It looks like I wasn’t the only one who found better things to do on Tuesday night than watch the State of the Union. According to Nielsen, 33.3 million Americans watched, which is the lowest number since 2000. And, at least for me, it wasn’t that I had something else going on that evening, or that I was all caught up in a different tv show. No, I was at home that night with no other plans, and I left the television off. I read a book instead.
I don’t know why 200,000 Americans who watched last year and 4.5 million Americans who watched the year before decided not to this year, but I can guess. I certainly know why I didn’t. This is the president who told us that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” right before millions of Americans received insurance cancellation notices. It’s the president who keeps insisting that the economy is in recovery, while Americans continue to feel the pinch. It’s the president who was so adamant about closing Guantanamo but still hasn’t. This is the president whose campaign offered hope, but Americans haven’t seen that materialize.
It seems to me that a lot of people are probably just bored and disillusioned with it all. They don’t really believe that anything they hear in a political speech is worth very much. It may happen, and it may not, but you certainly can’t count on it. So why spend the time listening? Of course, the problem isn’t unique to Obama, but it does seem to be particularly pronounced with him, and I for one am just tired of it.