There weren’t many surprises in the State of the Union. However, there were two interesting unexpected twists. First, Obama called for gays to be allowed to serve openly in the military. I’m not surprised that Obama supports this. But I am surprised that he has decided to make a push on that front right now. This is one of the rare issues where Obama and I agree, so I hope he succeeds. Polls say that a strong majority supports repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” so this initiative is less of a political risk than it was when Bill Clinton tried it in 1993.
The other surprise was when Obama channeled Sarah Palin by calling for increased offshore oil drilling in order to achieve “energy independence.” Perhaps he will take up Palin’s “drill, baby, drill” slogan as well. On a slightly more serious note, this may be another issue where Obama and I agree (though I doubt that the benefits will be as great as Palin claimed). I just don’t know enough about it to be sure, so I will respect the limits of my own political knowledge. Given all my scholarship on political ignorance, it’s the least I can do.