I think I watched last year’s State of the Union address again this year. Or was 2010’s repeated four times? For such a fantastic speaker, President Obama’s addresses are remarkably forgettable and invariably about the same vague things.
So it was this year.
The one idea that stood out was his insistence that Congress put bills on his desk advancing his agenda or else he would act “without legislation.” Although he never quite said it that clearly, it was the obvious implication. Charles C. W. Cooke was correct to warn us to watch for executive overreach. Republicans in Congress and the American people must both push back against it.
It was wonderful, though, to see the recognition of Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger who was seriously injured by an IED and has since realized remarkable and inspiring improvement to his speech and motor skills. God bless him. He is a hero.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers delivered a slightly above-average Republican response – which admittedly is not a high standard to achieve. She wanted to look non-threatening and like a regular American, which I think was largely achieved. She spoke about healthcare about as much as the president and I think she was acceptably effective. But the response was nothing special.
It is a difficult feat to give a great response in a quiet room by oneself after an address in a packed Capitol building with applause after every full stop. It was recommended by some that the response be given in front of a live audience in the future. Others suggested Republicans forget the response and let Obama own the evening with his non-inspiring speech. Either option would probably be an improvement.
It would also be an improvement not to have President Obama drone on for an hour, but it will happen twice more. But, thank goodness, this year’s State of the Union is over.