These speeches are typically a combo platter of ceremonial, tedium and occasional drama. The long run-up to the speech features the first two qualities: Members parked on the aisle to get into the photo with POTUS (and get a handshake, kiss or nod); the murmur of press types rapidly downloading the prepared remarks and providing insta-synthesis, etc.

The three areas of big pre-speech speculation are, as usual, about (1) what policy items get “mentioned,” (2) how (if at all) they are related to the overriding subject of the economy, and (3) how Obama frames his past and future interactions with the GOP.

Right now I’m listening to CNN, and unfortunately, that means Newt Gingrich arguing that no gun regulations could have stopped the ongoing tragedy in California.

So with the Supremes having come in, I’m switching to a fresh thread.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.