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Obama Rules

Cat Scratch Fever and Groucho are no match.......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

Obama's state of the union speech was boilerplate in many ways, but he's a long game kind of guy, perfectly willing to get wheels moving on a broad front, take the wins as they happen, and increase speed and pressure with success behind him. He's changed gears since the first term and the Big Mo is with him for the time being. So how is the GOP responding? Not well.

An idiot Republican Congressman brought Ted Nugent as his guest. Nugent has come close to actual threats against the President, and is a big gun nut and a former rock star whose hits have not aged well. He is also a blatant Chicken hawk, one of those who cry for war and violence, offer opinion on the virility of those who disagree, and yet dodged the draft himself. The nation as a whole seems to be reassessing its enthusiasm for guns and the people that love them, so it was a moronic political statement to invite him.

The Republicans, who did little but devote themselves to preventing Obama a second term, writhed in their own crapulence, augmented by their demonstrated incompetence. Three conservative and Catholic Supreme Court judges did not attend at all. Scalia, Thomas, and Alito were elsewhere, as is their right, but it was a clear snub.

Obama was not above the same. During the nauseating ritual of the President working his way to the podium, grandstanding and shaking hands with Congressmen and Senators, the network anchors were discussing how Congressmen would come in hours early to get an aisle seat to shake hands with, and absorb power from, the President in an inevitable photo op. Congressmen Engle from Brooklyn was discussed as having been on the aisle since 1989 every year, and there he was again, and Obama absolutely ignored him. It was the definition of being cut dead on national television, and it's hard to know why he was so blatantly snubbed. Could be because of a possible scandal involving campaign funds or perhaps his position on Israel. Or it could have been just an awkward moment and denotes nothing. But such are the pains of politics.

Republican Speaker John Boehner looked like he had a mouthful of alum throughout the speech, and if looks could kill, Obama would have required a shield on his back. The Republicans are getting hammered, and there is little or nothing good for them down the road. The times are coming when they will have to pay the piper for their positions on the economy, and on immigration, gun control, and the wars they declared without taking the responsibility of paying for them. The President has won the battle over point of view, and the public trusts and likes him a lot, overall.

It's notable now that the President and so many others can discuss civil rights and include phrases like 'straight and gay' and nobody blinks. That's because gay rights, marriage, equality is pretty much a done deal in this nation, although with some strong religious holdouts. Still, anyone old enough to recall how slow and painful was the mental integration of races in the public mind has to be impressed, and while he was not ever the big water carrier for the movement, Obama's exacting political eye and smarts gave the correct push at the correct time and the public was, for all intents, won over. Included in that is he also knew when not to engage and when not to bring it forward. And while he was never leading the parade, he wasn't a camp follower either, and stepped forward to lead when someone had to.

He follows much the same criteria on immigration issues, sometimes pushing, sometimes stepping back so the GOP can enjoy a festival of idiot xenophobia melded with inbred bigotry and outright stupidity. To this day he wants to make sure that the past legislation offered by the GOP is included, and he praises his opponents above the norm. He can afford to.

The GOP's chosen respondent to Obama was Marcos Rubio, an supposed up and comer from Florida. Rubio, smart and personable, offered an inaccurate summation of the president's positions and then became Harpo Marx, eying a bottle of water off stage, and then became brother Groucho slinking to stage right to grab it off camera, slink back with it, while mostly eying the camera , and then drink it with good audio of his glug glug. Really? This is the GOP's rising star? True, it would have been worse if he'd dropped his pants and took a leak against the podium, but ....really?