Finally looking at the speech

26 Jan

The State of the Union speech by the President has changed over the years.

It started off as a report to the nation, became a report to Congress and became a political speech.

Barack Obama made a very political speech Monday night.

His entire speech was a rebuttal against the Republican slams against his record.

It was a speech about everything.
Thus, it became a speech about nothing.

It’s not to say it was a bad speech.
It was a political speech.

Not too many cared.

A new CBS News poll finds that 91% of Americans who watched President Obama’s State of the Union address approved of the policy proposals he put forth, while only 9% disapproved.

Caveat: Americans who watched the speech were generally more Democratic than the nation as a whole. Forty-four percent of viewers polled were Democrats and 25% were Republicans.

Historically speaking, that is not an unusual statistic: a president’s supporters are more likely than his opponents to watch State of the Union addresses.

Let’s pick it apart.

It was missing a vision.

Some are saying his speech was one big blizzard of tax deductions, wrapped in a populist cloak.

It wasn’t that bad, but we suspect it made liberals happy, angered the right and befuddled the independents.

The speech was clearly poll tested to within an inch of its life, filled with programs and themes of broad appeal running from the left to the center right.

Much of it focused on policies that divide the parties absolutely.

And, judging by the press releases and tweets from the Republican leadership, this State of the Union address will serve to lay down markers for November’s election rather than break the current gridlock.

Obama knew full well that Republicans in Congress will block everything.

In the absence of policy, he is backfilling the political narrative.

It was the speech of a man who realizes that he has only one thing left to do, and that is to win reelection.

He is also laying the groundwork for more fiscal negotiations, should he have a chance, as the president-reelect, to drive them.

If you followed Obama, you should have noticed he didn’t talk like this in 2011, or in 2010, or the year before that.

But voters are angry with Washington and the response needs to be a more populist tone.

It’s an atmosphere that gives a distinct advantage to Newt Gingrich, a millionaire at ease with working-class voters, over the slicker Romney, a millionaire who isn’t.

And the president’s campaign team has clearly taken notice.

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