Friday, January 15, 2016

Obama Was Too Happy

When I watched Obama's speech on Tuesday night I was struck by one thing more than any other and it wasn't anything in particular he said. It was his relaxed tone. How much it reflected his state of mind and how much of it was projected – a performance – I'll resist speculating about. 

However, Obama's words weren't nearly as sharply partisan as they have been at times. He wasn't as entertainingly sarcastic as he can be. I think that may be part of why we aren't hearing Republicans complain so much about his proposals. Obama seemed more a president and less the Democrat's top dog. And, so far, the fury of the GOP's spokespersons and presidential candidates has been directed at Obama's manner more than the substance of his speech. 

Obama didn't use his last State of the Union speech to fume at opponents and it pissed some of them off. He seemed optimistic, almost lighthearted. He wasn't threatening enemies, real and imagined; he wasn't issuing ultimatums.

Moreover, Obama seemed so genuinely comfortable in his shoes that it provided a rather stark contrast to how uncomfortable and phony most of the Republican hopefuls seemed last night. So, I'm guessing Obama isn't much surprised that Republicans are inventing apologies to Iran that were never made.

It makes me think that with his mild-mannered speech Obama deliberately set up the angry Republicans he figured would jump at the bait 48 hours later. Interestingly, with her response, the poised Nikki Haley didn't.

As time goes by we'll see how that plays out, but I think Haley was wisely looking at the future – when some of the trash-talking Republican on stage in South Carolina last night will have been assigned their proper place in the dustbin of history. 

In the meantime, we'll all have to put up with Republicans on the make who are outraged about Obama's speech, because he was just too damn happy.

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