Writing for National Journal, Charlie Cook drops the affable political supernerd persona he normally wears and tells us what he really thinks about State of the Union addresses. As in:
The president’s speechwriters will have started out to craft an important and thoughtful speech, determined to avoid having their boss deliver another really boring monologue that is both a laundry list of what the president wants to do and what he would do if the opposition party and special-interest groups rolled over and played dead for the rest of the year. But by the end of the process, despite the best of intentions, it will very likely sound like all of the others. Journalists will solemnly pronounce that this speech is critical for President Obama because of blah, blah, and blah, proclaiming that this State of the Union address is everything but life or death. Then, as soon as the speech is finished, media sycophants, members of the president’s party, and ideological brethren will say that it was a momentous address, one that truly rivaled Lincoln’s at Gettysburg, while the opposition party and its toadies will declare it so wrongheaded and the delivery so bad that they wonder if something might be wrong with the president.
Cook also mocks the several dozen members of Congress who apparently have nothing better to do than spend the whole day saving a seat for themselves on the center aisle so they can be seen on TV greeting Obama on his way down the aisle. Adds Charlie: “Unsaid is that for many of these lawmakers, it is the only personal interaction with the president they will ever have.”