"They deserve a vote."
President Obama repeated this rhetorical flourish at the end of his hour long State of the Union address last night, referring to Gabby Giffords and the parents and loved ones of those who have been killed by gun violence in recent years.
It was by far the highlight of the speech, which then climaxed by referring to 102-year-old North Miami resident Desiline Victor, who waited three hours in line to vote last November in Florida's presidential election. Obama said he was assigning famed Republican attorney Ben Ginsberg to co-chair a committee to study electoral reform.
It was a great moment to see this woman still awake, but what was House Speaker John Boehner's deal? Was there something physically wrong with him? He was blowing his noise rather intensely at times, but could he not get up for Ms. Victor and give her a hand? That was wrong.
But look, when it comes to these events, our attitude is more Bill O'Reilly than Rachel Maddow. O'Reilly emphasized throughout his show leading up to the SOTU last night that he loathed all such speeches, whether they come from Obama or Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, labeling them mostly a bunch of hype. I tend to agree.
And I certainly didn't understand Rachel Maddow when it came to last night. I know she likes to promote the wonkish-nerdish thang, but did you see the ad running on MSNBC in the days leading up to the SOTU, where various personalities from the cable news network flashed their response to the question "What is the State of the Union?" Maddow responded, "My favorite night of the year."
I'm sure you've seen Marco Rubio's now infamous lunge for water during his rebuttal speech last night. I'll reserve any commentary on that, but how about the fact that yesterday, the Florida senator was one of only 22 senators out of the 100 member body to vote against the Violence Against Women Act?
Bill Nelson also made the news yesterday. Our senior senator blasted Ted Cruz for his borderline slanderous comments about Chuck Hagel after he was confirmed via party-line vote out of the Armed Services Committee to be the next secretary of defense.
Nelson is also sponsoring a bill with California's Barbara Boxer that would mandate no voter wait in line longer than one hour.
And over in Clearwater, the Pinellas County Commission approved a recommendation by PSTA to put a one-cent sales tax referendum on the November 2014 ballot for a light-rail measure. The board votes again on the matter in two weeks.