“There are three big political realities out there. One is dependency on government to ease our lives. The other is for government to stay out of it as much as possible. The third is we’ve dumped a huge debt on our grandchildren. Go figure.
“What did you make of what he said about `growing the middle class,’” I asked.
“Growing it from the bottom up is one thing,” Freddy said. “But getting taxed for having reached the income Obama wants to tax is something else. It comes down to putting the nation’s interest ahead of private enterprise, but there’s nothing new about that.
“So what’s your bottom line on this speech,” I asked.
“You never know about their outcomes down the line,” Freddy said. “They say Lincoln was not satisfied with his speech after he gave it. Felt it had fallen far short of what might have been said. But look at what became of this speech, and what he would have made of that.
“The state of the nation is what a president sees at the time he makes it, and no one can tell what might follow. All a sitting president can do is to deal with all of the parts of the governmental landscape foreign and domestic, face the challenges at hand with all the assets available to him and bring his conclusions to the people.
“Obama does that. He’s no longer the fresh-faced presidential leader he was four years ago. He has disappointed some and gratified others, and has earned his graying hair.
“Getting that done depends on regaining control of the House two years from now and that had a lot to do with what this speech was all about.”
Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His e-mail address is email@example.com.