Well, he promised to remain relevant and his hacks swore he'd remain "bold" in his vision as he limps out of his last year of the worst Presidency in modern history but George W. Bush delivered a flat, uninspired, and largely unremarkable State of the Union Address. For a guy so keen on grand visions and tough guy talk, Bush seemed to limit that bravado for threats against his own enemies, foreign and domestic. He threaten to veto any extension of FISA and basically called out as pussies anyone who opposes the current version (which provides immunity for telecom companies who most likely broke the law in cooperating with the Administration to tap phones of American citizens). He then turned his weak gaze and dopey smirk on Iran, echoing the same language he employed in the run up to invading Iraq. Scared yet?
The Democrats took a different approach in their responses. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius played up the change message and made entreaties to the President to drop partisan jockeying to meet the huge challenges at home and abroad. It's unlikely the President even listened to her response, nevermind react to it, but it plays nicely into the theme of the Democratic campaign to retake the White House next fall.
Staying with that theme, Barack Obama reminded us that we've had seven years of this nonsense and pointed out the bald hypocrisy of Bush asking to slash earmarks while the skyrocketed in his tenure. Tax cuts? How about we start paying for shit? The surge? The problem in Iraq has never been military, it's a political sandtrap that hasn't gotten better despite the securing of neighborhoods in Baghdad. It's like fixing an oil leak in a car that's on fire.
Obama then went to the heart of his campaign that plays to our better angels and against the growing antagonism of the American public toward their elected representatives in government. We're better. We can do better. Instead of half the country hating the other half, imagine if next year were different.