Barack Obama looked like he enjoys being the president of the United States last night. There was a lot that could have been improved upon in his third State of the Union address, which I have already begun mentally referring to as his “kitchen sink” speech, since everything but the kitchen sink was in it. There was not a lot of elegant phrasing, not a lot of poetic trills, no real grand narrative thrust upon which all the flesh of his words hung. But his cadence was crisp, the trademark Obama baritone clear and steady, the entire address delivered in a tempo that was at once authoritarian yet staunchly optimistic.
President Obama refashioned the voice we are used to hearing deliver soaring invective and high minded ideals and turned it into a hammer, bringing it home over and over again as he dispatched in workmanlike fashion one item after another on his agenda for the future. In my mind, as I listened to the speech, I imagined what the president must have said while he and his speechwriters started putting this State of the Union address together, because in some ways, it sounded as as if the president had gone down a checklist of his naysayers.
“Fellas, guess what? When my job is on the line, yours are too.
So we need to do something different this year. Smaller words. Shorter sentences. Lots of military imagery. Since they’ve got to listen until I quit talking, I say we take a kitchen sink approach and stuff everything in it we can think of.
Progressive Democrats who say I haven't kept my campaign promises – let’s start this thing off with the end of the Iraq war. Republicans in Congress and GOP presidential candidates who keep insisting I have not created any jobs - 3 million new jobs created in the last 22 months. Pundits and pollsters who say I can't appeal to working class white voters - propose new initiatives in the domestic manufacturing sector. The GOP and the Chamber of Commerce say unions are killing our economy - cite Masterlock's return of jobs stateside to a unionized workforce. Conventional wisdom say I have been soft on trade initiatives - U.S. exports are about to be double what they were when I took office.
This is a long speech - journalists will probably be getting bored by now and start counting how many times I say America – need to remind them of my commitment to jobs and job training again. We'll be bold here and give a shoutout to our hardworking teachers before segueing into the cost of student loans, then climb the ivory tower of skyrocketing higher education costs we hope to tackle before doing a double somersault into the whole immigration debate.
Let's not forget about my Republican friends in the House of Representatives who are fixated on Keystone XL, even though the state of Nebraska says no to the pipeline, and Solyndra, an abject failure if there ever was one, and give them seomthing to think about - remind them of all the federal lands I've opened up, natural gas, and oh yeah, jobs again, this time clean energy jobs.
I’m starting to think this is long myself, but let’s work in something about fairness and Wall Street reform for my Occupy people, make mention of the massive new refinancing plan we are working on, a quick shoutout to Richard Cordoray
Stay a little fuzzy on the crackdown on mortgage foreclosure fraud. Post Congress up on the payroll tax extension just when their eyes are glazing over, then pivot to the Warren Buffet tax rate, and why its wrong for us rich Americans to pay a lower tax rate than our less fortunate brethren.
Alright, we're in the home stretch here - I want to remind everyone that this motley crew in front of me is the Do Nothing Congress. And then, while their eyes are still wide open, I want to remind everybody whose watch Quaddaffi got killed on. Okay guys, I want you to wrap it up with something cinematic that leaves no doubt in anyone's mind who killed Osama bin Laden. I know, I know, we already covered this earlier, but that's not the point. i want the press to have no choice for the next few days but to talk about Osama bin laden.
I want the moderators at tomorrow night's Republican debate to make those candidates acknowledge on camera that I am the killer of Osama bin Laden.
You guys got all that?
Alright, I'm off to a briefing. Let's hope nothing pops off in Iran before Tuesday night.”
Imaginary speechwriting session with President Obama