My long-awaited SOTU reax


I'm with Jonathan Bernstein on this one. I thought it was a pretty lackluster speech. I didn't hear anything important or newsworthy. There were still umpteen tedious standing ovations, they just weren't as entertaining because they weren't as obviously partisan due to the seating arrangements. (I was all for the mixed seating in principle, but having sat through the speech and realized once again how full of meaningless theater the SOTU often is, the least I could hope for is entertainment in the future. Switch back.)

I still like President Obama a lot. I think he's shaping up to be a very good president in many ways. There are things I'd like him to address that he hasn't because they're political kryptonite (like entitlement reform), but generally I agree with his policies more than I disagree. I can (almost) guarantee I will vote for him again (given the lack of any GOP candidate I could even conceive of voting for), and I will likely contribute to his campaign.

But man, I just no longer enjoy his speeches. I hear all the rhetorical flourishes and modulations in tone and get annoyed, not inspired. I find him heavy on boilerplate and light on specifics. To quote one of my favorite lines of all time from "The Simpsons," his reference to our "Sputnik moment" smacked of effort. But at least I like him more than this guy.

I consider it something of a duty to watch major presidential addresses, no matter who's in office. It seems like a necessary part of being an informed citizen. But even for a political junkie like me, the State of the Union felt more like a visit to the dentist than even an enjoyable piece of political theater, much less a forum for introduction of anything important. Maybe next year I'll skip it.

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