January 24, 2012

"How Not to Listen to the State of the Union."

Not turn it on?

No, seriously... from TNR's Jonathan Bernstein:
You can see the typical press approach in The New York Times preview of the speech earlier this week. The piece is almost entirely focused on Barack Obama’s strategies to win the American public to his side; we’re told that he’s expected to “dra[w] a stark contrast between the parties” and to “define the election” in various ways. The Washington Post says that “how he delivers the argument will test his rhetorical dexterity and set the tone for the year ahead,” and focuses on the speech as a campaign document.

But the truth is that presidential speeches rarely have much effect on public opinion. For one thing, most people already have opinions about the president, so they’re not particularly open to changing their mind even when they hear something they like....

So it’s unlikely that the State of the Union can produce any short-term bump in any president’s approval ratings. Even less likely is that the speech could have any effect on voter choice in the upcoming elections, which are still over nine months away....
Which is a reason to ignore the whole thing, but Bernstein says it's worth paying attention to because "the State of the Union is usually a reliable guide to White House priorities for the next legislative year and even beyond."

But I don't have to watch (or listen) to get that. The State of the Union is usually very tedious because of all the applauding and standing ovations... with half the people in the audience grimly enduring it. Maybe the first 5 minutes are worth it. I like to check out which Supreme Court Justices are there.

They're required to sit there, right in front and act like they are completely disaggregated from politics. But Obama might chastise them, and maybe one of them will silently mouth a simple response and get all the attention the next day. Will Samuel Alito be there tonight? Frankly, the interaction with the Supreme Court is the only aspect of the speech that interests me. With the big Obamacare case coming up this year and a pending decision that will have an impact on the fall election, I'm wondering what Obama might do.

87 comments:

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Spend a couple of hours listening to Obama campaign against himself followed by the predictable MSM tingly love fest? No thanks.

Jess said...

Are they gonna reach across the aisle and intermingle the Reps and the Dems this year? And will the SC justices bother attending this time around?

Roger J. said...

What if no one showed up? No one, as far as I know, is required to show up, except possibly for members of the executive branch--this will be Mr Obama in full campaign mode running against congress and the SCOTUS.

What a travesty--mail it in and call it good.

ricpic said...

Being an audacious guy Barry may start his speech, "The state of the union is good!"

Won't that be a laugh...garage?...Alpha Liberal?..RoescheVoltaire?...hat boy? None of you agree? Not funny? Party poopers.

Henry said...

No seriously, I go with "not turn it on."

Rick said...

There is no chance that I will watch any of this jerk's state of his campaign speech.

Patrick said...

The President's annual laundry list of gifts to his cronies.

Crimso said...

"No one, as far as I know, is required to show up"

This certainly includes Obama. My undertanding is that the mandated yearly assessment of the state of the country need not be in person. It was conveyed in writing in the (distant) past, IIRC. Amidst all of the campaigning he will likely throw in, and plans for his agenda for the coming year (both of which are not SotU features unique to Obama), will he actually get around to assessing the state of the union? That's why I never watch these things.

Roger J. said...

Crimso--you are correct--its simplyt an Obama campaign photo op

Henry said...

Well I hope there's something in it about high speed rail. We can never have enough of that.

* * *

Which raises a question in my mind. Why is the eminent domain taking, landscape regrading, high operating cost activity involved in high speed rail a public good that all liberals love, while the landscape-indifferent low-operating cost activity of a pipeline an environmental horror that gives greens the vapors?

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

I can't imaging anything more intellectually insulting that Obama's upcoming Speech. I already know what he's going to say. Buffet's secretary is going to be in the box with Michelle. Give me a break. Skipping for my own serenity.

Eugene said...

As a good Mormon, Romney should remember from his days in Sunday School the "two and a half minute talk" (no kidding, that's what it's called). Okay, if he's elected president, he gets to increase that one order of magnitude. Promise to keep the State of the Union to twenty-five minutes and he's got my vote. Seriously, that kind of discipline would speak volumes.

DADvocate said...

From what I heard a couple of my female co-workers saying a few minutes ago, it doesn't matter what Obama says, they won't believe him unless he says the state of the union is "It sucks."

MayBee said...

This may be the first State of the Union I don't watch (in my adult years). It's bad enough the SoU has become not at all about the current state of our Union. But this is the most blamey president in my lifetime, and I can't bear to see another hour of smug blaming.

In the meantime, he's missed his budget deadline.

Carnifex said...

We can't give Obozo ALL the blame about the S.U. speech, and it being used as a campaign stump, as much as even I'd like too. Presidents have been doing it since I have been following politics (Nixon).

That being said, I expect an ambulance to be on hand for when the Angry Sock Monkey pulls his own arm out of its socket patting himself on the back.

And, I expect all the little democrats to applaud every lie that spews from his mouth, much like the apparatchiks did during the good ol' days when all we had to worry about were the commies.(they're still commies, they're OUR commies now)

Sometimes, I get tired of fighting the stupidity and just thank God I am old, and don't have to face this shit much longer. Feel bad for you guys, and I weep for my grandkids ( they're smarter, and better armed than you, so they'll be okay), but its your mess, you clean it up.

edutcher said...

Waiting for the ghost of Everett McKinley Dirksen to appear behind the podium after GodZero is done, smack him upside the head, and announce, "It gave me intellectual indigestion".

In any case, they'll be having a "Hitler's Collaborators" marathon on the Military channel and it's pretty much the same thing.

garage mahal said...

Won't that be a laugh...garage?...Alpha Liberal?..RoescheVoltaire?...hat boy? None of you agree? Not funny? Party poopers.

I'm too busy enjoying the GOP civil war that's erupted to notice. Hearing righties talk like liberals is pretty amusing.

Robin said...

The last couple of Obama SOTU speeches have been big yawners and done nothing for his polling numbers.

And as for being an indication of his legislative priorities ... that assumes he has any. I can't remember if it was the 2010 or 2011 SOTU speech that was almost entirely abandoned as policy proposals.

Patrick said...

I won't watch, and haven't seen the SOTU since 2002. The only way I could be persuaded to watch is if someone set up an SOTU drinking game:

Every time the President says "Let me be clear" drink.

Every time the President says "some say," or "some may say," or "some will say" in reference to things almost no one says, drink.

In the event that he actually proposes in a serious way to reduce the size and scope of government, break out the Dom Perignon. Yeah, don't worry if you don't have any around the house. It won't be necessary.

traditionalguy said...

Obama will practice his income inequality speech.

He has been crafting it in cohorts with the media and the OWS fools who back up his demands that the evil money hording middle classes cough it up or he will Obama Signal from the Obama cave to set off the rioters into the streets.

That was hinted at by Godfather Soros yesterday. He understands it works that way in Europe and he wants to see that happening here.

MayBee said...

ABC reports Warren Buffet's secretary will be sitting next to Michelle Obama.

Seriously.

traditionalguy said...

And if the Teleprompter shorts out, the speech will have to be postponed.

Or the VP can do corny jokes while a written speech is run up to the podium along with god Obama's reading glasses.

traditionalguy said...

Good point Maybee.

The visual for 2012 will be an actual black woman whom we know and love held out in front to draw fire from....THE RACISTS.

Axelrod knows his craft.

Michael Haz said...

I'm looking forward to his clear and concise explanation of why there's no budget, 1000 days after its due date.

And exactly which foreign countries will benefit by his refusal to approve the Keystone Pipeline.

Otherwise, it's a campaign speech, nothing more.

Mark O said...

The petulant Obama, chastising the SC, on television, and lying about the case shows what a moral coward he is.

I won't watch him. I can write his speech.

JAL said...

...I'm wondering what Obama might do.

Well my money is on at least one petulant swipe. All nice and smarmy and superior.

Since the State of the Union 2012 (and 20011 and 2010) were in no way about the State of the Union -- it is always about Obama being the big kahuna -- the expectation level is so extremely low it registers zero.

He ended his first non-State of the Union address (2009) with this: What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.

This from the man who chose to become the Single Most Divisive President in the last century, a man whose party cannot produce a budget in the whole time he has held office (>1000 days) and who told us we need to take responsibility "once more" for our future.

Well, we are about to do that Mr. President. I'm all for electing a place holder this year so we can take some deep breaths and figure out the best escape route from the Obama's America Morass.

It is so much worse than I had imagined it would be.

(Can the people bill his campaign for the use of the Capitol?)

edutcher said...

garage mahal said...

Won't that be a laugh...garage?...Alpha Liberal?..RoescheVoltaire?...hat boy? None of you agree? Not funny? Party poopers.

I'm too busy enjoying the GOP civil war that's erupted to notice. Hearing righties talk like liberals is pretty amusing.


Nobody's told garage that the Lefties are losing faith in the Messiah. Even MoDo's writing about it.

Apparently garage doesn't understand what's going on in the Republican Party is called a debate over issues.

Demos don't allow that stuff.

PS If he wants to see some fun, wait until Willie and the Hildabeast launch their revenge on GodZero.

Y'know, the guy that, 10 years ago, would have been serving them coffee.

MayBee said...

Michelle Obama will wear something from JC Penney tonight, and they will make sure we all hear it.

Or perhaps someone will find something at a Goodwill store for her to wear.

paul a'barge said...

Not going to watch.

Kurt said...

I'm an expert at not listening to any of the president's speeches--especially the dreadful State of the Union addresses. When I hear he's going to be on at a certain time, I make sure to only tune my car radio to music stations (if I'm driving), or, since it is usually in the early evening here, if I'm home, I make a point of not turning on the radio or TV. I read or I take a nap or I look at things online. If I do turn on the TV, I only turn it on to networks that I know won't be carrying the speech.

AprilApple said...

Obama is tacky and he's a liar. I find his voice grating and I detest the way he looks down his nose.
Tax hikes for the "rich" do not include Warren Buffet.
No, only those making 250K or more. Billionaire cronies who benefit don't count.

Obama has nothing left but "please let me tax those evil rich people to pay for my mess. They aren't taxed enough".

Scott M said...

With the sad, unfortunate exception of Obama's "acting stupidly" by chastising the court, I haven't watched a SOTU address since the one directly after 9/11.

Along with a single six year term, I'd like to see the presidency go back to sending letters instead of giving a truly unnecessary speech.

alan markus said...

Robin said...The last couple of Obama SOTU speeches have been big yawners and done nothing for his polling numbers.

You know, I've been following Real Clear Politics President Obama Job Approval chart since early 2009. I swear, it appears that his numbers trend upward the most when he is seen the least. For example, the closest he came to having a positive spread (Approve/Disapprove) was 1/3/12, which correlates to the end of his 17-day Hawaiian vacation. Been trending down since then. Will have to see what the numbers look like later this week.

Would not that be an interesting dynamic for his campaign, if the more he is seen, the lower his numbers go? He can hide now, but he will have to show himself during the campaign.

AprilApple said...

Obama will talk about tax cuts for the middle class, yet another lie. Democrats know the economic sweet spot is the middle class. You can remove 100% of the wealth from the rich and it would run the government for about 8 months.

jim said...

Strongly agree with the tedium of SOTU. Who is in power is academic: it's become a televised ritual whose value as a real predictor of policy grows ever more dubious. Far worse than the speech itself is all the entrail-reading, sports-announcer-like pablum (both before & after)from media commentators.

If you think it still has real importance in regards to policy, just read it as text instead.

Coketown said...

They should adopt the same approach as Brian Williams's Tampa debate: hold all applause until the end. That way, every time Obama says "...an America where everyone gets a fair shake, and everyone pays their fair share...", Congress's incredulous, stupefied silence will mirror the response of the general public, and the statement's vacuousness will be more readily apparent.

Peano said...

If he says anything worth hearing -- which is doubtful -- I'll get it from tomorrow's news reports.

Rumpletweezer said...

Will there be someone in the audience who, having to sit politely, the President can launch an unfair and malicious attack on?

kimsch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kimsch said...

blech, hit the publish button too soon.

We'll be at Boy Scouts tonight. The Little Guy will be crossing over to Boy Scouts from Webelos at our Blue and Gold Banquet on March 4th so our fifth-graders are "visiting" the Boy Scouts for the next few weeks to ease the transition to Boy Scouts.

I may pay some sporadic attention to the speech via twitter, but otherwise not at all.

hs said...

There used to be a conservative talk radio host in the Twin Cities who would create multiple Pbo Bingo Cards for each televised speech.

He's been off the air for a while now, but I found this Pbo Bingo Card someone made.

If you're going to watch, might as well have some fun.

MayBee said...

They should adopt the same approach as Brian Williams's Tampa debate: hold all applause until the end. That way, every time Obama says "...an America where everyone gets a fair shake, and everyone pays their fair share...", Congress's incredulous, stupefied silence will mirror the response of the general public, and the statement's vacuousness will be more readily apparent.

Amen, Coketown.


btw, Why do we treat US Presidents as children who can only ever be applauded?
When are they ever allowed in front of an audience that will express displeasure?

Jay said...

MayBee said...
ABC reports Warren Buffet's secretary will be sitting next to Michelle Obama.


Oh and I guess this is some sort of show of solidarity by the queen with the "working class"!?

How funny.

PS, Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
I'm too busy enjoying the GOP civil war that's erupted to notice. Hearing righties talk like liberals is pretty amusing.


Nice deflection.

hs said...

Oops, just noticed the Pbo bingo card was made for the jobs speech last Sept. I don't think it will make a difference, last verse same as the first.

NYTNewYorker said...

"the State of the Union is usually a reliable guide to White House priorities..."

This white house has one and only one priority for the coming year and that is how to sham enough votes from the uninformed to win reelection.

traditionalguy said...

Where can you get a re-play of the South Carolina 2nd debate complete with Boze stereo of the audience cheering and booing?

Crunchy Frog said...

My kid is a senior in high school. His Government homework is to print out the SOTU speech and mark it up with comments.

I can't figure out if I should feel sorry for him or not.

damikesc said...

PS, Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

But Buffett's a progressive so it's all cool. No possible quid pro quo when you're a Progressive.

Jay said...

Debbie Bosanek, who has worked for Buffett for nearly two decades, has become as symbol of Obama's tax reform plan. The "Buffett rule," named after her billionaire boss, aims to insure that wealthy taxpayers do not pay an effective tax rate lower than their secretaries.


Except wealthy taxpayers do not pay and effective income tax rate lower than their secretaries.

PS, I love the media using the term "secretaries" over & over.

How progressive!

cubanbob said...

Nothing Obama will say will be true or even a facsimile of the truth, so why bother to watch? Unless he is going to do an LBJ there is no reason to listen to him on this or an occasion. In the meantime its been a thousand days since the Democrat controlled Senate has passed a budget. Perhaps Obama can explain why he and his party have not even to do the absolute minimum required by the Constitution.

Scott M said...

In the meantime its been a thousand days since the Democrat controlled Senate has passed a budget.

Let's be precise with the words being used. Has it been 1000 days since a budget was voted on? I get that the Senate has not passed a budget, which is bad enough, but can be easily spun by one side or the other. If it's been 1000 days since a budget was brought up for a vote, that's much worse, don't you think?

cubanbob said...

Scott M said...
In the meantime its been a thousand days since the Democrat controlled Senate has passed a budget.

Let's be precise with the words being used. Has it been 1000 days since a budget was voted on? I get that the Senate has not passed a budget, which is bad enough, but can be easily spun by one side or the other. If it's been 1000 days since a budget was brought up for a vote, that's much worse, don't you think?

1/24/12 12:34 PM

The house passed a budget. The senate refused to pass it or propose an alternate budget. And where is Obama on this? For nearly two years a democrat president and congress have refused to do their constitutional duty. What is the excuse now from the democrats? The fault is entirely that of the democrats.

Scott M said...

@cubanbob

But does that answer the question exactly? When you say they haven't proposed a budget, where in the process did it stop? Still in committee? Never reached the floor in any form? Held up by some procedure?

Scott M said...

Oh...and speaking of the last big two-chamber speech POTUS gave...what ever happened to that bill that he demanded be voted into law? I don't recall hearing much about that one lately.

cubanbob said...

Scott M said...
@cubanbob

But does that answer the question exactly? When you say they haven't proposed a budget, where in the process did it stop? Still in committee? Never reached the floor in any form? Held up by some procedure?

1/24/12 12:47 PM

You should that question to Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, Democrat.

Petunia said...

At least we won't have to see Nancy Pelosi in the background, jumping up and down like an idiot-in-the-box every five seconds.

I'll be watching TBS. Big Bang Theory reruns.

damikesc said...

I'll be watching TBS. Big Bang Theory reruns.

It'll be the only watchable thing on.

Fen said...

I prefer my fiction to be entertaining, so I'll be watching Big Bang Theory.

damikesc said...

Are they gonna reach across the aisle and intermingle the Reps and the Dems this year?

I notice that only became popular when the Dems got routed in the House. Funny, huh?

Scott M said...

I notice that only became popular when the Dems got routed in the House. Funny, huh?

Depressingly as predictable as Ted Kennedy's stance on how senate vacancies should be filled in MA.

Portia said...

I'll be re-watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang...a much better show.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Let me be very clear, I am laying out our pretend problems (income inequality, green energy, global warming, etc.) and the most incompetent possible solutions to those pretend problems (stimulus, government venture capitalism, cap and trade, crippling of domestic energy production, card check, additional social programs, etc.)"

Gonna have to skip this one.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'll watch something featuring a more competent person. Maybe American Movie.

David said...

The State of the Union is simple.

"The people persevere in spite of their feckless political leadership."

And don't tell me we get the government we deserve.

It's a rigged game now. From the legalized bribery of government spending to suppression of speech via election laws, it's all designed to keep the parasites in power.

Some day the people will arise and overturn this corrupt tragedy, but probably not this year.

Scott M said...

Apparently, the GOP will be wearing "1000 Days" red buttons tonight. Kudos.

madeleine said...

My Congressional representative (Lamborn, CO-R) has announced he will not be attending the speech at all. I don't blame him!

garage mahal said...

Apparently, the GOP will be wearing "1000 Days" red buttons tonight. Kudos.

Like the Kerry Purple Fingers from 2004?

Why would Republicans want a budget from Obama they say would destroy America?

Jay said...

Like the Kerry Purple Fingers from 2004?


Nice deflection.



Why would Republicans want a budget from Obama they say would destroy America?


Nice deflection & whining.

Wow, you really, really can't bring yourself to criticize the Democrats, can you?

Scott M said...

Why would Republicans want a budget from Obama they say would destroy America?

It doesn't matter what they want. It's required by law.

AprilApple said...

Go to Hot Air and click on the "Paul Ryan previews SOTU". scroll down for video. This man should be our president.

NYTNewYorker said...

I don't want to but I'll have to watch just to hear what the punk has to say.

Writ Small said...

The only way I'm going to like the speech is if he does Al Green.

Alex said...

I'm too busy enjoying the GOP civil war that's erupted to notice.

I'm too busy enjoying the Democrat civil war between the Clinton moderates and the Occupy crowd.

Alex said...

garage has no life. Everything for him is about election victories and defeats. what a pathetic individual.

damikesc said...

Why would Republicans want a budget from Obama they say would destroy America?

Because it is LITERALLY the least a leader can be expected to produce.

Alex said...

Why would Republicans want a budget from Obama they say would destroy America?

Name the prominent Republican who said that.

Robin said...

Mahal, you can come up with some amazingly insipid snark, but defending the failure of the Democratic controlled Senate from passing a budget - their single most important duty as legislators - by saying that we don't want one is probably your most insipid.

Kelly said...

Obama's priority for the next year is to get re-elected, so the SOTU will be a campaign speech. Again. That's all his speeches ever are.

Kelly said...

P.S. Ann, I haven't been able to comment using OpenID (my Wordpress blog) these last few days. Just though you'd want to know.

Lonetown said...

A prediction,
Obama:
Strawman
Democrat policy
Strawman
Democrat policy
Strawman
Democrat policy.

The press:
Brilliant
Magnificent
Coopers Union
etc.

After the blogs point out the obvious buffoonery and political hackery

the press:

Huh. no one can govern this country.
the system is broken
Alas,alas.

Lonetown said...

Oh and a tip.

Do not sign up to take a drink every time he says "fairness".

You will never make it to the end.

traditionalguy said...

I was cooking in the kitchen, and CNN was running a sample Obama speech recently given followed by Romney's rebuttal speech given today.

The voices went from entrancing, caring and attractive to stiff and authoritarian.

Obama was lying and was wonderful.

Romney was telling the abstract truth, but was terribly off putting...almost a Hitler speech in tone.

What will a voter do?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I won't be watching. It would be another period of time that I wish I could get back.

For those of you that will be watching, the equivalent of slowing down on the freeway to watch a car engulfed in flames, I wish you well.

Blue@9 said...

"the State of the Union is usually a reliable guide to White House priorities for the next legislative year and even beyond."

It is? This seems to ring false. Anyone remember Obama's priorities from the past few SOTU's? Aren't we going to Mars or something like that?

I guess we did invest in green fairies, er, technology, but aside from that, how have Obama's SOTU's telegraphed his priorities?

What are Obama's priorities? Does anyone know?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Hoping to see the northern lights here in upstate NY but so far cloud cover has made that impossible. Still more rewarding than listening to a failed president. I can always clean the cat boxes or apply fresh Rain-X to the cars.

james said...

A recent post on Vaclav Havel's first New Year's address is an interesting contrast: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/01/vaclav-havel-and-us

“My dear fellow citizens:

“For 40 years you heard from my predecessors on this day different variations on the same theme: how our country was flourishing, how many million tons of steel we produced, how happy we all were, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us.

“I assume you did not propose me to this office so that I, too, would lie to you.