Obama got Punk’d

Ok, so I was in class and in meetings pretty much all day yesterday, so only caught the tail end of the whole Boehner/Obama brouhaha over a speech before Congress (James Joyner discussed the whole thing here earlier today).  Indeed, I was too tired to give it much thought last night.

My initial response to the whole thing was a shrug.  That is, until I realized that the White House had agreed to a speech opposite the premiere of the NFL.

This demonstrates a truly stunning amount of cluelessness.

Granted:  the impact of a speech of this nature is to be found in the soundbites and the general reportage about the speech, since a lot of people wouldn’t watch in any event, but goodness, what a horrible move.

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Matt says:

    It’s difficult to do something that ridiculous without actually trying.

  2. Agreed.

    There is talk this morning that the White House may decide to start the speech at 7 or 7:30 Eastern time in order to avoid conflicting with the NFL. All that will accomplish, though, is to reduce the potential audience for the speech even more. The ideal time for these speeches is really 9pm (which is when the SOTU usually starts) or, in a pinch, 8pm in the East, because that gives time for people on the West Coast to get home to see the speech.

    Now, they’ll either be competing with the NFL, or they’ll be giving a speech when most people on the West Coast and in the Mountain Time Zone are either still at work, or on their way home and when people in the Mid-West (Central Time Zone) are eating dinner, helping kids with homework, or getting ready for the football game.

    Bad move all around.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    Prof. Taylor, why don’t just speak the soundbites?

    Seriously, the speeches seem to get longer and longer over time and less substantive as well. Shortening the speech for placement just before the football game might spark the kind of innovatoin that’s needed.

  4. @PD Shaw: I must confess that I seriously wonder about the general efficacy of these types of speeches.

    It does, however, seem to be an efficacious way of garnering additional media coverage that a “normal” speech does not.

    For me, I must confess to have grown really weary of these “speeches from the throne.”

  5. JKB says:

    Ann Althouse points out the 7 pm time conflicts with the pre-game show which had a concert scheduled. Also, that local NBC affiliates are asking for NBC to stream both and let them decide which for their market.

    It, also, really puts the pressure on for something substantial in the speech. Otherwise, the question is going to be, why a joint session of Congress, why the drama.

    Oh, and what happens when Obama’s increasingly tendency to be late for scheduled speeches and press conferences shows up?

  6. @JKB:

    It, also, really puts the pressure on for something substantial in the speech. Otherwise, the question is going to be, why a joint session of Congress, why the drama.

    A very good point.