How important is Obama's address to Congress?
Sure, the media and punditry is chattering about how Pres. Obama's address to the joint session of Congress tonight is a really, really big deal and that it is a "make or break" moment of his presidency, but all of that is pure hype, silliness, and nonsense. Yes, it is simply a bit of theater. Besides, if there is one thing that Barack Obama has proven, repeatedly it is that he knows how to give a great speech. Slam dunk. End of story. This one speech will not and is not intended to "save health reform." Yes, it will be a pep talk, both to rally supporters and to persuade non-supporters that this president is not out to get their blood and that "change" can work out well for everyone. At most, the speech will simply remind people that all of the remaining hard work on health insurance reform will occur in private meetings long after the final applause for this speech has died off.
Sure, maybe there will be a few new ideas or new formulations in the speech to spice it up, but that is besides the core purpose of simply pulling a lot of the loose threads together and reminding people exactly what the president asked Congress to do way back in June.
Personally, I do not think the speech is technically needed at all, but given the bizarre ways that the media and punditry and random politicians "operate", it may in fact be psychologically needed to persuade those "professionals" that everything is fine, we really are on track, and the big dogs really do know what they are doing and that the results are likely to be fairly decent, despite all of the chatter.
Sure, a lot of average Americans out there are quite confused and anxious about it all, but that is primarily because the media and punditry have gotten themselves "all wee-weed up" and need an adult to calm them down a little. Besides, the average American is really only interested in how the final result actually works in the real world, not all of this "inside baseball" of the Washington political machinery.
I am quite sure that once the president has finished speaking and the media and punditry have had their say tonight, by tomorrow morning people will not be so... wee-weed up. Sure, there are still plenty of details to be negotiated and ironed out, but that is all par for the course. Health insurance reform really is solidly on track.
I just wish I could write the opening line of the president's speech:
Thank you. Thank you... How is everyone doing?... Is everybody all wee-weed up?