Business first: my daughter got sent home from school yesterday with a nasty cough, and then was up half the night with it, so my wife and I decided to keep her home today. That’s why blogging will probably be on the light/non-existent side for the rest of the day.
I did want to say something about last night’s speech, because obviously everybody has a Hot Take to deliver about it. My take, since I spent more time watching the Penguins-Flyers game than the speech, is that this Penguins team can’t go 0-for-6 on the power play, including one major penalty, and expect to win a hockey game. They’re just not good enough 5-on-5 to get away with it.
As far as the speech is concerned…look, we’re starting the seventh year of the Obama presidency. Anybody who seriously expects the next two years to look any different from the past four is deluding themselves. A big speech isn’t going to change that. We can talk about how “free” Obama is to speak in populist language now that his poll numbers are up and he’s no longer trying to hang on to the Democrats’ Senate majority, but so what? Maybe he should’ve tried using that language back before his numbers tanked and the party lost that majority, not that I think it would have mattered much either way. Some outlets seem to think that Obama’s call for a new Authorization to Use Military Force against ISIS is news, but it’s not like he hasn’t made similar statements in the past and then done nothing to actually make it happen.
There was, I will admit, a fascinating microcosm of the last ~6 and a half years that occurred toward the end of Obama’s address. As Obama was going on about trying to fix our broken, rage-fueled politics, he noted that he’s got no more campaigns to run. Several Republicans responded by being disrespectful yutzes, so Obama fired off a snappy if petulant one-liner that shut them up. Today it turns out that lots of Republicans are mad that Obama said mean things to them just because they were acting like assholes. Our politics have been driven for over a decade now by the delicate fee-fees of a group of ostensible adults who want to be allowed to act like jerks without ever being challenged or confronted for it, and by the technocratic center that wants to pretend that those people don’t really exist or aren’t really as toxic as they appear. That ain’t changing anytime soon.