These speeches are always wish lists but last night’s seemed even more so than usual. After watching clips of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, where Republicans were taking turns intimating that a former Republican Senator was a secret mullah at worst, and a fellow-traveling closet Muslim at best, and after witnessing what it takes to get the House to agree to anything, the notion that any of what Obama proposed during that speech will do anything but die in committee is hard to swallow.
But I will say that the last few minutes, where he mentioned guns and voting, two issues where well over two-thirds of the population agree that something must be done, were pretty well done political theater. John Boehner looking like his piles were acting up, and refusing to applaud a hundred year-old lady who waited in line hours to vote, were just what Obama and his team wanted us to see. And a gallery full of victims of gun violence, including the police officer who was shot 15 times, juxtaposed with gun nut Ted Nugent also sent a pretty good message, as did Obama’s request for a vote on the gun legislation.
I have no idea what “regular people” think of these speeches, but if they stayed tuned until the end, they got another dose of the key Democratic message: the country will get nothing that it needs from Republicans. We’re always complaining about Democratic messaging but I thought the last 10 or so minutes of that speech were top-notch, especially when judged against other State of the Union addresses.