Obama’s State of the Union address demonstrated the advantages of incumbency. The president was presidential, commanding attention, seemingly basking in the love. Television beamed it all home: the grandeur of the House chamber, the crowd’s huzzahs, the repeated standing ovations. The fact that many legislators mostly sat stonily was not apparent. Viewers heard the Democrats’ shouts and saw them standing and sitting, standing and sitting, loyally doing their mass partisan squat thrusts.

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