There in the front row were the Supreme Court justices in their black burkas, five of whom had just painted a giant "For Sale" sign on Congress. Over on the right sat Republican members looking all the world like they were being forced to sit through the funeral of someone they didn't even know. On the left were the "majority" Democrats, clapping like trained seals as though they actually done anything to celebrate.
But I will admit, the fella can capture even cynics like me. Man did that guy string together some stirring, inspiring and uplifting zingers last night.
I loved it when he got right in the face of the Supremes. They had it coming, and they didn't like it. Too bad. We didn't like their ruling last week either. Maybe they get a guaranteed lifetime job, but nothing in the constitution says it comes with a "take it, like it and shut up about it," clause.
And I loved the part about how everyone in both parties are always running for re-election, and how that has completely jammed the wheels of government. True.
And I liked that he threw a punch at his own party, telling Democrats that when the going gets politically dangerous you "don't just run for the hills." (Even though we all know, and he knew, that's exactly what they will continue doing.)
But, after a couple of years of campaigning, and a year in office, this is what I've learned about this guy:
An Obama speech is like the old joke about Chinese food. It tastes terrific. But a hour later I'm hungry again.
Which explains why, as time goes on, fewer and fewer of us care what Obama says, even though he says it so well, Instead our focus is increasingly shifting what he DOES. And, frankly, so far, he hasn't done much of anything. In the coming year I want to see his feet moving a lot more and his mouth moving a lot less.
Yes, his victory was indeed a delicious moment. It filled us up with hope. But a year later, we're all hungry again. So, going forward, we'd like something that really sticks to the bones.
(Here's the speech he should have given)