Strip away all the hopeful, feel-good stories and the introductions of this average American and that average American who did great or admirable things, and the annual State of the Union address would be a lot shorter. The address President Barack Obama gave on Tuesday, when boiled down, points to one major fact. Nothing much of substance is moving through Congress, and the president is planning on doing what he can to advance his agenda by executive orders and administrative actions.
For instance, the minimum wage that Congress won't pass for the rest of Americans will be raised to $10.10/hour by Obama for future government contract workers. Time and again the president said he would do what he can administratively, with or without Congress. Most likely it will be without.
Is this because of a balky, recalcitrant Republican caucus in the House, or a president who lacks the ability to forge alliances? Probably both. The reason isn't that important. The fact of the matter is that we have a government that is as divided and dysfunctional as we have ever had. Major issues like immigration reform and tax reform are unlikely to get done.
The state of the union, therefore, can be summed up in one word - stalemated.