There are different metrics by which to judge White House ineptitude, but here’s a sure one: To have the president of the United States, who is politically weakened and a figure with whom the public is increasingly irritated, give a speech to a joint session of Congress on a night that conflicts with a fantastic match up on opening night for America’s most popular sport.

The game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints not only pits the defending Super Bowl champions against the Super Bowl champions from two years ago; it also pits two of the five best quarterbacks in the league against each other (Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees). And the president has to compete against this?

This is not what a president coming out of an awful political summer, with a 15 point favorable-unfavorable gap, needs to recover ground. But perhaps this is a (very) well-disguised stroke of genius by David Axelrod. After all, it’s always possible Obama’s call for patent reform will stir and inspire a slumbering and dispirited nation.