The State of the Union is Stranger

SOTU 2013 Thank you. Please, everybody, have a seat. Turn off your iPhones, you can watch the Dorner coverage later. That means you, Joe.

My fellow Americans, 51 years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that, “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power, but partners for progress. It is my task to report the State of the Union. To improve it is the task of us all.”

(APPLAUSE) Continue reading

President Obama’s Inaugural 2.0: Breaking the Second-Term Jinx

2009 Inauguration Day “At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first.”

So said Abraham Lincoln as he began his second inaugural address in 1865. And then he gave one of the greatest presidential orations ever, pledging, “with malice towards none, with charity towards all … to bind up the nation’s wounds.” Continue reading

The real 2012 political message battle begins


The political message battle of 2012 has begun. The side that wins the message battle will most likely win the war. Continue reading

How to Soak the Rich


President Obama covered a lot of territory in the one hour and fifteen minute State of the Union message that he delivered last night. Some of it was new. But, predictably, he ended up riding his favorite hobby horse: Raise taxes on the rich. Continue reading

In the Crowd-In the Dark

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address

There’s a story speechwriters love about a man who drowned in the Johnstown Flood. When he got to Heaven he told St. Peter the flood was such an interesting experience he thought folks there might want to hear a speech about it.

St. Peter said, “Okay – but don’t make it too big a deal. Noah’ll be in the crowd.”

It’s best not to look too closely at these stories. Can’t Noah stay home if he wants? It’s Heaven! Still, it’s good to have listeners who know a lot. They have insight. One imagines Noah scowling in his seat or during the Q&A asking why the guy didn’t build an ark.

Which is why it was so disappointing to read the response to last week’s State of the Union speech by two former speechwriters turned pundits, Charles Krauthammer and Michael Gerson. Continue reading