by Max Brantley
Do yourself a favor. Check out one of my favorite writers, Charles Pierce, on the state of the union speech last night. There are many good passages. Here's one:
And he did something I never thought he'd get around to doing. In his own unique way — which is to say elliptically and gently and with maddening equanimity — he made it quite plain on several occasions exactly who was responsible for the big, steaming bags of awful that were waiting on his desk when he took office a year ago. For all the pundits who were advising him to be more like the Blessed Ronnie Reagan, this was the most Reaganesque moment any president has had since ole Dutch shuffled off. In his first State of the Union, and for nearly three years after that, Reagan never missed an opportunity to hang anything that went wrong on Jimmy Carter. (No names, of course. This is Washington and that simply is not done.) Every time Obama referenced "the last administration" or "the lost decade," and, especially at that moment when, while discussing Republican economic policy, he explained, "That's what we did for eight years," I suspect the wind blew cold through the uncut brush of a now abandoned toy ranch in Crawford.
Yeah, and Pierce notes the problems in Congress on both sides:
The Democrats are a timorous collection of trimmers and hedgers, one more bad beat away from whimpering themselves into a gelatinous goo just liquid enough to ooze under the door of some lobbying shop. They couldn't get laid in a whorehouse if they drove up in a Brink's truck. They spent a flat year trying to get one vote out of Olympia Snowe.
And the Republicans are simply insane. Poor old John McCain is being primaried by J.D. Hayworth, once the dumbest man in Congress, at the behest of what might be called the lunatic fringe, if it wasn't the very mainstream of the party now. The energy of the party is wholly directed from the ancient, dark heart of American conspiracy theories, where it is not directed at simply standing athwart anything this president wants to do. Republicans repeatedly have voted against measures they have previously supported. Meanwhile, angry seniors in goofy hats have got them all terrified. Even Sarah Palin, as empty a vessel as ever was, is being eclipsed by Scott Brown, the recently elected senator from Massachusetts, who ran a campaign in which he was identified as a Republican about as often as he was identified as a Gaboon viper. The grumpy grampas loved him.