Stacey Abrams was an unusual choice to deliver the response to the state of the union speech, and her approach was a little unusual too.
She is best known, nationally, not as an elected official but as an unsuccessful candidate for governor of Georgia (last year). And in quite a few ways her speech sounded as if it could have come from the stump.
But. She was a good choice in part because she’s the subject of a lot of discussion about her possible next candidacy – for a Georgia Senate seat – and so about what Democrats are arguing about what may becoming rather than what now is. A subtle but important point.
And the speech, which was well written and skillfully delivered (you could see right away why she’s a highly regarded candidate), was properly a campaign speech because, in essence, so was the president’s. It was like for like.
She spoke of uplift more than criticism – there was plenty of “this uncommon grace of community”.
But there was also “the shutdown was a stunt, engineered by the president of the United States” followed by, “the leaders of our state didn’t shut down, we came together”. She said that “Democrats stand ready to secure our borders”.
And added, “I still don’t want him to fail. I want him to tell the truth.”
Not a bad choice either – and this is unusual for this kind of speech – for the video feed to show her in front of a cheering audience rather than a quiet room.
It was a notable speech.
As for the state of the union … nothing in particular to note. More of the same.