Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Oh, dear God!

    What a bunch of BS.

    Even his fellow dimmiecrats were hard pressed to applaud.

  • JohnW

    I thought the opening part was great, citing all the examples of things ordinary people in different walks of life have done and are doing to recover from the Great Recession, ending with the punchline — the question is whether D.C. is going to help or hinder that progress. The part on the health care law was strong, in my opinion. He made a very strong strategic argument about the need for us to get off a permanent war footing, which plays into the hands of the extremists. And he told the Israel lobby in Congress (both Dems and Repubs) what they could do with their effort to impose new sanctions on Iran while we are in the middle of finding out if they are serious about a long-term deal on nukes.

  • Elwood

    Gee, John, we must have heard different SOTU speeches. I’ve heard sixty-some of those things and they’re all the same BS.

    I’ll be interested to see if anyone else was using the same filter you were using.

  • MichaelB

    The “punchline” is that Obama just wants more of the same (hindering) “progressive” policies going forward that have not worked. Has someone else been the President for the last five years? I guess Bush is still to blame for things going wrong?

    Oh, if I (the government) could just tax/spend/borrow/regulate/redistribute more everything would be wonderful. We would have “fairness” and “income equality”! Workers need a “raise” so Obama will sign an executive order for one! Who cares about that pesky Constitution? It’s just “getting in the way” of what “needs” to be done?

    Exactly what is “strong” about the reality of the health care law? The website not working, people’s insurance coverage being cancelled, no longer being able to see their own physician, their premiums/deductibles going up (despite earlier promises of “savings”) and young people not signing up for coverage like they were “supposed” to?

    Address so called “income inequality” with more job opportunities/hiring from the private sector – getting government out of the way. Not a minimum wage increase, browbeating business owners to pay people more money, the EPA raising energy costs, health care coverage penalties, higher taxes on the “rich” and more government “investments” (spending) on “green jobs” from central planners with money the nation doesn’t have.

  • JohnW

    Apparently so.

    If you want another filter, you could start with last night’s Charlie Rose show following the speech. I watched it a couple of hours after making my comments here, but his roundtable guests made some of the same points that I did. This was non-Fox, non-MSNBC. The guests included economist Glenn Hubbard (Bush 43 chairman of the Council of Economic advisors), Larry Summers (Clinton Treasury Secretary and former Obama senior economic advisor), Mark Halperin (Game Change co-author), Al Hunt (former WSJ bureau chief and current Bloomberg News editor) and Doris Kearns-Goodwin (historian). As a group, they gave the speech high marks. Even Glenn Hubbard, although he generally disagrees with Obama’s economic policies.

    Also, you said that even the Democrats were hard pressed to applaud. That’s not what I saw. Also, the roundtable guests reported that the Democrats were fired up in the hallway after the speech. The only thing that got a muted response from the Dems was Obama’s promise to veto any legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran while the current discussions are underway. Good for him. Screw them.

  • Willis James

    I know we’re never supposed to connect the two, but the president keeps focusing on the millions of Americans who are out of work, willing to work, yet still struggling to find even the most basic work. That we even need to boost the minimum wage because they are, even when employed , falling further and further behind.

    Then a few moments later he urges the congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, with provisions that he endorses which will bring much higher inflows of new lower skilled workers to compete with those desperate workers he was just talking about minutes earlier.

    Again, I know its is not popular or “approved” to talk about both of these subjects in the same conversation, but the conflict between the two messages is striking.

    Please tell me how immigration reform is going to help the long time unemployed lower skilled worker in East Oakland.
    A worker who has already had his area of work flooded by years of high inflows of “new workers”.

    The Senate bill, the provisions of which the President approves, will only have more lower skilled workers competing with that lower skilled worker in East Oakland.
    Oh sure, I’m sure there will be new “training” programs that will help a couple hundred upgrade their skill sets, but what about the other tens of thousands of long term lower skilled unemployed in the East Bay?

    I know why the Chamber of Commerce supports the bill.
    I know why the tech industry supports the bill.
    But why should the lower skilled, high school or less, worker in the East Bay support a bill that will bring in ever more workers to compete with himself?

    Sure, there are other worthwhile provisions in immigration reform, but what about that worker of whom I speak?

    Who in our Bay Area delegation is looking out for his future economic well being?

    Or has he been thrown aside in order to accomplish a new political agenda of coalition building… and political correctness?

    What about THAT guy?

  • JohnW

    MichaelB, I won’t address your comments point-by-point. You are entitled to your opinions. But your “who cares about that pesky Constitution” remark is standard right-wing rhetoric. They can’t just stick to disagreeing with stuff. If they don’t like something (Obamacare, gun control, executive orders), they just declare it to be unconstitutional, with no legal basis for saying that.

    Whether or not the executive order (requiring government contractors to pay at least $10 per hour) is a good idea, there is nothing unconstitutional about it. Speaker of the House John Boehner said Obama has that authority, even though he disagreed with the idea. By the way, when it comes to executive orders, Obama has done far less of that than his predecessors.

  • MichaelB

    Obama enforces the laws he wants to/bypasses them when it suits him.
    Not enforcing immigration laws (amnesty) and implementing the “DREAM” act. He has no authority to unilaterally “delay” parts of the health care bill (now law) that don’t deliver the results he wants for political cover. He’s also getting pushback from so called “recess” appointments that were made when the Senate was not in recess. This is what you get when you support a candidate who wants a “fundamental transformation” of the nation.

    And it’s just plain silly to use an executive order raising the minimum wage as an “economic growth” or “job creation” strategy. Another example of someone just not “getting it” regarding the creation of jobs/operating a business (that expects to stay in business). Business owners are not just going to do exactly the same thing as before if their labor costs are increasing – even if Obama thinks they should because it’s “fair” or they can “afford it”.

  • Elwood

    Interestingly, only a small number of workers will be affected by the prince’s decree. Most employees of government contractors already make more than $10.10 per hour.

  • Elwood

    As I said, this wasn’t my first rodeo. Usually when the President hits an applause line, members of his party leap to their feet and applaud long and loud. If he mentions mom or the flag both sides of the aisle leap to their feet.

    What I saw last night, even from the dimmiecrats seemed more obligatory and polite than enthusiastic.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 for SOTU I’d rate it about a 3.

  • JohnW

    I think the estimate is about 500 thousand. It’s mostly a symbolic move.

  • JohnW

    Well, the people on the roundtable I mentioned, even Glenn Hubbard, gave him an A. As for the applause, I didn’t think it was the least bit muted, except for the part about Iran sanctions. His “Mad Men” reference had people practically stomping their feet with approval, even some of the Republicans. Of course, it’s not always that easy to tell about the Dems and Repubs anymore, because they no longer separate themselves on opposite sides of the aisle.

  • JohnW
  • RRSenileColumnist

    Most gringos were more interested in the weather forecast than Lame Duck quacks. Absent a major crisis, BHO will accomplish nothing this year.