(These are my own humble, not a professional anything responses to last night’s speeches. Grains of salt and all that.)
- Those politicians seated on the aisles who get to shake hands with all the entering dignitaries and, more importantly, get their faces on camera a LOT? Some poor interns from their offices pretty much warmed those seats all day to secure those. Cracks me up how folks who will stand on that same House floor with cameras rolling and call the President all sorts of names and accuse him of all sorts of anti-American shenanigans – and yet there they are on SOTU night, copies of the speech in their hands asking for his autograph like some sort of geeked out fan as he goes by. Lordy.
- Whenever the White House in the future – ANY White House – provides an enhanced live feed of the speech complete with charts and supporting statistics – watch it. Those charts and statistics help to illustrate where that particular President is coming from in terms of his policy proposals. Agree or disagree, they help to bring you to an understand of why he or she (someday, I hope!) thinks that issue is important. Also, they sneak in some pretty cool and often funny pictures (like the one last night of POTUS and McKayla Maroney doing the “I’m Not Impressed” scowl.)
- You can get a pretty good idea of what the President wants to emphasize by looking at the guest list for the family box where the spouses sit. Whoever, is with them will be featured and probably named in the speech and tied back to one of the policy initiatives POTUS wants to highlight.
- I thought this SOTU followed up nicely on his inauguration address. He kept consistent with his visions on where he would like to see his second term focus. What I wish is that EVERY policy idea he outlines would be followed up with “And I’ve appointed “x” or tasked “y”” to start hearings/meetings to write up the legislation” similar to what he did with regards to gun violence after Newtown. Or else, cite the specific legislation that is already making it’s way through Congress so that people can petition their representatives to vote on it or keep it moving. There were a few direct examples like that but not all and not the majority and that left me feeling like the proposal was way too much rhetoric and not yet enough action. Which, I suppose, is true of every SOTU but is certainly something that feeds into the “All talk, no action” impression that the majority of the public has about DC.
- Now, this one is IMPORTANT – a CRITICAL lesson we must ALL learn! Ready?…….Mamas – do NOT let your babies grow up to give the response to the SOTU! Got that? Really, I mean it. Ever since I’ve been paying attention to this speech, the response has been just awful. Often it is awful in substance, or awful in delivery, or…well..both! Of course most recently this sorry task has fallen to the GOP, but even the last couple of Democratic responses that I recall were sorely lacking. I do not understand how a supposedly polished politician who has won elections and therefore most likely given a stump speech or twelve can STILL be so so so unprepared to give a PREPARED statement on TV. In a controlled environment! For just 5-10 minutes! With no applause or heckling (that they can hear anyway!)
- My one particular takeaway from the Marco Rubio response was this – no, not the water thing, I actually listened to it on a radio re-broadcast so I wasn’t distracted by those things – the GOP though, has still not learned it’s lesson from the 2012 election. That response sounded like a word for word repeat of a Romney stump speech from the last campaign. You know, the one they lost? Yup, the response was completely filled with the same perspective/attacks on Obama and his policies and then the same, rejected solutions. Guys? It’s not that the messenger (Romney) was weak, it’s that your IDEAS are weak! Having a fresh faced young hispanic senator repeat the same thing didn’t make it go down any better. Even WITH an awkward gulp of water 😉