I haven't watched a State of the Union address in 6 years. There are two reasons for this: I don't like listening to George W Bush speak and even more so I can't stand all the applause. Every other word gets an applause. I bet you the speech vs applause time ratio is probably 50:50. It's mind-numbing.
So am I watching tonight?
Well the applause will still be there, which is most definitely a major negative. That, however, is not why I'm not planning on watching. I'm not going to watch because I don't have the heart to be disappointed again. He can talk about spending freezes, bank taxes, Afghanistan, and whatever else he wants. Great. Good for you, Mr. President. But unless you deal with the giant healthcare elephant in the room, whatever you say to my mind is meaningless. Even with your massive majorities you failed to push through your number one initiative. So why should I think you will push through anything you talk about?
Healthcare reform (or the lack thereof) is making the Democrats look impotent.
This makes me not want to participate or work for them. More so it makes me feel like our government is currently broken. One side we have the Republicans who are conservative in name only, and are more a party of crony-ism, negativity, and no ideas to either support or disagree with. On the other side we have the Democrats, who have shown a massive failure of leadership since the 2008 elections.
Governing requires both a long game and a short game. I can't grade Obama on the long game, but on the short game he has made none of the bold movers that suggest the change his supporters hoped of him. The short game is as much about illusion as it is about reality. The governing party must present the illusion of action if not real action (trust me, I'd prefer the latter), and Obama and his party have done neither. He has not closed Guantanamo, he has not passed Healthcare reform (I don't care if it's not a perfect bill just pass the damn thing), he hasn't reversed Don't Ask Don't Tell, he hasn't created a public works program. The Stimulus Act, for all the good it might have done to save the country from a depression, did not improve the lives of the middle class, and had the immediate effect of creating the public image that it helped those who needed help the least. This is not good governing, good leadership or good politics. It's his apparent failure to make changes that are visible in the day to day that make the Democrats look weak; that make his supporters lose hope; that make Americans disillusioned and angry.
I'm sure tonight Obama will list his accomplishments and his goals. I honestly don't care. I want action. I want to have something to believe in.