Pundit Wire

The State of the Union is Stranger

SOTU 2013

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Thank you. Please, everybody, have a seat. Turn off your iPhones, you can watch the Dorner coverage later. That means you, Joe.

My fellow Americans, 51 years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that, “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power, but partners for progress. It is my task to report the State of the Union. To improve it is the task of us all.”

(APPLAUSE)

Those were eloquent words. And they were not mine. Rather than say something original that will be remembered half a century from now, I thought I would quote a better president.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight, there is much progress to report. Thanks to the continuing recession, our health care costs are falling, illegal immigration is slowing, and greenhouse gases are at a five-year low.

(APPLAUSE)

Thanks to continuing indecision about our role in the world, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.

(APPLAUSE)

Together we have soaked up the oil slick of fear and plugged the gusher of despair. As a result, the State of the Union is stranger.

(APPLAUSE)

But we have many unfinished tasks. I made a promise that if you play hard and work the rules, you can get ahead. And I intend to keep that promise.

(APPLAUSE)

The American people don’t expect government to solve any problem. We have worked hard to lower these expectations. Working together, in a bipartisan manner, we can lower them even further.

(APPLAUSE)

The American people do, however, expect us to compromise our values and principles when it is in our best interests. Many of you are anxious to do so.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me start with the national debt. Over the last few years, both parties have reduced the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.

(LAUGHTER)

Yes, we had to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, as well as non-Senators. It was bitter medicine. But the patient is recovering.

(APPLAUSE)

Now we need to finish the patient off. The question is, how? Some in Congress say we cannot afford to spend any more money. Let’s look at the facts. For every dollar we spend here in Washington, more than thirteen dollars in debt is produced. Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t afford NOT to spend this money.

(APPLAUSE)

Folks, we cannot cut our way out of a recession. So let’s make the recession permanent. If we work together, I know we can do it.

(APPLAUSE)

The biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. It is also why NCIS is the number one show in America. I vow to you today that I will stop this aging, permanently, by the end of my term.

(APPLAUSE)

On Medicare, I am prepared to take actions that will allow me to use the words “bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission” without enacting any of its reforms.

(APPLAUSE)

Let us turn to immigration. I believe immigration should be safe, legal and rare. But we must create a responsible pathway to earned citizenship. We have nearly 12 million undocumented people in this country. So I will be giving them documents.

(APPLAUSE)

Make no mistake, there will be tough penalties. They will have to go to the back of the line at the DMV. They will have to learn English or Spanish. And, most importantly, they will have to vote.

(APPLAUSE)

That brings me to the issue formerly known as gun control. Folks, we must get these weapons of war off the streets. If not for me, then for the families of Newtown. And for the family of Hadiya Pendleton, a young girl who was shot and killed just a mile from my house in Chicago. Won’t you please do it for her.

(APPLAUSE)

We will find and prosecute the people who committed this heinous crime. Tonight, I announce a program to offer free medical care, including emergency room care, to anyone giving local law enforcement reliable information on gang members who murder young people. This new program, “Snitches Get Stitches,” will be piloted in 14 cities.

(APPLAUSE)

On education, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. And I propose working with the NEA to make high-quality elementary, middle and high schools off-limits to poor families living in dangerous neighborhoods, like Hadiya’s. Because it’s the right thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

Finally, let us talk about global climate change. We can no longer deny that it is affecting our weather patterns. Just this evening, a cabin in Big Bear, California, exploded into flames.

(APPLAUSE)

We can choose to believe that a big rainy storm, and a bad drought, and forest fires all happening in the same year is a coincidence. Or we can believe the overwhelming judgment of science and use that as an excuse to shut down industry and end our way of life before it’s too late.

(APPLAUSE)

The American people want us to put the nation’s interests before party. So do I. Except when it comes to confirming Republican Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. On that, I ask Republicans to please put party first.

(APPLAUSE)

As Americans, we may do different jobs and wear different uniforms. I myself was once a community organizer. Hey, all work has dignity.

(APPLAUSE)

But we all share the same proud title: we are citizens. Except for you, Sen. Rubio. Never tell us there is something we cannot do. We split the atom! We mapped the human genome! We got our TV remote working again after Sasha spilled Sunny D on it!

(APPLAUSE)

In closing, God bless you, God bless America, and I’ve been told that Chris Dorner has been surrounded but not yet captured.

John K. Herr is a Washington D.C.-based speechwriter and standup comedian (stage name “Herricane”). He has written for three governors and four Cabinet secretaries, and wrote jokes for President George W. Bush. He can be reached by email (jherricane@cox.net), or follow him on Twitter (@jherricane).

Print Friendly
This entry was posted in General, Political Rhetoric, U.S. and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.