Just a speech? Everyone knows he can give a speech, but can president turn economy around?
You don't really need to wait around for the after the play analysis on this one.
Tonight's State of the Union address will be a great speech, punctuated by bursts of support and laden with symbolism.
These sorts of addresses almost always are when a president visits Congress. And tonight, one of the masters of the speech is taking the podium.
But after the shine has worn off and the commentators are done doing their thing, it will be time for the proof, the plan and action.
And that is when we are going to need to start watching -- everyone -- closely.
It is easy to say you are going to grow the economy and to pull statistics out of a hat that suggest that things are getting better and that the time bomb that is excessive spending is not going to blow.
You can also ignore that there are a number of states -- including North Carolina -- that are facing deficits the likes of which they have never seen -- and have no hope of paying off.
You can do all that when you are just giving a speech.
But when it comes time to govern, you have to look at realities, and figure out where the problem is and what to do about it.
We are past rhetoric. So while we will try to look for hope in tonight's speech, we will be wary, too. It is time for leadership, not just words, from both parties.
The next step is action, pure and simple.
So we will feel good tonight about being Americans and about living in a place where our leaders can be hired -- and fired. But when the pageantry is over, we will be asking "Where's the beef?" And somebody better have an answer.
Published in Editorials on January 25, 2011 10:44 AM