A State of the Union address in an election year is like a junior high JV soccer game. It doesn’t mean squat because there are bigger matches yet to be played.
However, with the Republican presidential debates and primaries taking center stage for months, Barack Obama needed to make a big splash in a rare moment in the national spotlight Tuesday night.
It was a bigger challenge than the stomach of a sumo wrestler. It was enough to give a sitting president facial tics. Especially when the economy is giving everybody else facial tics.
What he said — mostly lofty words, goals and initiatives that a split Congress will ignore like gymnastics in a non-Olympic year — will soon be as forgotten as the last hamburger wrapper you discarded.
What won’t be forgotten is the tone he set. He was more optimistic about America than a Miss America contestant. Thank God he didn’t wear a swimsuit and a sash that said Miss Congeniality.
The worst thing an incumbent president with a lousy economy can do is to whine like a whipped dog. Never mind that the economy and job creation now are happening under Obama. Too many people — curiously, most of them seem to be Republicans — refuse to believe. Maybe the president should show these Doubting Thomases a rib.
Short of that, Obama has to spew more optimism than a cheerleader — which is hard to do when you’re on a losing team. There’s a reason why the Cleveland Browns don’t have cheerleaders.
Besides using his teleprompter-fueled vocal cords as pom-poms, Obama kept hammering home the theme of fairness — an appeal to the 99 percent of Americans who don’t have to worry about getting tee times at Pebble Beach.
Those Americans, not Congress, were who he was courting. We shall see if they wind up being smitten, circa 2008.