It is that time of the year again when America’s politicians gather in Washington D.C. as Barack Obama once again addresses them and the country with the State of the Union. A night of neatly pressed blazers, suits, and what I can only imagine is an uncontrollable wave of musty colognes and perfumes. As the evening telecast began I saw familiar faces like the arguably criminal Eric Holder (not just for that measly mustache) and the comically deplorable Ted Cruz. As the President entered the chamber, one commentator mentioned that this was his “favorite night” in Washington and was the benchmark for “political theater.” As the ovations began, I sat back with a glass of bourbon and watched the performance unfold.
Many of the recent State of the Union addresses have been focused on our foreign wars, social tragedies, and economic misfortune. This year, Obama went in an entirely different direction for the first half of his speech. The President mentioned topics like immigration, environmental protection, education, and infrastructure upgrades. Throughout the address Obama continued to mention buzzwords like “together” and “progress” while creating a tone of optimism. Obama also repeatedly mentioned the inaction of Congress and called for them to act on several bills currently on hold that could spur employment, drive financial recovery, and get America back onto its feet.
It was clear that this was a cleverly written speech. One that used humor and tactful organization to skirt the tough issues and address the things Obama believes he can change. One bit of dark humor I did get a hearty laugh from when Obama remarked, “Now the son of a barkeep is the Speaker of the House,” line referring to a glowingly orange John Boehner. The entire nation knows of Boehner’s predilection for the bottle, and I think everyone got a good chuckle from the line.
Humor aside, I will admit that I did draw a good bit of skeptical optimism from this speech but it did not alleviate some of my bigger gripes with the President and his administration. The speech only briefly mentioned NSA surveillance and briefly touched on our mess of foreign policy issues. President Obama although continued to be defiant with regards to drone strikes when he said, “I will not hesitate to use force,” even when it endangers innocent civilians of other countries. If this State of the Union creates some spurt of action in D.C. then I believe it was an excellent speech, but it does not come close to solving all of the problems this administration, or this country, have in front of them.
*Full transcript of the SOTU can be read here.