Yesterday, President Barack Obama (CC '83) debuted his new one-hour stand-up special, and it was a HIT. The set had good riffs, including the now famous line "I know, cause I won both of 'em," which you'll soon see printed on bumper stickers, T-shirts, and hats. He repeated some old material, pleased his fan base, and had a really smooth delivery. Often it is hard to catch all the references and subtleties, so in the spirit of Rap Genius (now Genius.com), I've broken down some of the highlights from the State of the Union (transcript via the fans at NPR).
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:
A classic line. Good opener.
We are fifteen years into this new century.
This is a reminder to the people still writing 2014 on their checks (checks that they most likely sent to tax collectors).
The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.
Obama said that last year (and the year before, and the year before, and the year before, and the year before), but I'll believe you this time.
Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another—or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?
An appeal to the young adults, "factions" is invoking the plot of "Divergent."
Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way. They were young and in love in America, and it doesn't get much better than that.
This is the same as the intro to his version of "Jack and Diane" by John Mellencamp. And "They were young and in love in America, and it doesn't get much better than that" is DEFINITELY ABOUT YOU. Even the president is out to remind you that you're single three weeks before Valentine's Day.
America, Rebekah and Ben's story is our story.
Yes, the story of Ben and Rebekah is the story of this country. They were both born to British expats, but then rebelled and were emancipated. They first worked in agriculture, owned a shit-ton of slaves, and got in a huge fight about said slaves. They ultimately prospered, hitting a few bumps along the way, but are continuing to struggle. People often romanticize them and assume that they are greater than they actually are.
That's why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college—to zero.
This is a setup for the inevitable "Community" movie (#sixseasonsandamovie). The show is trying to diversify its characters now that both Chevy Chase and Donald Glover are gone, and free community college means more and more interesting characters.
I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs—converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay.
John Boehner has already been to the sun, according to his tan. "Sunlight into liquid fuel" is his nickname.
That's how America leads—not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.
Stop trying to make "bluster" happen, president! It's never going to happen!
In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new.
Ironically, this is what the owners of Havana Central said when they decided to close.
If we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments—but let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.
Obama is referring to Spec op-ed comments and the state of discourse at Columbia University.