27 January 2010

Reacting to the State of the Union Address

OK, here's the speech and the speech cloud, thanks to Wordle...

My reaction is really the result of something my wife said. President Obama was talking to the people in the room, not the people beyond it.

The President was a little chippier than I thought he'd be, with a bit more tough-guy, " I won't accept second place" rhetoric, trying to assert the value of the stimulus package and lecturing Congress:
So no, I will not give up on changing the tone of our politics. I know it's an election year. And after last week, it is clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual. But we still need to govern. To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that sixty votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership.
On energy, I noticed he endorsed nuclear power and gave a few references to climate change. I got sort of a chuckle out of this, on the need to pass a comprehensive bill:
I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.
I thought the speech got to the laundry list of policy proposals quickly. And I also thought the speech was a tactical retreat on health care. It came up far too late in the speech. No real specifics.

My wife made an interesting point - she didn't think the handful of sarcastic quips helped much. She thought President Obama wasn't just talking to a cynical Congress or the beltway punditry. He was talking to all of us, and he needed to be the adult in the room.

That's when I realized as I went through the remarks, he wasn't really talking to America - he really was talking to Congress.

1 comment:

TZT said...

I disagree a bit - I feel like he's been the adult in the room, and the response he's gotten has been overwhelmingly childish, navel-gazing do-nothing behavior. (Actually, I hang out with a lot of 4-year-olds and calling Congress "childish" is kind of insulting to them.)

I was relieved to see Obama rattle the cages of both parties.