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Mitch Perry Report for 1.12.16 – SOTU time, baby!

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

OK, let’s not pretend that anyone out there is really all that interested, much less excited, that Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address tonight.

I would say that it’s an antiquated relic that the country has transcended, and in fact, last year’s SOTU was the least viewed since 2000. Having said that, nearly 32 million people still opted to tune into the annual ritual, broadcast up and down your cable package.

That’s not bad in this splintered media landscape in which we live in.

If you’ve seen or read White House chief of staff Dennis McDonough‘s comments in recent days, we’re told that this will not be your typical SOTU speech. That it will offer a “big-picture approach” rather than the usual laundry list of goals and programs.

Whatever.

In previous decades, TV comedians like Jon Stewart and Dennis Miller used to do live shows on SOTU evenings. Rachel Maddow once called it her “favorite night of the year.” Seriously.

People have been more tuned into politics on a national level than ever in the past year, and it’s very much attributable to Donald Trump. As a friend told me the other night, she was engrossed in watching Trump speak live on MSNBC in Burlington, Vermont, but had a hard time getting into Obama’s live town hall meeting on guns televised on CNN.

It was disappointing to hear that, but it was also real. Americans aren’t fearful of the Islamic State as much as they fear being bored on a weeknight.

Enjoy the evening. Or not. We don’t need a State of the Union necessarily. We do need people to engage more in their government, in their public lives.

In other news …

The Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee has elected Ione Townsend to lead the party for the rest of this year.

Democrats hope to win back the House District 63 seat this fall, but so far, GOP incumbent Shawn Harrison has a huge advantage in fundraising over the two Democrats in the race.

Immigration activists are in Tallahassee this morning, and more are on the way this week, to show their dissent regarding legislation proposed this session that they don’t like at all.

While one poll had Jeb Bush in second place in New Hampshire over the weekend, a Monmouth University survey has him in 7th, with his unfavorables bigger than anyone else running in the GOP race for president.

Bob Buckhorn didn’t support the medical marijuana initiative when it was on the 2014 ballot. He says that he’ll look into the language on the measure that may be on the ballot this coming November, which definitely imposes more controls on the distribution of the product.

The Republican Party of Florida can’t hide their delight at the report that the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private emails while serving as Secretary of State may be expanding.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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