Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union

I watched but I didn't pay close attention. The only president it gave a significant bump in approval rating to is Clinton, and that can be linked to the Monika Lewinsky story beginning. So it doesn't matter on that front.

I highly doubt that just mentioning a policy proposal in the SOTU makes it much more likely to pass. Its not like he mentioned anything new. Everyone pretty much knows what policies he wants to pass.

It also sends the press into a frenzy trying to cover and analyze every detail of a relatively meaningless speech. Thankfully I've weened myself off of watching any coverage of the speech. Since there is no way to delve sufficiently deeply into any policies he proposed on tv I'm going to assume the coverage sucked and was a waste of time.

The only way in which I think the speech was important was that it could be a signaling tool used by the president. He probably wasn't going to spend much time on something he really didn't care about. Or he didn't mention something like global warming because its politically contentious and the likelihood of any policy getting passed by a Rep House is slim to none.

But again, I think fairly attentive politicians and citizens know what Obama is likely to want to try and get done legislatively this year. And I doubt his speech provided any surprises.

The best thing to come out of the speech was the ability of political scientists to use it as a proxy for Obama's policy preferences. So maybe it wasn't all that wasteful.

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