"After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home," the president said in a litany of been-there, heard-that. "After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years and less foreign oil than we have in 20. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. . . . Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger."
Earlier in the evening, it seemed the cable networks might be able to pull themselves away from the riveting story unfolding in the mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles as law enforcement officers possibly cornered Christopher Dorner, an ex-police officer turned slaying suspect. Americans couldn't look away from the cabin in the woods, which was now ablaze. Poor Chris Matthews of MSNBC had to devote the whole hour leading up to the State of the Union address — easily the second- or third-biggest night of punditry all year! — to this . . . this breaking news. If he was irritated, you couldn't tell. He took it like a man.
On Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham had just a few minutes to segue from the California standoff to their dripping disgust that, once again, Obama has the stage.
"This State of the Union thing. You don't get anything out of this, do you?" O'Reilly asked Ingraham.
"This has all become, sadly . . . a quasi-reality show," she said.
"Here's what drives me crazy," O'Reilly said. "I have to watch Joe Biden jump up and down [and scream] ah-ya-ya-ya. Do I really have to put myself through that?"