By The Way

Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama.jpg

In terms of college, as Inside Higher Ed put it “Thanks to leaks in the days leading up to it, there were virtually no surprises in President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night.”

One thing I noticed, however, was that in the section of the speech about student loans where Obama urged the Senate to pass the student loan reform bill, Obama also also said: “And, by the way, it’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs, because they, too, have a responsibility to help solve this problem.”

“By the way” is an interesting rhetorical device. This means Obama believes he is talking about a serious issue, but he isn’t going to do anything about it. Don’t expect colleges to begin reigning in costs anytime soon.

The only other time the president used “by the way” in his speech was to reference another low-impact issue:

…It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care. And by the way, I want to acknowledge our first lady, Michelle Obama, who this year is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make kids healthier.

Thank you, honey.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer