As is my tradition (dating all the way back to early 2011), I have put together a partial translation of President Obama’s State of the Union Speech. That’s right—not commentary, not rebuttal, not opinion nor argument. What follows is the President’s true meaning, stripped of all euphemism, double-talk and Capitol-speak.
I encourage you to leave a comment and let us know your impressions. Unless you’re from the Secret Service, in which case this entire column has been hacked and written by Tom Catmull. Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America:
“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans.”
Translation: Welcome to my wingman Joey B, Mr. Boner of the House, Congressional radio contest winners, and the three women who have not slept with Newt Gingrich. I haven’t seen this much power in one room since I dropped a deuce in the Oval Office bathroom fifteen minutes ago.
“For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.”
Translation: As Robert De Niro said to Samuel L. Jackson in Jackie Brown, ‘He’s pretty dead.’
[At this point the camera cuts to a group of stone-faced Marines in the front row. Most of them are thinking that Joe Biden needs a haircut.]
“These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. ”
Translation: If Congress had half the guts and discipline and integrity as these guys, our country would be debt-free. Millionaires would be paying more taxes than the 1971 Rolling Stones, and Canada would be hitting us up for peace-keeping tips.
“Think about…a future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.”
Translation: Sure, bin Laden might be searching the Marianas Trench for his 72 virgins, but there are still thousands of pissed off terrorists who would love nothing better than to burn down our country. It’s too bad Israel isn’t sitting on an ocean of oil. They owe us.
“My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.”
Translation: My grandfather spent seven years studying glass blowing at Saint Copious of Northern Nebraska, where he mastered the reverse spiral and basically invented the one-hitter.
“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
Translation: Look, I won’t bullshit you. We’re living in a plutocracy. Have been for a long time. Hell, we should have Ayn Rand’s picture on the hundred dollar bill. Of course, we’d have to lose the “In God We Trust” line.
“Let’s remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores.”
Translation: The suit I’m wearing was made in Singapore.
“Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. This blueprint begins with American manufacturing.”
Translation: Men’s suits will be made in an old wheelbarrow factory in the Midwest that is being retrofitted. And they’ll be made out of corn.
“On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.”
Translation: I got Ford, Chrysler and GM to agree that the answer was not “more cupholders.
“A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.”
Translation: Turns out those bamboo padlocks were not a boon to the security industry.
“So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back.”
Translation: I’ve already brought sexy back, and this is next on my list.
“Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.”
Translation: If we outlaw video games and masturbation, the streets will be flooded with a teenage workforce desperate for something to do.
“I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products.”
Translation: I’ll start with Tahiti, and from there I’ll investigate the economic opportunities along the French Riviera, in Cozumél, and Cabo San Lucas.
“At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced States to lay off thousands of teachers. Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.”
Translation: Except Eric Cantor, who apparently never passed a math class. You can’t run two wars without raising taxes, dumb ass.
“Tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.”
Translation: We’ll be invading Iran soon, and we need soldiers who can at least read the top of a gearshift knob.
“Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid. We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money.”
Translation: As I proved by running our debt from here to the moon, we’ll run out of zeroes before we run out of money.
“I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.”
Translation: Jan Brewer, I’m the President. You’re merely the governor of Newer Mexico. If you don’t get your fucking finger out of my face, I’m going to cram it so far up your ass that you’ll be able to pick that thing you call a nose from the inside.
“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
Translation: Thousands will eventually die from horrible tumors and cancers brought on by the side effects of fracking, but at least you’ll die in a nice home heated by cheap natural gas.
“We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.”
Translation: These assholes couldn’t agree on a salad dressing for their lunch if the only two choices were bleu cheese and fresh dog shit.
“I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history.”
Translation: The Navy is going back to schooners.
“We need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices, don’t destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.”
Translation: If you anti-government clowns get your way and Ron Paul gets elected, say goodbye to molester-free daycares, non-poisonous food and drinkable water.
“We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill – because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.”
Translation: What do you call a cow with two legs? Lean meat. Buhzinga!
“I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder.”
Translation: Hey, I’ll tell you what. You can get a good look at a butcher’s ass by sticking your head up there. But, wouldn’t you rather to take his word for it? Sorry. I watched ‘Tommy Boy’ with Malea and Sasha this afternoon. Love that movie.
“Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let’s agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay.”
Translation: Get real. This is Congress we’re talking about. There will be so much drama and posturing and backbiting that it will make ‘All My Children’ look like a Red Cross documentary.
“Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.”
Translation: Millionaires are smart.
“Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?”
Translation: Should we cut federal aid to impoverished women and children so that Mitt Romney and his polo buddies can keep flying their horses to Boca Raton during Lobsterfest?
“If you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief.”
Translation: Your taxes are going up. All of you.
“Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.”
Translation: Secretaries need to hire smarter accountants.
“Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact. Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress.”
Translation: Stop graft and corruption on Capitol Hill? It would be easier to repeal gravity and banish the stars from the night sky. But I have to say it. It’s in my contract.
“We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common sense ideas.”
Translation: Yeaaahhh. And Jay-Z will join Lynyrd Skynyrd and Khloe Kardashian will be a finalist on ‘Jeopardy!’
“I’m a Democrat.”
Translation: I think people are more important than money.
“On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about Government spending have supported federally-financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.”
Translation: You can fool some of the people all of the time.
“With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow. But I can do a whole lot more with your help. Because when we act together, there is nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.”
Translation: I have found the Koch brothers’ checkbook.
“From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.”
Translation: Check your pizza delivery guy for explosives.
“Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one. The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.”
Translation: We have suspended Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Netflix account.
“The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. America is back.
Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
Translation: Don’t listen to Fox News.
“To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I have already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing danger of cyber-threats.”
Translation: We have hacked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Facebook account.
“Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it. One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.”
Translation: You should get a load of the new tablecloth in my man cave.
“This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.”
Translation: Give me one more term, and I will whip this flat-ass economy into shape like Warren Oates did with Bill Murray in Stripes. Except my shit won’t get blown up.
Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
Translation: Peace off.
"Hey kids! It's time for my campaign speech, er, State of the Union address!"