Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The State of the Union

President Obama has just finished his 2015 State of the Union address, and here are my reactions:
We have in Barack Obama the best orator since FDR.  He's a masterful speech-giver and also an expert speech-writer, for it is obvious to me that he at least guided and probably wrote much of the speech. (I know whereof I speak, since I have written and delivered dozens of speeches.) There was precious little to complain about. It was a trifle long, and the barbs at Russia and China did not go well with the over-all pacifist spirit of the speech. And the reference to the person in the balcony (a "typical" person who just happens to illustrate his point) has become a staple of SOTU speeches in recent years, and it is getting a bit tired.

Of course, the President made only passing reference to the "loopholes" he would close to pay for all the goodies he was promising. And the percentage of the world's wealth controlled by the top one percent of the world's population (a subtext of the rhetoric these days) neglects to mention that the world's population includes billions of people who live in Asia and Africa - people beyond the reach of the President's policies (and who need the jobs President Obama wants to bring back to the U.S.).

But these are minor quibbles. Let's give President Obama his due: He gives a helluva speech. There is no one in either major party who is in his league.