I spent most of the night glued to Fox News. Part of this is just that MSNBC is too predictable. But mostly, I just wanted to know what the conservatives would have to say, given that I knew Obama was going to propose some things that normally would be hugely popular — even among conservatives. And I knew they would hate these proposals. So I thought it might be fun to watch them make their bold stands for the power elite. I wanted to see them explain how they truly cared about the middle class and that is why they were for more tax cuts and subsidies for the rich. Oh: and Juan Williams was there too.
The evening did not start off well. To begin with, there was no SOTU coverage until 9:00. Bill O’Reilly did his usual 8:00 show because, you know, it was only a Democratic president giving the speech — nothing important. Finally, Bret Baier came on and gave his usual biased, but somehow still vanilla introduction. And then came Nina Easton. She’s an editor at Fortune Magazine who is mostly interested in economics, but not last night! She was going on about how Obama was going to ask for approval to attack in Iraq. Fine. But she made it out like it was a big deal and that this was what the headlines would be about tomorrow. In fact, all the discussion before the speech was about ISIS and how important terrorism is and how we should be afraid — very afraid.
This was quite interesting because after the speech, Baier came back on and said that “as predicted” the president spoke little about foreign affairs and instead focusing on domestic issues. I think that was his way of saying, “Since I’m the only halfway reasonable person in this room, I want to make it clear that I always knew that what these other fools were talking about was nonsense.” Of course, in the lead-up to the speech, he didn’t counter any of that nonsense.
At this point, we got to hear from George Will who did nothing but quote a large section of the speech with a mocking tone. He really needs to retire. He is no kind of substitute for Charles Krauthammer — and you know how highly I regard him! After Will, we got Stephen Hayes who scoffed at the president’s attempt to make nice with the Republicans because he had been the most “divisive” president in history. Blah, blah, blah. Somehow, conservatives always forget that Lincoln fought the Civil War. Regardless, Hayes’ examples all came from late in his term — after the Republicans had shunned Obama at every turn. Finally, Nina Easton noted that the TTIP and TPP would grow the economy — something she can’t know because she’s never seen these secret monstrosities.
Fox News went to commercial, so I switched over to MSNBC just in time to see Steve “I’m more conservative every day hoping for a good gig in the 2016 election” Schmidt. He was arguing that ISIS was a far more important issue than public funding of child care. I suspect that’s true — for Steve Schmidt, who probably has a stay-at-home wife, but certainly has enough money to pay for child care. Gratefully, Chris Hayes countered him powerfully, noting that ISIS isn’t some kind of existential threat to the United States. Rachel Maddow, who may be suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, came to Schmidt’s defense. But the kind of fear mongering that Schmidt was doing should be left to Fox News where it belongs.
The only other thing I saw was back over on Fox News after Joni Ernst. Everyone was respectful. They all agreed that at least she didn’t awkwardly grab a bottle of water and guzzle it in the middle of her talk. But it was clear they were shell-shocked. They understand better than anyone. When you have a political movement that is based upon taking away from the poorer classes and giving it to the rich, you need people like Ernst to convince the people that you aren’t really reptiles in human costumes. But really, I think a close watching of an hour and a half of Fox News will make you think that might just be true.
Oh: and Juan Williams was there too.