Rich Galen

What I thought the President needed to do:

Let me start from what I didn't think he needed to do. President Obama did not have to appear to be reaching out to Congressional Republicans nor, for that matter, Congressional Democrats. He doesn't much like them. They don't much like him and, unlike Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, Barack Obama is not a good actor.

What he did need to do was to make a start in reassuring interested Americans that he is capable of not just getting through the next three years (he only got through 2013 because December 31 happened); but that he can do even small things to help the economy and the people who go to work every day to make the economy work.

Americans are distrustful and disdainful of their government leaders and he's the Leader-in-Chief.

The Pre-game:

I watched CNN which was like watching the Red Carpet pre-show of any of the hundreds of award shows. I Tweeted:

Oooh! There's the Chief Justice in a very stylish black robe designed, we're told, by Jos. A. Bank.

I don't like to watch the pre-speech banter because I'm about to watch it for myself and I don't want my thinking colored by continuing to mentally argue with something someone said 20 minutes before.

I turned it off, turning CNN back on when I was pretty sure the speech was about to start.

I turned off Twitter on the grounds that I didn't need to see 300 people Tweeting the speech line-by-line while I was watching it.

The Speech:

Smart start to the speech by not proclaiming "The State of the Union is Strong …" or some variant. He wisely started by patting everyday Americans on the back for being everyday Americans.

Very smart, I thought.

Them's fightin' words: "

America does not stand still and neither will I. Whenever I can take steps to expand opportunity for American families, that's what I'm gonna do."

Great litany of the chairman of GM (Mary T. Barra) as the daughter of a line worker to the "son of a barkeep" now the Speaker of the House (John Boehner), ending with the son of a single mom as President of the United States.

During the infrastructure piece, the President said he would use his executive order powers to make permitting easier to put people to work fixing roads, bridges and the like. He could have done this starting at about 2 pm January 20, 2009 but he didn't understand how suffocating new rules and regs are to economic growth.

I hope someone at the RNC starts keeping track of Rules & Regulations Reversed. If any.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at