Obama’s State of the Union preview—for vegans!  »

Tonight President Obama will address the nation with his first State of the Union address. There are two things I’m hoping to hear, and if he says them, vegans will have cause to celebrate.

The first thing: a renewed, post-Copenhagen commitment to fix global warming. This means Obama will need to urge the Senate to pass a clean energy bill. The Senate is now the world’s most dysfunctional legislative body, and lately it’s become a graveyard for good ideas, a┬ámodern day House of Lords, where ancient gray-haired idiots dither around as island nations drown, forests disappear, and more species go extinct. Seriously, the Senate sucks. (By which I mean, nice senators, yes you are all very important and wise, now pretty please pass a climate bill?) If they don’t pass a bill to reduce global warming pollution, then that gives other big polluters like China an excuse to do nothing. Obama needs to go there. It’s better for the economy, better for the planet, and better for the animals.

Now here’s the second thing: progressives┬áhave been furious over a proposed “spending freeze” that the White House leaked on Monday. It was a bad idea when John McCain proposed a freeze, so why is Obama all about it now?

Here’s a reason why this may actually be a good thing. First of all, it’s less of a freeze, and more like a slushy. Rather than taking a hatchet to the budget, Obama will propose increases in spending on areas that boost the economy, while proposing cuts to areas that waste money. The idea he’s pitching is to hold average spending steady starting in 2011 and call it a “freeze” to make your conservative uncle in Ohio swoon.

So why should we care? Because farm subsidies could end up on the chopping block, and that would be a very good thing. Less money to grow corn that no one needs, less money for slaughterhouses, less clearcutting, less money for megafarm corporations. We’ve already taken farm subsidies to task here in the hallowed halls of Vegansaurus, so if Obama cuts them in his future budgets, then I will kiss him on the mouth. It would be a significant victory for sanity in our food system.

We don’t know the details yet, obviously, which is why this is called a preview and not a psychic prediction. Disappointment is still very much on the menu because, it’s politics. And even if he goes there, lobbyists might still win anyway. So tune in and keep score at home, or find a SotU drinking game and pass out in the bathroom.

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