Sorry, Obama: No One’s Listening

 

The panelists on CNN were eager to hear the President deliver his sixth State of the Union address. The third-place cable news network chose commentators from across the American political spectrum, ranging from Obama’s former Special Advisor Van Jones to Obama’s former Press Secretary Jay Carney. (Obama’s unofficial debate coach Candy Crowley was unavailable.) Throughout the pre-game coverage CNN ran a countdown clock in the upper left corner, much like the on-screen visual used when MacGyver needed to defuse a bomb.

Despite the network’s desire to flesh out news stories for their already written “Obama’s back!” ledes, not even the President’s allies shared journalists’ excitement:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg owes her colleagues Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy some drinks. But maybe she should stick to a cup of coffee … spiked with Red Bull.

The pair sat flanking the 81-year-old justice during President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and they did their level best to keep their obviously dozy colleague from totally nodding off  — something she’s done during more than one such speech.

This year, Ginsburg, put up a strong fight against the urge to snooze through the SOTU, fiddling with her gloves (yeah, she often wears a black lace pair) and blinking to keep her eyes open. But when that wasn’t enough, it was Kennedy and Breyer to the rescue: Kennedy delivered a sharp elbow at one point to rouse her, and Breyer did the yeoman’s work, subtly nudging her at least eight times (we counted) and frequently flicking his gaze to check on her.

As a fellow victim of Tuesday’s SOTU, I speak for the entire audience when I say Je Suis Ginsberg.

The hour-plus drone seemed like a dance remix of his previous five addresses but with fewer beats per minute. “Let me be clear”… “top one percent”… “let’s work together”… “I’ll veto every Republican plan”… “and the middle class.” Obama seems to have replaced his speechwriting team with Microsoft Word macros.

The worst part for the President wasn’t the tired repetition, the pablum offered, or narcoleptic justices. It’s that almost no one bothered to watch:

President Barack Obama‘s 2015 State of the Union address drew the lowest television viewership for any such speech in the last 15 years, according to new data from Nielsen.

The president’s Tuesday address was watched by 31.7 million viewers across 12 broadcast and cable networks that carried the speech live, despite a two-week campaign style tour and a social media blitz to drum up interest.

That’s down from the 33.3 million viewers who tuned in to Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address last year, and the 52.4 million who watched him deliver a 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress early on in his presidency.

And it’s the second-smallest State of the Union audience since Nielsen started collecting the data in 1993. Only Bill Clinton‘s 2000 speech drew a smaller television audience than Mr. Obama’s this year, with about 31.5 million views.

The few who did watch already knew that Obama’s vague and deceptive proposals were dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled Congress he regularly demonizes. The President talks so often and in so many venues that his speeches have become oratorical Muzak. And viewers recognize that after each lofty speech, almost nothing he promises ever comes to fruition.

America, by and large, has tuned out. A bully pulpit doesn’t work if nobody’s in the pews.

There are 22 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Once you have heard one Obama speech, you have heard every Obama speech.

    • #1
  2. 6foot2inhighheels Member
    6foot2inhighheels
    @6foot2inhighheels

    It’ll be news, and worth watching, only if he finally shuts up.

    • #2
  3. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    First there was voting with your feet. Now we can see that there is judging with a snore.

    Ruth, Gd has led you to the proper conclusion. Please sweety, just go with it for once.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
  4. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Let’s compare his ratings on the SOTU with the planned internet interview, including the tenacious journalist GloZell (sample of her work here).

    • #4
  5. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Sure, there were a lot of people who didn’t watch. But like the people who didn’t vote, the President hears them and knows their concerns.

    • #5
  6. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    The State of Union address is a boring address, full of applause lines designed to add length to the tedium.  The “I Have a Dream” speech is under 20 minutes.

    One of these days, someone will have the bright idea to keep the State of the Union to 30 minutes or less.  Our nation will be grateful.

    • #6
  7. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Eustace C. Scrubb:Sure, there were a lot of people who didn’t watch. But like the people who didn’t vote, the President hears them and knows their concerns.

    Eustace,

    Well Clinton felt their pain. Now Obama is reading their minds.

    An empath and a psychopath.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
  8. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    6foot2inhighheels:It’ll be news, and worth watching, only if he finally shuts up.

    From your lips to God’s ear.

    • #8
  9. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    John Roberts better be looking tired, sad and remorseful.

    • #9
  10. TalkGOP Member
    TalkGOP
    @TalkGOP

    “Obama seems to have replaced his speechwriting team with Microsoft Word macros.”

    Yes, this is exactly it. I told my wife last night that surely they didn’t pay any speech writers with real talent to write this drivel. You get they idea that he is constantly correcting his own speechwriters. Can you imagine working with him on a speech? It must be maddening.

    • #10
  11. Capt. Spaulding Member
    Capt. Spaulding
    @CaptSpaulding

    Since Obama has said he knows more about foreign policy than any of his foreign policy advisers, certainly he must be a better speech writer than any of his speech writers.

    • #11
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Rush had a caller a few days ago who said, she wants to hear Obama say just four words.  “I quit.”  “Good-bye”.

    I concur.

    • #12
  13. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Quinn the Eskimo:One of these days, someone will have the bright idea to keep the State of the Union to 30 minutes or less. Our nation will be grateful.

    With a little luck, the state of the union address will go back to being written.

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Somewhere out there Sandra Day O’Connor is looking at that picture of Ruth and laughing.

    “That’s why I retired,” she is saying.

    • #14
  15. x Inactive
    x
    @CatoRand

    TalkGOP:

    Yes, this is exactly it. I told my wife last night that surely they didn’t pay any speech writers with real talent to write this drivel. You get they idea that he is constantly correcting his own speechwriters. Can you imagine working with him on a speech? It must be maddening.

    Well, he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters you know.

    • #15
  16. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    James Gawron:

    Eustace C. Scrubb:Sure, there were a lot of people who didn’t watch. But like the people who didn’t vote, the President hears them and knows their concerns.

    Eustace,

    Well Clinton felt their pain. Now Obama is reading their minds.

    An empath and a psychopath.

    Regards,

    Jim

    A couple of sociopaths is more like ti.

    • #16
  17. user_615140 Inactive
    user_615140
    @StephenHall

    SOTU is unbecoming for the citizens of a (putatively) free Republic. Even the Queen, giving her speech to the Lords and Commons assembled, behaves with much more humility, restraint, simplicity, dignity and brevity than the Emperor at the head of the U.S. government.

    • #17
  18. x Inactive
    x
    @CatoRand

    Stephen Hall:SOTU is unbecoming for the citizens of a (putatively) free Republic. Even the Queen, giving her speech to the Lords and Commons assembled, behaves with much more humility, restraint, simplicity, dignity and brevity than the Emperor at the head of the U.S. government.

    Well let’s face it, the Emperor has a lot more power.

    • #18
  19. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    She might have been praying he would stop.

    • #19
  20. karenwtn Inactive
    karenwtn
    @karenwtn

    What is wrong with the 31 million who did watch it? Myself I watched HGTV.

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    JimGoneWild:She might have been praying he would stop.

    That’s wonderful.  :)

    • #21
  22. user_615140 Inactive
    user_615140
    @StephenHall

    Cato Rand:Well let’s face it, the Emperor has a lot more power.

    That (partly) explains, but does not excuse.

    • #22

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.