Wednesday, January 27, 2010


(That's State of the Union, for those not in the US).
Obama gave his first SOTU address to Congress this evening (although strictly speaking, one could make the case that any address the President makes to Congress could be considered a SOTU, over here they insist on designating one speech a year in this way).  It's a bit like the Queen's speech, except that now that we have Obama and not Bush, we have have someone who really knows how to deliver a speech.
They have this persistent, and to my ears, very tired phrase: "The state of the Union is strong" which sounds worse year after year when I hear it.  But other than that, I thought that it was a reasonably strong speech.  He clearly threw a few tidbits to the left, and he beat up on the right a little, but only a little.  I suspect that it probably polled pretty well.  MSNBC didn't have the little lines tracking the focus groups with twisters to see how people were reacting, so I'll have to wait a day or so to find out how it hit those only occasionally engaged by politics.

The Republican response, on the other hand, was quite forgettable.  The brand new Governor of Virginia, surrounded by a carefully chosen group of clearly diverse individuals, all applauding tremendously.  It looked quite fake, especially compared to the reluctance of congressional republicans to applaud Obama.  And the speech?  Not any better, I thought, than Jindal was last year.

Yours, as ever, a junkie for politics,

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