Translating The State of the Union

Translating The State of the Union

Adrienne BoettingerThursday,14 January 2016

Even if President Obama came out singing “Proud to Be An American” with an eagle named Uncle Sam sitting on his shoulder and flying throughout the crowd delivering patriotic gift baskets, many politicians and regular ‘Muricans would have disagreed with him. This president enjoys a level of loathing and disrespect that seems unparalleled in modern history. Then again there are others who would have praised him even if he burned an American flag and said football was for wimps.

Of course the truth is somewhere in between. The President is a powerful orator and his final State of the Union saw him giving it his all. But if you were a supporter looking for specific and ardent support for your particular cause (unless it was curing cancer) then you were a bit out of luck. And if you were an opponent then it was probably hard to make out the actual words he uttered while you gnashed your teeth and pretended the last 8 years had been a bad dream.

Since so many people seem hell-bent on misunderstanding anything and everything President Obama says, The Snap Download offers our translation of several key points of President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union and a few points from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s GOP rebuttal:


What You May Have Heard: “I can’t believe you pulled your heads out of your asses and actually passed a damn budget instead of shutting down the government right before the goddam holidays.”

What Obama Said: “Mr. Speaker I appreciate the constructive approach you and the other leaders took at the end of last year to pass a budget and make tax cuts permanent for working families.”

What It Meant: “When we’re back here again in about 9 months could you make this less of a cliff-hanger and help more than just yourselves?”


What You May Have Heard: “I will take your guns and give them to all the unauthorized immigrants I’m inviting on a daily basis to take over your jobs and your women. And then I’ll fire all you men-types and give your jobs to women who eat bon-bons and paint their nails all day long.”

What Obama said: “And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage.”

What It Meant: “I may appear to give zero fucks but there’s a lot I’d like to accomplish before I drop the mic and walk out. But since I know you will automatically hate anything I suggest, I’m going to talk about positive things like hope and innovation, throwing in the troops and curing cancer for good measure, so that you’ll look like unreasonable morons if you pick apart my speech.”


What You May Have Heard: “I’m trying to pretend the economy is awesomesauce when all your favorite candidates are telling you it’s crap. And if the economy is better at all it’s because of the Donald or the spirit of the middle class or something else. Definitely not anything I did because I’m a Kenyan socialist.”

What Obama Said: “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction. What is true — and the reason that a lot of Americans feel anxious — is that the economy has been changing in profound ways, changes that started long before the Great Recession hit and haven’t let up. Today, technology doesn’t just replace jobs on the assembly line, but any job where work can be automated.”

What It Meant: “Suckers!! How ya like me now?? Unemployment down, economy on the rise! All I do is Win!! But beware your eventual robot overlords who are overtaking everything from your jobs to your women.”


What You May Have Heard: “Donald Trump is a stone-cold lunatic.”

What Obama Said: “That’s why we need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong.”

What It Meant: “We’re supposed to be the good guys. Stop being a bunch of racist, bigoted, elitist Islamaphobes and act like Americans. And seriously, have you guys seen that thing on his head? It has got to be some sort of endangered species.”


What You May Have Heard: “Schmaltzy, smushy lovey dovey. Bleeding heart, hope. Friday Night Lights is amazing.”

What Obama Said: “That’s the country we love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. That’s what makes me so hopeful about our future. Because of you. I believe in you. That’s why I stand here confident that the State of our Union is strong.

What It Meant: “Even though I sometimes want to staple things to your heads I know that underneath all the crazy, y’all love this country and our citizens. I’m confident (knock wood) you’ll remember at some point that we’re all in this together.”


What You May Have Heard: “I spit on the grave of Ronald Reagan as I attack my fellow Republicans who I should be saying are without flaws.”

What Haley Said: “We as Republicans need to own that truth. We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership. We need to accept that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken.”

What It Meant: “Both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for the fact that the American people like cockroaches and STDs more than Congress. I’m not going to be an idiot and pretend we can blame this all on the Dems. There’s more than enough blame to go around. Now remove your heads from your asses, stop whining and start governing.”


What You May Have Heard: “The Donald is the worst thing to happen to the Republican Party since Sarah Palin.”

What Haley Said: “Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.”

What It Meant: “All the screaming lunatics running around giving you loud-ass sound bites with no real content are not worth your time. Tune ‘em out and pay attention to actual issues.”

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Image Credit: Penn State on Flickr

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