I missed the speech in favor of helping my eight year-old master her multiplication tables in between swim practice and dinner, but I could not miss this story which seems to be the only thing anyone has to say about the State of the Union speech in the local news coverage. The "Snub of Disunion" will certainly be the talk of the morning. It’s hard for me to see how this hurts Obama since all of his appeal stems from how distant from Hillary he seems to be. He is the anti-Hillary candidate (at least in the minds of his supporters). There’s an outside chance that some more mature voters will be put off by what they consider to be a childish stunt--but I think they’re likely to be voters who wouldn’t tend in his direction in any event. Much was made in the local coverage of the fact that Ted Kennedy DID shake Hillary’s hand and greet her with warmth--as if to imply that this is what is always proper in a mature and distinguished statesman of experience. It’s probably true that such behavior helped to propel the career of Ted Kennedy within the Democrat Party. But it did not, you will notice, propel Mr. Kennedy to the White House (of course, he had quite a bit of "other" behavior to consider as well and he has exhibited his share of indignation--at least to Republicans).
On the whole, I’d say this "stunt" or exhibition of righteous indignation (take your pick) probably helps Obama with his core constituency--young, anti-Clinton Democrats who have a taste for drama and who like to seem fashion-forward in their politics. They’ll love it and love Obama for doing it. Whether this group is large enough to carry him through Super Tuesday is still doubtful in my view. But my taste for drama is strong enough that I’m going to enjoy watching it . . .
Oh, and yes . . . I believe the President had something to say this evening also. Perhaps I’ll get to reading that in the morning. But let me add that Hillary Clinton couldn’t have pulled off that upstage of a President’s LAST State of the Union Address if she planned it for a year. And what’s worse . . . everyone knows that Bill could without a thought. What’s worse still? That he’d probably just as easily upstage Obama if given the chance.