Without A Net

Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Random thoughts on the State of the Union

• Rock star presidents: Growing up, I always thought of the president and members of Congress as colleagues. I pictured them meeting together and calling one another on the phone. One thing that the State of the Union always seems to make clear is that this isn't necessarily the case, as you read stories about members of Congress coming early so they can get a good spot just for the opportunity to shake the president's hand and you watch Obama signing autographs for members of Congress as he leaves the chamber. Even for members of Congress, presidents are still celebrities.

• As a former history major, I always enjoy a good historical reference used to frame a major speech. President Obama referenced the period of history I spent the most time studying in school, the Civil War, drawing an allusion to when the Union was turned back at Bull Run. It was an intriguing allusion on the same day controversial historian Howard Zinn died.

• Observing the political process, you grow to appreciate seemingly genuine moments. After Obama went on a recitation of tax cuts worthy of Ronald Reagan, Republicans remained stalwart in their opposition to applause, leading to Obama smirking and saying "I thought I'd get some applause on that one."

• California was specifically cited by Obama, using a "California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels" as an example of last year's investment in clean energy. It's interesting to see the rare instances when the west coast makes an appearance in national politics besides hosting fundraisers.

• There were a million other interesting moments, but one line that will likely have resonance for those who closely followed Obama's rise was when he talked about campaigning "on the promise of change," and referred to the slogan "change we can believe in" as a slogan. It was an example of the difference between running for office and serving in office, and it will be interesting to see how both Obama's supporters and his opposition react in the days and weeks to come. CNN's audience tracking showed his supporters holding strong throughout the speech, though the speech's numbers among independents were better than I expected.

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