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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Indiana

Obama State of the Union 2.0: Cheesehead Edition

democrat president Obama in Wisconsin 1-26-11 at Orion Energy

Fresh from his 62-minute State of the Union oration, President Obama flew out to Wisconsin today to wave and repeat his opening 2012 campaign message of investing instead of spending. If you don't know the difference, that's perfect.

Innovation is also a big theme of the Democrat nowadays. It's positive, optimistic and means he doesn't have to talk specific cuts, which he hopes to force House Republicans to do first and set themselves up as targets.

Obama spoke for only 17 minutes at Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, enough to praise innovation, winning the future and sucking it up in tough times, which Americans are good at, he said. And which they better be good at these days, he didn't say.

Of course the president, who's actually a Pittsburgh Steelers backer, made the obligatory...

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The laundry list from Obama's non-laundry-list State of the Union address

president Obama in his SOTU 1-25-11

Of all the major political events en route in coming weeks and months -- President Obama's budget, the Republicans' budget, the debt ceiling fight and the continuing budget resolution -- this State of the Union stuff is the least important.

Thanks to today's media saturation, appointment political events like such speeches to Congress, presidential news conferences and debates garner way too much attention beforehand. It's like good Kansas City BBQ: The anticipation is exquisite. It's great going down. But two days later you're hungry again.

So, a stipulation up front: Obama's 2011 State of the Union address, all 6,200+ words of it, won't matter a whit by Monday. We're chewing on it this morning. TV will have ....

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State of the Union addresses: So many words for so little action; Tonight, Barack Obama tries again

President Ronald Reagans state of the union 1988

A president's State of the Union address has by tradition come around halfway to spring on the American calendar, nearly coinciding with another regular rite of winter, Groundhog Day. One event involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of lesser intelligence for prognostication, while the other involves a groundhog. Hey-yoh.

As standard practice as the rhetorical ritual has become, the Constitution actually requires no such address. Article 2 Section 3 simply says: "The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Nothing in there about primetime on a Tuesday evening preempting "NCIS," with days of preceding news leaks.

Two hundred twenty-one years and two weeks ago George Washington actually ....

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels: 'Doing the people's business while living within the people's means'

Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels on his motorcycle, file

This is the season for State of the Whatever speeches, when elected officials are required to report to a joint session of the legislature and voters on, well, the state of whatever they are running.

We will, of course, have full coverage here of President Obama's State of the Union address on the evening of Jan. 25, including the full text as always.

But in coming weeks we've also decided to publish here some select State of the State addresses by the nation's governors, the politicians on the front lines of democracy, to use a violent analogy. Hopefully, this will not only combat the D.C.-centric nature of our country's political news, but also give Ticket readers a flavor for the variety and depth of the problems being addressed by elected folks closer to home. And the solutions being tested and applied by the state chief executives with little national attention.

Our first State if the State was from Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, completing his first full year in office. That speech is available here.  Both this morning's speaker, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and Christie are interesting given the widespread admiration within....

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delighted with a whopping 66% income tax hike; you'll never guess his party

Illinois' delighted Democrat governor Pat Quinn gets 66% tax hike

If you were thinking of moving to Illinois, hold off until you read this. It's one of those quintessentially Illinois political stories that prompt laughter -- unless you live there.

The newly elected Gov. Pat Quinn (shown above with the pleased grin) is so happy this morning. Why? Because his obedient state Legislature just voted an income tax increase on those dumb saps who elected him in November.

Wait for it: The income tax increase is 66% !! And even that additional $6.8 billion sucked out of the state's private economy isn't anywhere near enough to cover the state's spending hole that could be as large as $15 billion.

Quinn says this tax measure, which will cost a family of four earning $50,000 around $1,000 more annually, was necessary because his state government needs the ....

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'This is why the American people have thrown you out of power:' Rep. Steve Buyer

California Democrat House speaker Nancy PelosiIn case anyone thought the ongoing lame duck session of Congress would be absent political confrontations, here's Exhibit A for Not.

A little video clip courtesy of a feed from the national treasure C-SPAN from Monday's session of a nearly-deserted House of Representatives. (Scroll down for video after reading.)

Come January, the legislative chamber will be run by the new old Speaker John Boehner, presiding over the GOP majority bulked up by 63 new R's elected to Dem seats during Nov. 2's midterm elections.

Ohioan Boehner has promised a new openness in running the chamber where all financial legislation originates. We heard those kinds of promises two Januarys ago when Democrats took over D.C..

But for now the House is still run by Nancy Pelosi's depressed Democrats and her designees.

Monday, the presiding speaker was California's Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson.

When Indiana Republican Rep. Steve Buyer sought recognition to speak for....

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Joe Biden update: The guy's getting old, bless him

Saturday was Joe Biden's birthday. He completed his 68th year.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Vice President.Democrat vice president Joe Biden

That makes Biden fully 19 years older than his boss again.

By the time Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, rolls around, JB will be about to start Year 71, almost the advanced age that so totally disqualified John McCain from being in position to become the nation's chief executive. But, of course, being a Republican, different rules apply there.

Joe, as we call him, says that Barack, as he calls the president of the United States, has already asked him to be on the Democratic ticket next time. And that's probably true -- today. Today is also about 20 months before the party's convention in Scranton or somewhere.

So there's a lot of time for Barack to change Joe's mind.

Tomorrow Joe is taking Barack with him to Kokomo to talk more economy at an automotive transmission plant belonging to Chrysler, which hopes next year to pull the same kind of IPO on investors as GM just did.

It's Thanksgiving week and more than 40 million Americans will....

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Weekly remarks: Obama on more American jobs; Mike Pence says U.S. debt now $44,000 per person

Happy Democrat president Barack Obama relaxes in the Oval Office

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House  

After a decade of hardship for middle class families, and a recession that wiped away millions of jobs, we are in the middle of a tough fight to rebuild this economy and put folks back to work.

Winning this fight will not depend on government alone. It will depend on the innovation of American entrepreneurs; on the drive of American small business owners; on the skills and talents of American workers. These are the people who will help us grow our economy and create jobs.

But government still has an important responsibility. And that’s to create an environment in which someone can raise capital to start a new company; where a business can get a loan to expand; where ingenuity is prized and folks are rewarded for their hard work.

That’s why I fought so hard to pass a jobs bill to cut taxes and make more loans available for entrepreneurs.  It eliminated the capital gains taxes for key investments in small ...

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Indiana Republican Rep. Souder resigns over affair -- the same Souder who preached abstinence

Indiana Republican Mark Souder at hearing where Congress grilled Toyota officials for problems with accelerator pedals Feb. 24, 2010 by AP Photo
Just say no, congressman. Or perhaps we should say, Just say no, Congress.

Mark Souder is a conservative Republican from Indiana who came to Congress in 1994 as part of Newt Gingrich's revolution, toppling Democrats from power in the House for the first time in 40 years.

When Republicans ran the House, Souder was, as the Washington Post put it, "a warrior for abstinence-only sex education and a critic of other forms of sex education."

Tuesday he resigned from office, giving Democrats an unexpected chance to pick up a seat (Tom Hayhurst gave Souder a scare last time). That's an unexpected opening in a year when conservative anger is fueling voter distrust of Washington.

Confessing to an affair with an aide, the married Souder tried to blame political opponents -- much as former New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa did when he resigned over inappropriate licking of an aide. Then, Massa blamed the Obama White House for leaking the story to punish him for opposing healthcare reform.

Similarly, in a statement Tuesday, Souder said:

I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff. In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process.... By stepping aside, my mistake cannot be used as a political football in a partisan attempt to undermine the cause for which I have labored all my adult life.

This is the same Souder who grilled Toyota executives at a hearing Feb. 24 over failures in the firm's braking system.

I suppose hypocrisy is just another word for Congress.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo:Souder at a congressional hearing questioning Toyota officials. Credit: Associated Press

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What Evan Bayh's retirement really says about Obama's Washington

Retiring Indiana Democrat Senator Evan Bayh

For all of its eloquence and admirable candor, the unusual retirement statement (see video below) by Indiana's Democrat Sen. Evan Bayh also revealed a stunningly keen grasp of the obvious -- for millions of Americans watching the playground antics of the elected clowns in D.C. with bipartisan head-shaking.

"For some time," Bayh said, "I've had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should. There is much too much partisanship and not enough progress; too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving. Even at a time of enormous national challenge, the people's business is not getting done."

No kidding? He's a real Sherlock Holmes.

It's no diminishment of the long years of successful public service and politics in a Republican state by Democrats Bayh and his....

...father, Birch, to point out that well back in the last century another former Democratic governor, named Jimmy Carter, campaigned to bring fresh air to the federal swamp. That worked out so well that voters sent Republicans to the White House for the next 12 years.

Ross Perot was an outsider. So was Bill Clinton of Arkansas. George W. Bush of Texas campaigned to change the tone in Washington.

Why? Because, despite the utter silliness of one person promising to change a city's political culture, polls....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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