My colleague Jamelle Bouie has a nice take on last night's State of the Union address. Bouie pointed out what didn't make it into the address, like the depressingly high unemployment rate and the joblessness that's continuing despite a slow economic recovery.
If we can gauge issue importance by specificity and length, then it's abundantly clear that the White House -- along with the Democratic Party -- has all but given up on reducing unemployment. With a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and smaller Senate majority, there are vanishingly few prospects for further stimulus or more generous benefits. By completely omitting the country's employment crisis from his address, Obama is giving Democrats the space to look away from the wreckage, if they haven't already driven past it.
I'm not sure the president is giving up. In fact, since, as Bouie points out, no one will remember what he has said in these addresses when it's time to vote again in 2012, I'd say he's probably concentrating a great deal on getting people back to work; I just don't think it was good politically for Obama to draw attention to the fact that he hasn't yet decreased unemployment and that poverty is growing still under his watch.
The map of superlatives above from pleated-jeans.com made the rounds a few days ago and highlights what else wasn't in Obama's speech -- any mention of how the states are doing. The real state of the union, after all, depends a lot on where you look. More after the jump:
-- Monica Potts