When I was a speechwriter at the Pentagon, and drafted the national security parts of President Reagan’s State of the Union addresses, I used to record the speech. I’d then play it back three times: first, picture only -- no sound; then sound only; and finally picture and sound together. So, for part of last night's speech, I turned off the sound last night and just watched the body language.
President Obama looked like he was at a funeral. Here he was promising goodies for all – education, health care, tax reform, energy, troops, but he looked miserable. He had the command and power and majesty of the entire U.S. government sitting before him but he looked like he didn't want to be there.
He was talking about optimism and our golden future, but he didn’t look like he believed a word of it.
He didn’t crack a smile while he delivered the speech, and he positively scowled when he walked out of the chamber, despite the applause and backslapping he enjoyed from the Democratic members of Congress.
On the other hand Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who was tapped to deliver the Republican response, looked energized.
He address the fears we all have about our jobs, our households and especially for the legacy we’re leaving our children. He was up front about the problems that visit each and every one of us – at least those of us outside the Beltway. And he talked about how we can solve them.
And, if you turned off the sound, he looked like someone who relished the challenge. Here delivering his response to the State of the Union he was in a nearly impossible setting -- in an empty chamber staring straight into the camera.
He looked a little nervous, at least at first. But as he warmed to his words, you got the impression that this is a guy who "gets it" and isn’t afraid of what we have to do to solve it. No more happy talk, not more avoiding the problems or kicking the can down the road. Face our problems head one and deal with them and we'll be the better for it. That’s leadership.
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's DefCon 3. She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Monday at 10 a.m. ET on FoxNews.com's "DefCon3" already one of the Web's most watched national security programs.