SOTU watching: report from the field

A reader writes:

I used OFA’s website to find a viewing party near me and found one in Inglewood. This area is about as close to Obama country as you’re going to find outside of Chicago.

About a dozen people gathered at a Caribbean restaurant, my sister and I being the only young people (and only Hispanics).  Prior to the speech, people were discussing their frustrations about the past year, and one attendee summarized it best: “The TEA party people got their message out, but what is our message? Why isn’t the media covering our points of view?” And therein lies OFA’s problem: a lack of coverage as a consequence of having nothing to say.

And I have to tell you, if Obama is gearing up for a fight, these folks are itching for one too. Easily, the loudest applause (and there was plenty) was when Obama said “ ..at the beginning of the last decade, the year 2000, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade.” I pretty much missed the rest of his comments because the cheers of, “that’s right!! Tell ‘em!” and “Yeah, don’t let them forget!” When the camera would pan to the Republicans, many of the attendees delighted in the stern countenances of various congressmen. Low points included the portion on trade, and there was an uncomfortable silence when Obama brought up the issue of immigration. I clapped, and others joined, but clearly that’s an issue that many African Americans have deep reservations about.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “SOTU watching: report from the field”

  1. Immigration is one of the very few issues where I take a "conservative" perspective – I think legal immigration shouldn't exceed emigration, and that real penalties on employers plus a nationwide ID card could take care of most illegal immigration. I do support amnesty for folks that have been here awhile though.

    All that said, an excellent political investment for the Dems at this point would be to push hard on legalizing immigration and amnesty. It has a neutral effect on the current election, but the Repubs are dumb enough to shoot themselves in the foot and repeat the marginalization they created for themselves in California. That could have a long term benefit.

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