It’s amazing all of the different interpretations of President Obama’s “spilled milk” comment in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Maybe when you are the President, everything you say gets dissected down to the smallest syllable. And, people don’t just take your words at face value, but rather view them through the prism of politics.
Much of the commentary had to do with how flat his joke fell when he added the punch line, “With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.”
Yet, regardless of how well Obama delivered the joke, it’s important not to lose sight of the larger context of his remarks.
The President was simply trying to explain that his Administration had gotten rid of an unnecessary regulation, which happened to affect dairy farmers.
Yet, the comments from media figures and the public alike were all over the board in terms of how they viewed that comment. Some of the comments we received from readers — and posted with our story Wednesday — had more to do with his politics than the basis for his remark.
One reader, commenting on the story we posted on Facebook, said despite the lame joke, “we should be happy he mentioned dairy farmers at all! We (farmers) are 2 percent of the population and we are rarely even on the President’s radar.”
Then, I read an article or column in The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch that milk spills are no joking matter — they can be a real environmental issue. According to the article, the state of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has received 33 reports of large milk spills or discharges that involve dairies, dairy farms or trucking companies over the past five years. The article quoted a spokesperson from Ohio EPA saying these spills can be a problem if they reach waterways and interact with bacteria, which can deplete the water of oxygen.
The article left me wondering, aren’t there already regulations in place to guard against these spills?
So, I called Linda Oros, spokesperson for the Ohio EPA, who confirmed, yes, there are regulations in place against the type of Biological Oxygen Demand that milk or any food discharge can create when it reaches a waterway.
If there are already regulations in place, what’s the point? President Obama was simply reminding us the other night that we did not need one additional regulation.
It’s been interesting to watch the reaction. Maybe next time President Obama will “fish” an example from the seafood industry — there has to be a number of punch lines there. Let the public digest that one “hook, line and sinker.”