STATE OF THE UNION….Marian and I watched the State of the Union address while slurping down Chinese food tonight, and then played Scrabble. I think the Scrabble was more entertaining.

I don’t usually watch political speeches, even the SOTU, because they’re just too predictable and tedious. And sure enough, the domestic part of the speech followed the usual pattern: a long laundry list of proposals, all carefully scripted and focus group approved, with little idea of which ones are really important. The AIDS stuff was unexpected, but otherwise it was mostly a yawner.

The Iraq part was better, I thought, a reasonably good summary of the current situation with very little of the bombastic rhetoric that we’ve heard so often before. I appreciated that he kept it fairly low key.

There was nothing new, though, although now we have yet another new date: February 5. That’s when Colin Powell will present new (and presumably more powerful) evidence to the Security Council about Iraqi WMDs. I still don’t understand why that couldn’t have been done today ? or six months ago ? but whatever. I’ll keep an open mind until then.

I saw Daschle respond to the speech afterward, and I was once again puzzled by the lousy speaking skills of veteran politicians. At one point, trying to emphasize his “credibility gap” talking point, Daschle said something like “we’ve heard rhetoric before that’s good, but then there’s a lack of follow through.” Crikey. Why not just say, “He talks a good game but doesn’t deliver the goods”? And then give a few punchy examples. What’s wrong with these people?

UPDATE: Josh, did you really like that “process” vs. “results” line? To me it sounded like a bullet point from some junior McKinsey consultant’s PowerPoint presentation. It was the one sentence in the entire speech that I thought struck a completely false note.