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01.27.10

One Hell of a Speech

Obama didn’t deliver a speech so much as a symphony, calling for nukes and zapping the Supremes; thanks for the performance, Mr. President.

It is hard, indeed almost impossible, not to like Mr. Obama. In recent weeks, I’ve tried—tried my best. But Wednesday night he made it virtually impossible. Even discounting the perhaps 40 percent of the speech that consisted of the usual bromides and platitudes, even the most hardened skeptic must admit—the son of gun gives one hell of a speech.

My personal takeaway was his endorsement of nuclear power. So many of our problems—specifically, our 70 percent importation of oil from horrid desert regimes—could be eliminated if we embraced the atom. I can hardly wait to hear Senator Harry Reid’s reaction, coming as he does from a state that adamantly refuses to store nuclear waste, lest it cause gamblers in Las Vegas to glow in the dark.

More Daily Beast Writers on the State of the Union Address

Tonight Mr. Obama proved—once again—that he hears the American music and can play it like a maestro. As well as Ronald Reagan. Both presidents had—have—have music in their souls. The other people in the room where I watched the speech were in tears by the end—the kind that stream down the face. I managed to hold those back. But I could not hold back my admiration at the performance, in particular of Mr. Obama’s deep humanity, as evinced by his profound, almost Lincolnesque humor. Oh dear, are tears streaming down my face, one way or the other?

He proved himself capable, too, of drama, as when he (figuratively) pointed a finger at the Supremes, sitting in their courtly robes directly in front of him, hands demurely folded, and accused them (in my opinion, unjustly, to say nothing of injudiciously) of allowing “foreign enemies” to influence our elections. I had been under the impression that it was called “free speech.” But never mind. It was an electrifying moment. Thank you, Mr. President.

An electrifying evening, all in all. Well done. And yes, God bless the United States of America.

Christopher Buckley's books include Supreme Courtship, The White House Mess, Thank You for Smoking, Little Green Men, and Florence of Arabia. He was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H.W. Bush, and is editor-at-large of ForbesLife magazine. His new book is Losing Mum and Pup, a memoir. Buckley's Daily Beast column is the winner of an Online Journalism Award in the category of Online Commentary.