Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and current Republican candidate for Senate in California, delivered the Republican response. Fiorina is a breast cancer survivor. That's something she's downplayed even though most people haven't known it given her remarkable recovery and her immediate entrance into the race. She battled breast cancer bravely and with class.
That said, I'm never a fan of using such near tragedy as a tool of political demagoguery. That's what she's done with this address. A couple years back, a young man by the name of Graeme Frost delivered the Democratic address in favor of SCHIP. He said that without SCHIP he would have died.
In the same way, Fiorina claims that if the recent mammogram recommendations had become policy she would likely have died. This is the sort of cheap stunt that is too often a part of politics and it's politics at its most cynical.
This recommendation came from the U.S. Preventive Task Force. It recommended that women under 50 don't need regulary mammograms and women over 50 should get them every two years. Fiorina pointed out that this task force had no doctors that were experts in breast cancer: oncologists and radiologists. Furthermore, she said that the Senate's health care bill would give all sorts of new powers of recommendation to this very task force for what procedures to be covered by insurance.
It's a very real fear that everyone should have that expanding health care would give the government more power. More power would lead the government, not doctors, to decide what is and isn't an important medical procedure. That's something most Americans have now realized and it's one of the main reasons why health care reform continues to crater. All of this are fine points. I still could go without using the cheap prop of bringing out a cancer survivor to do it.
This week's address sounded a lot like a stump speech. President Obama started out by touting the latest jobs report though he never gave the bottom line number. That's curious since the jobs report isn't viewed by most of the public. Instead, he said "the pace of jobs losses has diminished". He then went on to point out that "diminished job losses" doesn't pay for the rent, put food on the table, or pay for college.
He took credit for the improving economy in the form of the stimulus and other economic programs he's implemented. He then spent the last three minutes of the speech talking about his platform of health care reform, education reform, and energy reform and how this will lead us to a brave new world.
In his chutzpah moment, the president said that it was his responsibility to make sure our debt is under control. Apparently, he's bringing it under control by running our deficit up to nearly $2 trillion first. He also said that many of his economic policies: bailouts, stimuli, etc. were "unpopular" but "necessary". I won't argue with the first though the second is very debatable.