JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The State of the Union

So the president has a pretty daunting State of the Union address to give the nation tomorrow night. Generally speaking, I’d say the majority of Americans ignore a president’s State of the Union. We all know it’s taking place, we all know our favorite shows for that night will either be delayed or cancelled, we all know we should care (but usually don’t).

I think a big problem with the State of the Union is it isn’t usually a State of the Union, but a State of the President’s Status and Agenda. We rarely hear the truth, and when we do it’s only because things are going well. Our most courageous presidents—FDR, JFK and LBJ among them—seemed unafraid to confront tough conditions with genuine talk of sacrifice and difficulties. But can anyone recall a State of the Union that was a genuine status report of the union?

I sure can’t.

For Barack Obama, this is a biggie. Coming off of the Arizona shooting, he’s surely trying to maintain the sense of agreeability and unity. But, especially with the current 8-second-and-a-cloud-of-dust news cycle, moods seldom last. Yesterday’s “Give Peace a Chance” is today’s “Fight the Power.” Although I don’t 100% agree with his moves of late, I think the president is wise to make a Clinton-like slide toward the center. A. It keeps things moving; B. It shuts the Republicans up a bit. The less liberal Obama seems, the less fools like Palin and Romney can foam.

What do I want to hear tomorrow? Well, I like the message of political unity. I’d also like a very strong economic plan to grow jobs and keep things moving. I also strongly believe in higher taxes for the upper-class, though it’ll never happen.

And that’s that.