s Bruce Randolph School was one of the worst in the country three years ago and sat on “turf between two rival gangs,” but it managed to graduate 97 percent of seniors this year, which made the principal cry.
• Kathy Proctor worked at a factory all her life until it closed down, now she’s getting a degree in biotechnology, “because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too.”
• An unnamed Sudanese man lost four brothers in war, but said this regarding the country’s recent election: “This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free.”
• Small-business owner named Brandon Fisher’s drill company helped free the Chilean miners, and he never wanted publicity for it.

Six Things Obama Directly Called Upon Congress to Do:
• Put its records of meetings with lobbyists online.
• Ratify the free-trade pact with South Korea “as soon as possible.”
• “Eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies.”
• “Make permanent our tuition tax credit — worth $10,000 for four years of college.”
• “Forge a principled compromise” to reduce the deficit.
• Pass a plan to reorganize and consolidate the federal bureaucracy.

5 Things Conservatives Might Nitpick:
• “We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.”
Because: More profligate spending on unproven science and wacky global warming theories.

• “The question is whether all of us — as citizens, and as parents — are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed. That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.”
Because: Stop telling our parents how to educate their kids, or whether to educate them at all, Big Brother.

• “I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people.”
Because: Why are you trying to kill the free market?

• “Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.
Because: Millionaire’s success = America’s success.

• “Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed.”
Because: You forgot to thank Bush.

One Line Clearly Intended to Make John Boehner Weep:
• “That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on earth.”

The State of the Union in Numbers