The off-lede in the SOTU story is that the Democratic Party made a specific decision to go into hiding. With foreign policy the president's main topic—and the material everybody was anticipating—the Dems responded through a small-state governor. Whatever else he has going for him, Gary Locke has nothing to say about the Mideast or about war (that anybody wants to hear), and that seems to have been the point of using him. It allowed the Democrats to duck the issue. Of course, it was really the evening's only issue. Are Dems still debating why they blew the last election?