Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SOTU ignores chattering class, again

It's not exactly breaking news that political pundits, liberal and conservative alike, live in a bubble (if not a vacuum) where reality bears little resemblance to, well, reality -- the one most of us live in. The contrast in perception is always starkest after the president delivers his annual State of the Union address.

The chattering class was universally underwhelmed. Republican pundits predictably blasted President Obama for his "efforts to divide [America]," as one LA Times headline summarized conservative reaction. Left-leaning pundits decried the small-bore policy proposals and paucity of "big ideas" and vision. Echoing MoJo's Kevin Drum's reaction, virtually everyone viewed Obama's SOTU as "a campaign speech on steroids."

With this kind of dressing down, you'd think Mr. Obama would be worried. Trust me, he isn't. Drum says it all when, sighing, he writes:
"I'm a Democrat and a fan of the president, but even I found this speech formulaic, devoid of interesting ideas, and built almost solely for applause lines. Presumably this means that it's going to poll through the roof. Joe and Jane Sixpack will love it."
No kidding. Politics and setting the stage for Obama's reelection was the whole point of the exercise last night. America gets that. Perhaps one day the chattering class will become a critical voting bloc with the power to swing presidential elections. Until then, Obama and his successors will keep their focus on the folks who can actually elect them: Joe and Jane Sixpack -- who, by the way, gave Obama's SOTU a whopping 91 percent approval rating.

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