Grading SOTU: Post-SOTU Open thread

For the most part, I thought President Obama's State of the Union address was excellent. The TL kid and I decided we'll give the President an A and the speech an A-. (Update: CBS poll: 83% of Americans approve the proposals in the speech)

The reasons the speech isn't getting an A: His reference to:

  • Allowing (only)those who "play by the rules" to contribute
  • "Those who obey the law should be protected by the law." Everyone should be protected.
  • No commitment to closing Guantanamo and repatriating those who haven't been charged
  • No commitment to criminal justice reform
  • Vague on intentions for social security

Obama gets an "A" because of the leadership he displayed, his passion in delivering the speech and the confidence he inspired in us. We think our Government is in good hands.

How would you score the speech and the President?

Update: Best lines:
America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity.
We donít quit. I donít quit. Letís seize this moment Ė to start anew
We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. ... make no mistake: this war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home.
Worst lines:
...the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.(my emphasis)
And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system Ė to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations. (my emphasis)
< Full Text of President Obama's SOTU Address | ICE, Customs & Border Agency Ramps Up Drug Busts >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Same ol wine (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:36:08 PM EST
    in a brand new bottle.

    Jeralyn, in terms of substantive issues, (none / 0) (#93)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:44:01 AM EST
    proposed action, and/or policy, etc: what did you like about the speech aside from a renewed promise to "have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August"?

    New result (none / 0) (#116)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:37:32 AM EST

    He is making Jimmy Carter look better and better.

    What are you grading? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:38:09 PM EST
    The substance or the delivery?

    Speech was way too long, way to scattered and way too boring. Like every SOTU.

    Substance was mostly great. If he would half of what he says he will, he'd be the best President since FDR.

    As far as SOTUs go, average, In terms of speeches, like every SOTU, horrible.

    On substance, A-. But a meaningless A-.

    content and delivery (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:10:19 PM EST
    content A-
    delivery A

    I didn't think it rambled at all.

    And, he had a few good lines that were very inspirational.


    Inspirational? (5.00 / 7) (#110)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:03:38 AM EST
    The last SOTU that I found inspirational was the one Clinton gave right after the impeachment when he stared down a stony faced republican majority and basically told them they were a joke.

    Obama said a lot of things he has said before and didn't mean before.  So I can not be inspired.
    Plus his timing and delivery are static.  He is much more of a metronome than a speaker.


    Just like his campaign, inspirational (none / 0) (#77)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:31:31 PM EST
    But I've heard those promises before, during his campaign.  

    I don't think it was very Presidential for him to dump on the Supreme Court.   jmo


    Sorry... (5.00 / 7) (#35)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:20:19 PM EST
    ... but when he misrepresents the basics on both health care and financial reform -- and that's even before we get to policy prescriptions -- he doesn't get an A.

    1st half = C, 2nd half = A- (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Realleft on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:40:41 PM EST
    Too much wonk early on.  Added more heart and truth later.

    Ah, so it all began to blur (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:50:00 PM EST
    for me just as it got good?  

    I sure didn't see passion for the first 40 minutes or so.  Not passion for people.

    I just couldn't keep watching, with that dizzying head-switching from teleprompter to teleprompter.  But I still was listening -- and if this had been on radio, the passion wasn't there.  Bellowing, yeh, I heard that.  But that's not the best, most effective way to impart passion.

    If he ever had looked us in the eye, maybe I could have hung in there, watching.  I kept watching for eye contact.  I never saw it.


    Sounded like so many of his campaign speeches, (5.00 / 7) (#65)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:09:26 PM EST
    It was rather irritating when he repeats speech points from the campaign and has NOT done.  He had done nothing about earmarks.  He has appointed lobbyists, he's made deals with them.  Who's going to believe that he's going to do anything about earmarks and lobbyists?  

    I like the idea of helping small businesses.  But I don't know how he's going to freeze spending and start all these new programs that he was proposing tonight.  

    As a campaign speech, it was good but we all know he can give a good speech.  Can he deliver?   Haven't seen much of that yet.  


    He got his bump 59% (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:17:16 PM EST
    believe now that he has a plan to create jobs, up from 40% according to the CBS poll.

    That's a significant jump and with it comes significantly raised expectations.

    59% of Americans now believe Obama has a plan to create jobs. Of course, saved or created means something unique to this WH.

    I hope Obama succeeds, even modestly. It would be a first, I mean after convincing Americans that he'd be a great president.

    Of course, a bump in the numbers isn't going to put food on anybody's table tonight, but the two Davids will be happy.


    on eye contact (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:50:29 AM EST
    He's addressing Congress who are in the room. The teleprompters are at an angle. If he stared directly into a camera right in front of him, assuming one was placed there, it would appear very odd to the audience. Even though the speech is televised, he's not speaking to us but to Congress. We're just observers.

    I listened on NPR, so I could concentrate on (none / 0) (#12)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:52:53 PM EST
    what was said and how it was said. Also, I don't want to hear the post-speech about how many interruptions for applause, etc... those evaluations don't do much for me.

    So what's your take, your grade (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:55:31 PM EST
    from just listening to it?  A la 1960 debate. . . .

    So far, the CNN focus group is finding the agenda not believable -- not attainable, as in if he can do all this, why didn't he do any of this by now?


    I may be jaundiced by pre-existing (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:01:59 PM EST
    attitudes, but here's my take-- he took a sharp turn to the center. Some amount of petulance bordering on desperation about health care, but nothing particularly inspiring.

    One reason for my lack of excitement? He's already had a year to do things like DADT, close Guantanamo, and so forth.

    I guess I'd say ifeel like it's really incrementalism spoken from a bully pulpit. I sincerely feel like he could have had this one delivered on paper and had as much impact on the legislature. I don't think it will make great changes in the country, but might make some angy folks just disgruntled.

    If it was offense, it was a four-corners offense.  


    Interesting, thanks. Re "petulance" (5.00 / 7) (#21)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:06:21 PM EST
    several pundits have noted that he "scolded," unquote, everybody -- Dems, GOP, even the Supremes right in front of him.

    I don't think that being the nation's "scold" works for long.  But then, I've never liked (see comments circa 2007) the lecturing, even preachy tone.  It's talking at us, not talking with us.  (Again, note no eye contact with the camera, only teleprompters.)

    That's style.  On substance, careful crafting to cover himself if he needs to scold again for his agenda not getting done.  By others . . . except for the executive order promise, which he can do.

    Except, again -- didn't he attack Bush for executive orders, didn't Obama promise to not do them?  He has done a lot of them already.


    Cream, I think this was a timid speech in terms (5.00 / 5) (#28)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:10:29 PM EST
    of proposals. I agree about the scolding. He doesn't want to accept responsibility for what has happened. Or even more, what hasn't happened.

    It was no shoot for the stars and settle for the moon speech, that's for sure.


    He scolded finger pointing a (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:18:11 PM EST
    lot.....that isn't redundant :)

    Well, I thought all 3 (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by brodie on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:49:14 AM EST
    of those groups were very worthy of scolding -- the partly bought and paid for cong'l Dems, the Repub Party of No, and, called out for some well-deserved criticism, the 5 corporatist righty majority of Les Suprèmes.

    And a president is not likely to lose many popularity points going after the various entrenched D.C. establishment factions.

    So this was not a jimmy carter Malaise Moment where the president scolded the public for not being as virtuous and self-disciplined as he was.


    Maybe he's grading us, not (none / 0) (#24)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:09:19 PM EST

    What's the grade? A B+, too? (none / 0) (#89)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:37:12 AM EST
    I think he's an academic at heart (none / 0) (#127)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:25:53 AM EST
    Not a politician. Good politicians like people, academics like ideas. Good politicians are inspired by the people, academics are inspired by other intellectuals (and distrust and dismiss the emotional, subjective judgements of people).

    I've come to think that great politicians need a little subjectivity -- that is passionate ideas and commitments inspired by personal experience. FDR's polio-inspired experience of vulnerabilty. Clinton's experience as a bright and ambitious boy from a lower middle class background who rose through access to an elite education. Reagan's experience as someone who rose from low to high in a very different era that emphasized personal attributes like pluck and positive thinking, etc. (My grandma, another positive thinking, plucky midwestern who in her own way conquered the world, absolutely adored Reagan).

    Passion is missing from Obama because he personally identifies with a very narrow, and more fortunate than average, group of Americans -- the most successful products of our elite universities in academia, finance, media.

    To the rest of us, Tim Geitner may seem like a pretty cold fish, Larry Summers may at times  display a startling lack of judgement, and Jon Grubers ideas appear a bit experimental, ungrounded and politically dense, but they are Obama's type of people. And if union leaders, community activists, passionate constiuencies question his and their judgements; it's because they don't know better (or enough), they're reacting subjectively and selfishly, etc.

    At heart, I think he does see most Americans as bitter and ignorant, or, at best, naive and ignorant.



    I don't see that (5.00 / 3) (#128)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:33:05 AM EST
    Maybe my view of those in academics is off, but I saw Bill Clinton (or even Hillary) as more "academic" than Obama.  Their appeal, however, was that they were politicians too.  To me, an "academic" is someone who stays up all night (or would be willing to) debating issues - full of passion - making arguments for and against.  An academic, inmy view, has a passion for knowledge and a quest for truth.

    I just don't get that from Obama.  If it isn't about him, he doesn't seem to be that enthusiastic.  I could be wrong.


    Well, I'm probably being unfair to academics (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:53:21 AM EST
    I agree that genuine intellectuals are inspired and passionate. And, good teachers, in my experience, have a passionate connection to other people and find real satisfaction, even joy, in seeing their students learn and progress.

    But I don't think Obama, although he is a writer and lecturer, really is much of an intellectual.

    One reason the media wonks love him is because he really is a lot like them. People may have thought they were electing FDR, but really, they were electing Ezra Klein's or Jonathan Chiat's older brother.


    Is Obama the only President in recent (2.00 / 1) (#167)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    history whose college transcripts haven't come under public scrutiny? Why would he not want to  post them on his forehead if they attest to his much vaunted intellectual prowess?

    Yes, stereotypes rarely are useful (none / 0) (#132)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:02:42 AM EST
    and especially for constructive critiques, and especially for a very unusual person, as is Obama.  

    I know a lot of lawyers who are cerebral sorts, not very good at social skills, etc., but that hardly suggests stereotyping all lawyers as such -- and especially because I also know many who are passionate and do well at connecting with people.

    The stereotyping of academics is especially jarring on this day, when we mourn the loss of the passionate and very activist Prof. Howard Zinn, as noted in another thread.  Now, he had audacity. :-)  


    My point wasn't to criticize academics (none / 0) (#153)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:12:12 PM EST
    And I apologize if you took it that way. The point I was trying to make is that attributes that are positive in an academic environment (a preference for objectivity over subjectivity, for intellectual research over experience, ideas over emotion), if not accompanied by some "passionate ideas and commitments inspired by personal experience" may not be as successful in politics. And could even account for the fact that some people feel that Obama "lectures" rather than connects.

    I don't think I actually criticized academics at all. I was criticizing Obama's apparent inability to see politics as much more than an academic exercise.  


    I think you did, and clearly, so do others (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:12:01 PM EST
    but I appreciate your walkback to qualifying your assertions to, essentially, some academics.  Yes, what you say is true of some academics -- and some lawyers and some doctors and some plumbers and others I know, too.

    However, many academics -- indeed, most I know -- do not fit the odd dichotomy you continue to maintain.  Believe me, you've got to be passionate about an issue to spend a massive portion of your life researching and writing about it for a dissertation alone, and then again for articles, books, etc., and throughout in teaching about it.  The lack of such passion is not an attribute in academe.  The lack of such passion most often means that person is not going to make it to the Ph.D., into a career, and to  tenure.  And then s/he won't be an academic, anymore, at all.

    See the late, great Howard Zinn whom we mourned here yesterday, and then reread your first comment, too.  He was not one or the other; he was all -- an academic and an activist, etc.  And so are most in academe whom I know.  It may be that what you are talking about is style, not substance, though.  Sure, few academics may bellow, but again, that does not mean lack of passion.  The most effective means of imparting passion that I have witnessed, including in some other presidents, is use of "the quiet voice" that carries with it great conviction -- and, sometimes, a bit of a warning. :-)


    Oh, and as most academics (none / 0) (#195)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:15:23 PM EST
    are teachers, I also meant to add that it also is an odd dichotomy to suggest that they are not "people" people.  Students are people, too -- and most teachers I know so enjoy getting to know them as people who bring so much into academics' lives.  Sure, again, there are exceptions.  In everything.

    Btw, from what I have read, Obama was a very fine teacher who enjoyed his students as they did him -- enjoyed their minds, enjoyed their experiences that they brought into discussion (as relevant:-), etc.  He would have made a fine "academic," too, no doubt.


    Well, I don't want to offend or argue with you (5.00 / 1) (#208)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:19:41 PM EST
    I meant to criticize Obama as a politician, not as an academic. I still think that Obama, despite being smart, sophisticated and talented (and, as you point out, a talented and popular lecturer), lacks "passionate ideas and commitments inspired by personal experience." And that it is not easily apparent that there is any group he feels a deep emotional connection to.

    Large numbers of ordinary Americans, I think, remain an abstraction to him. Bush 1 and Carter suffered from the same failing.

    Politicians who have some important constituencies with whom they feel a genuine emotional connection seem to withstand the inevitable political winds better -- despite the often inspiring great animosity in people outside those constituencies.

    Clinton and Bush II (with his Christian redemption story and experience), for instance, had a strong emotional connection to and empathy for some people -- who accounted for their political success. So did Nixon, who saw himself as the champion of those Americans he referred to as the "little people."

    Outside of the "creative class" and the elite media, I just don't know how many Americans are genuinely confident that Obama knows who they are.



    My first 2 of the day (none / 0) (#134)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:10:22 AM EST
    from DA.

    I wear it as a bdge of honor.  I must be saying something right!  :)


    You just had to go back to Hillary (4.25 / 4) (#146)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 11:53:16 AM EST
    This thread was about Obama but you still go there....

    Actually (none / 0) (#158)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:25:09 PM EST
    I talked about both Bill and Hillary - a comparison about people who show passion and in depth understanding of the subjects they are speaking about, as compared to Obama. Like the whole "RFK assassination thing" making a comparison is not akin what Olbermann and Maddow say it is.

    But whatever you are comfortable with - go with it!


    And for the life of me (none / 0) (#161)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:39:03 PM EST
    I have great difficulty finding what progressive values of Bill and Hillary you actually share.....

    I guess you'll just have to wonder then (none / 0) (#168)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:05:47 PM EST
    After George Bush's gut instinct (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 11:44:20 AM EST
    way of things....the anti-intellectuallism....

    Someone who thinks things through is not a bad thing....


    Well, esmesne, there is (none / 0) (#137)
    by brodie on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:29:15 AM EST
    plenty of politics in academia, too.

    I wouldn't call Obama a natural academic, at least in the sense of a scholar.  He's not that nor is he an intellectual.

    He's more the natural politician eager to please both sides with conciliatory rhetoric and deeds, who just happened to have an academic background.  Not unlike Bill Clinton in that respect -- the smart guy with the stellar academic pedigree who wants to please everyone to get ahead.  Both also could display passion, too, btw.  I don't see Obama as passionless in his public expressions.  I see most of his current problems as stemming from believing too much in his naive PPUS.

    As for Reagan, I don't find your analysis persuasive, certainly not when compared with the personal challenges faced by FDR and BC.  RR mostly enjoyed a lucky ride as a handsome white male in a society that greatly favored middle-class WMs, who had a talent for speaking that coincided with the emergence of radio, his first big break, then soon enough a place for his white face in B movie Hollywood.


    Reagan was pretty old when he became (none / 0) (#141)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 11:30:44 AM EST
    President and I think many of the attributes his most passionate supporters saw in him were more highly regarded in another era. He really represented pre-depression thinking about the economy and how it works. I didn't "get" him at all until I tried to see him through my Grandmother's eyes. Unusual for a woman of her time and place (small town Missouri), grandma was a passionate, college educated feminist -- which is what made her attachment to Reagan so curious to me. But, she and my grandfather entered adulthood in a very optimistic time, go go era. They were all about the new -- launching several businesses based in new technologies of the time; dry cleaning! household appliances! And they were the first people in their small town to own an automobile. She was a bit of a snob and quite proud of her education, financial success and social position, yet, when the Depression struck and she lost all that, she cheerfully took a job as a cook at a Wyoming dude ranch to support herself and maintain her youngest daughter in a TB sanitarium in California (I never heard her speak of the Depression as anything other than a great adventure). Later she worked in the defense industry and went back to college(USC). After the war she became a dietician to the stars.

    My father, on the other hand, who entered adulthood in the darkest days of the Depression, had a totally different idea about how the economy works and what is required to make it work. He road the rails, witnessed terrible suffering and injustice, and became a passionate union organizer. For my father, the creators of "The Waltons" were in the same class as Holocaust deniers.


    As you mention TOTUS - (none / 0) (#102)
    by robert72 on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:45:24 AM EST
    how many head swings were there? I would like to count - but I couldn't stand watching it for all that time again. Perhaps if it could be speeded up - does anyone have it recorded?

    On the spectrum from left to right (none / 0) (#101)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:42:19 AM EST
    where was Obama standing when he "took a sharp turn to the center".

    If he did, in fact, move to the center, that would be a dim sliver of light for those of us who believe he normally stands way too far to the right of center.


    Just visited the Wapo to view the stills (none / 0) (#16)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:59:47 PM EST
    and have to say he looked pained. Pelosi and Biden both looked at him as if to say: 'I've got a bunch of anvils with your name written on them'.

    Out on the floor he reminded me of Caesar striding into the Senate trying to figure out who was going to plant the first blade.

    We see what we want to see and I make no claim to impartiality.

    The two Davids are busy right now polling the hell out of this mish-mash of buzz phrases to find out which ones hit the hot buttons. Once they identify these, expect to hear more of them.

    That's about the only thing I see coming out of this.

    Courage, America! (snark)


    You forgot the Biden (none / 0) (#62)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:58:46 PM EST
    Bobble Head Doll. Interesting, Nancy looked too small for the chair and leaning so far over too. Biden kept nodding yes. All I could think of was one of those dolls. On the whole, Obama never gives a bad speech. He knows delivery. I just wish it was not one year down and no win wins yet. But my fingers are crossed and he has 9 months to put it right before the next election.

    Obama? Heart and truth? (3.50 / 2) (#20)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:02:42 PM EST
    How could you tell?

    In this house, rated "I guess a B" and (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:41:10 PM EST
    a B+

    with a check for "failure to live up to one's potential"

    not sure regarding the "works well with others category"

    Gov of VA rated KenBob and boring

    Va gov in thhis house rated (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:46:18 PM EST
    "You are the weakest link. goodnight."

    Overall, a B (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:43:31 PM EST
    Probably an A- without the stupid "FREEZE!!!" stuff.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln... (5.00 / 10) (#38)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:21:27 PM EST
    As Avedon wrote:
    You know, it really is stupid to think that moving the Overton Window farther and farther to the right is harmless. It is not harmless to let people think that spending on good things (stimulus, Social Security, real universal health care) is bad for the economy, but spending on bad things (stupid wars, subsidies to bloated corporations) is vital and necessary. It is not harmless to buy into the same right-wing memes that have brought us to our current crisis in the first place. It is not harmless to refuse to fight back against lies that the only problem is spending, and that it's spending that the public is against. The public's problem isn't that we aren't being mean enough.

    Grade inflation going on? (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:44:56 PM EST
    better than 2008,7,6 and so on, but only A work by comparison. On its own, C, maybe C+ speech. The President? Incomplete, verging on failure due to absence.

    Just my take. But as I tell folks, C is a good grade if you've actually earned it, not so much if you coast to it.

    I'm with you, Jeff (5.00 / 10) (#10)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:50:21 PM EST
    Sounds like there are some very easy graders here. Just a reminder: Being better than Bush is a very low bar.

    SOTU fact check (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:10:23 AM EST
    is here.  Thought you'd be interested, Jeff.  More reason that, on the evidence, the content did not merit an A. :-)

    That's the article I thought about (none / 0) (#135)
    by prittfumes on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:18:41 AM EST
    when I read your comment re executive orders. Had you already read it when you made your earlier comment?

    No. The exec-order broken promise (none / 0) (#138)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:36:11 AM EST
    just has bothered me for a while. . . .

    I hit it out of the park! (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:50:59 PM EST
    Yoo-hah, High-fives all round.

    Watch this shot, Bret!

    Meanwhile, homeowners and the unemployed are going to wake up to the same problems facing them 'pre-inspritation'.

    These people are seriously out of touch.

    Got better half way through (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:53:50 PM EST
    Once he got rid of the platitudes and same old cliches and actually started talking about issues and programs and plans, I was listening. But overall, he bores me. As a musician, I can't help noticing how all his speeches have the same rhythm and inflection. His voice skips up the stairs, then down the stairs. Then up the stairs, then down, repeat, repeat, repeat. Even he seems bored.

    I noticed that too! (5.00 / 5) (#67)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:14:55 PM EST
    No matter which speech, on which subject, it's the same rhythm and inflection.  I think it's the lack of real feeling.  He uses the same patterns whether he's telling something very important or not very important, it good be very good news or very bad news, but it's that same up down, look right look left, up down, look right look left.  Bill Clinton was MUCH better because he had real feelings.  That's my take on the same cadence in every speech.  

    I fully agree except the Afghanistan (none / 0) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:24:03 PM EST
    speech he gave at West Point.  A lot of people said that that speech lacked all of his past oration luster and soaring cadence.  I thought it was very authentic given the topic and circumstances.  The nation faces just as grave and dire circumstances though on other issues in other areas as well and I'm listening soaring pucky and chuckling.

    We already know Obama can (5.00 / 14) (#15)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:57:42 PM EST
    deliver a speech.

    What he has consistenly failed to deliver is action that is consistent with his words, fight consistent with his claims to be standing strong, commitment to one, true, guiding principal, courage to risk personal popularity for a larger, and greater, good.

    Leadership is so much more than words; were that not so, we would not be in the turmoil we are in.

    After the Geithner testimony, after the revelations on exigent letters, post-action legalization of illegal activities, strong signals that the lifelines of Social Security, Medicare amd Medicaid are at risk of executive-ordered "reform," emphasis on campaign-style messaging as a substitute for good policy, I do not understand how anyone could be confident the government is in good hands.

    Speeches do not equal leadership; I would caution everyone to hang on to some healthy skepticism and not be swayed by stirring rhetoric alone; consider the rhetoric of the campaign and how that has translated to the business of governing.  

    Expect more.  Demand more.  Do not be fooled again.

    we're discussing the speech (5.00 / 7) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:12:48 PM EST
    do you always have to turn it into an attack on Obama? I didn't ask for your opinion of his presidency and I'm getting weary of seeing so many threads turn into a bash-fest.

    What did you think of the speech?


    You think, then, that ethos... (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:34:52 PM EST
    ... is not necessarily part of the rhetorician's toolkit?

    Random link:

    There are two kinds of ethos: extrinsic (outside what you have to say) and instrinsic (inside what you have to say).

    Examples of extrinsic ethos would be as follows: If you are a successful professional basketball player talking about basketball to other pro athletes, then your ethos is strong with your audience even before you open your mouth or take pen to paper. Your audience assumes you are knowledgable about your subject because of your experience. If you are a baseball player talking about basketball, instead, then your extrinsic ethos is not as strong because you haven't been played pro basketball, but you're still a professional athlete and know something about that kind of life. If you are a college professor of English, then your extrinsic ethos is likely to be pretty weak with your audience. Change your audience around, however, and the ethos of each hypothetical rhetor might change.

    It seems to me that Anne's comment fits firmly under the heading of extrinsic ethos -- although she might be one type of audience member, and you another. We might reflect on the different meanings of "performance," and how different audiences might understand the term...


    If I may, perhaps it's a formatting issue. (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:13:59 PM EST
    If I understand correctly, Anne is saying that she isn't giving the President's speech an A because:

       * Obama was remiss in not addressing problems like those arising from "Geithner's testimony, after the revelations on exigent letters and post-action legalization of illegal activities".

       * Obama "gave strong signals that the lifelines of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are at risk of executive-ordered reform".

        * Although there was "stirring rhetoric" in the SOTU speech as there has been in other speeches, "speeches do not equal leadership"; nor "commitment to principal"; nor "courage to risk personal popularity for a larger, and greater, good".

    Anne did not give the speech an "A" for leadership because, as indicated in her foregoing remarks she doesn't believe that making a speech is, in itself, a measure of leadership nor is it confidence-inspiring. Therefore, past and future action is a more concrete means of determining whether our Government is in good hands.


    or more likely (5.00 / 6) (#74)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:29:42 PM EST
    as she said on another thread, she didn't listen to the speech because the sound of his voice is like fingerails on a chalkboard.

    I'm just tired or reading through personal attacks.

    This is not an Obama hate site. If that's all people want to discuss, how much they dislike the guy, there are plenty of right wing sites for you to do that on.


    In defense of reading (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:48:55 PM EST
    a speech, I prefer it as well to listening to a speech -- and largely because I can concentrate what is said than how it is said.  Content over form, substance over style.

    But then, I always prefer the book to the movie.


    cx (none / 0) (#83)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:51:10 PM EST
    Too late, too tired, trying again:

    on what is said rather than on how it is said. . . .


    I don't think "right wing sites" (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:52:39 PM EST
    would be very good for the souls of those of us who are criticizing Obama from the left.

    Likewise, harking back to 1968, right wing hate groups would not have suited the purpose of progressive activists who voiced harsh and legitimate disaffection with LBJ.


    Criticism (5.00 / 3) (#148)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:02:15 PM EST
    that starts off with I can't stand the sound of his voice is so ad hominem that it doesn't come close to a disagreement on policy....

    That is a highly selective and overly (none / 0) (#170)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:13:00 PM EST
    reductive summation of the totality of what the commenter has said about the Obama administration over the past months. As a whole, the comments have been remarkably erudite and free of ad hominem attacks.

    Don't expect critical thinking.... (none / 0) (#171)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:14:19 PM EST
    If that is where you start (none / 0) (#183)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:20:21 PM EST
    then the rest comes through that lens.

    Ah, a 5 from cotton candy (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:35:03 AM EST
    ought to be cause for worry.

    Keep the 5, if you wish, but please remove the repulsive comment in which she calls another commenter a racist.  This is not the first such comment from cotton candy.  

    At the least, that the other comments still are here does not do well for your website.


    No, I read the speech. (4.69 / 13) (#81)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:45:42 PM EST
    Does that not count?

    Do I not get credit for reading what he said?

    You may disagree, but I don't consider it "hate" to express an honest and thoughtful opinion about what I read, and how that matches up to the actions of the last year.  

    I'm sorry that I don't care for the sound of Obama's voice, but I am not the only one who has expressed exactly that opinion today.  I couldn't stand the sound of Bush's voice, either; is that a bad thing, too?

    With all due respect, I don't understand why you asked for people's opinions on the speech if you are going to consider anything less than an "A" some kind of personal attack that would be more at home on a right-wing website.  As much issue as you, yourself have taken with Obama and his administration on issues that matter to you, I am perplexed at your negative reaction when others express their displeasure and disagreement on issues that matter to them.

    And I'm not quite sure why I have been singled out for my reaction and opinion.


    Anne, credit where credit is due! (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:18:21 AM EST
    You get an A+ for reading the speech front to back.

    If you read it with passion and confidence, I find that very stirring and sufficiently persuasive to give you an A+++ for your superior speech-reading skills.

    I'm a college Professor, you know, so you can trust my judgment on grading these things ;-)


    I singled you out because (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:42:58 AM EST
    your comment made no reference to the substance or delivery of Obama's speech tonight and just contained criticism of his leadership to date. Yes, I specifically asked for reactions to his speech. And 90% of the comments here didn't like it. But at least they addressed the content and delivery of the speech, not just his past actions.  

    I don't expect people to agree with me and there are open threads up every day for you to put your opinions on topics you choose to write about.

    Sorry, but your comment just struck me as being unrelated to the speech.


    Jeralyn, at the risk of beating a dead horse... (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:30:05 AM EST
    Respectfully, the comment in question did contain references to both the "substance" and "delivery" of the SOTU speech.

    In terms of substance, the comment specifically objected to:

    strong signals that the lifelines of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are at risk of executive-ordered "reform"

    In terms of delivery/style, the comment specifically objected to the:

    emphasis on campaign-style messaging

    You obviously take issue with most aspects of the comment as a whole. Nevertheless, it is heartening to see that one of the reasons you didn't give the speech an A is because you are also troubled by what you called "vague intentions for social security". That may be something we can all agree on.


    for sure (5.00 / 7) (#103)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:58:14 AM EST
    I want Al Gore's lock box on social security benefits. The thought of a bi-partisan commission studying how to save money on social security and medicare is very frightening.

    Foot in mouth (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:50:30 AM EST
    When Obama brought up the  bi-partisan commission, it was like nails on a chalk board! His grade dropped from an A to a B. It showed a definite inability to learn from past mistakes. How well did that bi-partisan approach work on getting HCR?

    I am glad his main focus was on the realistic needs of today. I still chuckle when I think of GWB and the trip to Mars!


    The speech according to all polling (5.00 / 3) (#147)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:00:56 PM EST
    was very well received.

     The crowd here is biased and jaundiced and has great difficulty giving a fair analysis.....

    I thought Obama was more direct and gritty and less airy than in the past....


    So? (none / 0) (#162)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:39:04 PM EST
    83% approved of Obama's speech last night.  In George Bush's 2002 SOTU (second year in like Obama), he had an 85% approval of the speech.

    All research and hisotrical precedent suggests that the SOTU makes little, if any, difference in how the president is preceived.


    Bush in 2002 was golden (5.00 / 2) (#163)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:43:42 PM EST
    unfortunately for all of us....Right after 9/11 and already headed for Iraq no matter what....

    This thread was about the speech--but you didn't want to talk about that.....


    Speak for yourself, please. (none / 0) (#174)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:24:38 PM EST
    Bush's presidency was stalled at the starting line until he chose to cravenly capitalize on public sentiment post 9/11. Many of us didn't ever buy into his post 9/11 theatrics and his impeachable lies about Saddam and Al Qaeda and Iraq and WMD.  

    Nor did I (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:18:08 PM EST
    I was unnverved the couple of months prior to the invasion of Iraq at how the inspectors were no longer getting the runaround, were able to inspect freely, and yet were not finding anything....

    By "golden" I did not mean that I was favorable impressed.....I was aghast.... for everyone else, lemmings all, including the NY Times, Bush was indeed "golden."


    if Obama walked on water (5.00 / 2) (#176)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:45:25 PM EST
    the reaction of some here would be "see, he cant even swin"

    The point is (none / 0) (#198)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:19:04 PM EST
    Lots of people liked the speech.  Good for him.  It doesn't really mean anything, though, if history is a guide.  The SOTU speech has had very little effect (past a few days) on what people really thought of the president, or what parts of his agenda did or did not get passed.

    The speech has to be taken in context: (5.00 / 4) (#104)
    by rennies on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:04:42 AM EST
    that is, we've all heard the same rhetoric before -- and promises of  a variety of policies -- with no follow through.

    Anne is right n target.


    What I think, Jeralyn, is that (4.83 / 18) (#55)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:37:16 PM EST
    rhetoric is not a substitute for leadership, and the failures of the last year cannot be wiped out by one good, so-so or even super-fantastic speech.

    Obama's presidency is about what he does, not what he says, and if you are weary of bash-fests, I think that says something about Obama's performance as president.

    I didn't hear the speech, I read it.  Without the pomp and circumstance, without the majesty and optics.  And if you didn't know the history of the last year, if you didn't see the mixed-messaging, the yes-I'm-for-it-no-I'm not back-and-forth, if you didn't see a hands-off president, if you didn't feel like you were screaming into a void of indifference, maybe the speech would move you.  It didn't move me, and if that makes me a basher, so be it.

    This isn't Hollywood, this isn't thumbs-up/thumbs-down critique. It isn't a college course on rhetoric and debate.  This is people's lives, people's futures, and for the last year, I have watched as the president and Congress have abandoned the average Joe and Jane, have closed their eyes and their ears to the pain and suffering, have rejected sound and sane options because those options would negatively impact the corporations that fund the campaigns.

    It isn't my job as a citizen to protect the tender feelings of whoever is in the WH; if I don't look out for myself, who will?


    Reading the speech (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:05:42 PM EST
    is giving it short shrift....

    The Presidency is about pomp and circumstance.....

    I don't think there was anything Obama could have said that would meet with your approval....


    Certainly at least half (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by brodie on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:25:46 PM EST
    the SOTU is about p-and-c.  So not watching it, you miss much of the whole reason for its existence.

    And just reading the SOTU???  I'd imagine the number of people who do only that is some miniscule figure that's statistically insignificant.

    And agree on your final point -- sometimes I come to this site and read the many harshly anti-Obama comments, on whatever the topic du jour, and it's like I've acccidentally gone to some RW site.  Strange ...


    It's a fairly new phenomenon (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:23:23 PM EST
    Woodrow Wilson was the first to give it in person before the Congress since John Adams - from Jefferson on, the president just sent a letter. LBJ was the first president to give the SOTU in prime time.  Before that, it was given in the middle of the afternoon.  So the "pomp and circumstance" is really just for the media.

    Frankly, I've always hated it when one side jumps up to applaud every breath and stays standing - it interrupts the speaker's flow and is just annoying.


    Taking the time to read a speech (5.00 / 6) (#177)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:48:35 PM EST
    is giving it short shrift?  Really?  That's an interesting way of looking at it - obviously, I don't agree.  

    I find the spectacle that surrounds the speech to be distracting, and I think it lends itself to a kind of groupthink: see and hear applause - must be true, must be good, must be right; see the frowny faces, the closed-off body language - uh-oh, this is not good, must be bad.  I would much rather read and absorb the words and digest them on my own - and I think that makes me someone who takes the speech just as seriously as someone who watches or listens, and someone whose opinion is just as valid.

    It's true that I don't like to listen to Obama speak, and it's easier for me to take in the content of his remarks when I am not distracted by his voice (although I struggle not to "hear" him in the written word, too); I couldn't listen to Bush, either, but no one ever attacked me for saying so, which seems a tad hypocritical, but whatever.

    I know I have stated this on numerous other occasions, but I would love for Obama to prove me wrong about him.  My standards aren't even all that high, actually.  I wanted a president who would reject the Bush doctrine and policies - how hard should that have been?  I wanted a president who lived up to his earlier support for single-payer, or who could, at a minimum, work to put us on track to a full single-payer system.  I wanted a president who would live up to his claim that he was going to be open and transparent and accountable.  I wanted a president who would sharpen the line between church and state, not blur it, and not put people in positions to make decisions who were and are avowedly about incorporating more religion into our lives than less.  I wanted a president who supported a woman's right to make her own reproductive choices, not remain silent on legislation that would take another bite out of Roe v. Wade, and not install people in his administration who were and are avowedly anti-choice.  I wanted a president who would fight for important nominations - like Dawn Johnsen for OLC.  I wanted a president who would not make the WH the DC office of Goldman Sachs, and I most especially wanted a president who would not put someone as odious as Tim Geithner into his Cabinet.  I wanted a president who wouldn't start making noises about "fixing" entitlements, and creating special commissions that would be able to "fix" them with no debate and no amendments - or by signing executive orders to do it anyway.  I wanted a president who would hold the appropriate people accountable for policies on torture and surveillance.

    So, I keep reading speeches and looking for signs that there is something behind his words that isn't more words.  That a real Democrat exists under that cool exterior.  That I shouldn't feel marginalized and disrespected and dismissed as unimportant.

    From the looks of thngs, I will be waiting a long time, which is a shame, because what I want - what I think most people want - would not be all that hard to deliver on.


    Surely, you believe (none / 0) (#193)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:12:24 PM EST
    you can listen to the speech without becoming overcome by groupthink?  

    And, at mimimum, don't you want to see the extent of the groupthink in action?  Know thine enemy?

    From your comments it appears that you don't listen to the speech because you can't stand the guy....


    Anti-reading? And the Presidency (4.25 / 4) (#180)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:07:12 PM EST
    is about pomp?  Yeh, I love that stuff, too, but that's how you define the Presidency?  Nothing else?  Well, it does have the advantage for you, obvious here, that you can be easily pleased!

    But surviving here must be harrrd worrrk, having to read posts and comments.  Here's hoping that the Youtube version of TalkLeft is up soon for you.  But that only takes care of the posts; you still have to read the comments on Youtube to engage.  

    I've got a suggestion:  For just having to give rote replies, for not understanding what is being said but for lots of pomp, circumstance, mysterious ritual and more, look up a local Catholic church that still does the Latin mass.:-)


    Not just pomp and cirucmstance (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:09:19 PM EST
    But if you don't look at that aspect you are missing a lot.    Surely that is not an earth shattering idea....

    Much communication is beyond just the words spoken....most communications experts or scholars would confirm that....

    That you refuse to listen to a live speech means you are missing an important component.....It does take more time but yields more information than can be gleened from the written word alone....


    MKS, I find that argument odd. (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:15:45 PM EST
    the state of the union message to congress is about the message, not the method or the person delivering it. the medium isn't the message.

    Can't separate the two (none / 0) (#197)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:17:45 PM EST
    Obviously you cant seperate the two (5.00 / 2) (#206)
    by jondee on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:56:42 PM EST
    how else can you explain the phenomenon of the  beyond-the-bounds-of-logic devotion to anything within six degrees of the Clintons manifested here     (anything else would be "hate") and the seeming fact that Obama couldnt publicly blow his nose without it being a gesture to the handkerchief lobby?

    Obviously it isnt about radical, real world differences in policy and philosophy so much as it is a lot magnification of minor difference powered by a huge backlog of emotional projection and wishful thinking. Which is exactly what the "spectacle" aspect appeals to.


    What "more" information was gleaned (5.00 / 4) (#199)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:20:07 PM EST
    from watching the speech that could not be obtained by reading it?  

    What "a lot" was I missing?

    I've watched enough of them to know the protocol, who comes in and is seated when, the announcement of the president's arrival, and so on.

    I just don't buy your argument - sorry - and suspect you would not be making it if I - and others who read the speech - had heaped praise upon it and upon the president, regardless of whether I had watched it or read it.


    You missed (none / 0) (#201)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:30:53 PM EST
    the interaction with the audience....Alito may be the biggest story over time...It will come up again during the confirmation hearings over Stevens's sucessor....

    And all the other standard stuff about tone, gesture etc....


    If Alito is the biggest story for those who (5.00 / 2) (#203)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:35:08 PM EST
    watched, it doesn't say much about Obama's actual speech, does it?

    Alito is not a big story, but it makes a nice distraction.


    ...or check out a military funeral, or a (none / 0) (#194)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:13:53 PM EST
    hail-and-farewell pass-in-review...

    To some that aspect matters a lot and (none / 0) (#200)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:27:27 PM EST
    is all that they respond to....

    Come on, folks, your bias is showing....Ever since the JFK/Nixon debates the televised theatrics matter. Every fair-minded person knows that.

    If you really believe the written word is all that matters, you missed what powered Reagan....And if you want to defeat conservatives like Reagan, you had better well master theatrics.....


    Maybe what you should say is that the (5.00 / 5) (#205)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:45:30 PM EST
    televised theatrics matter to you - and that's fine; if you're getting something from them that adds to your understanding and assessment of the speech, by all means - keep watching.

    The theatrics don't matter to me.  Maybe that's because they are cold comfort when the policies and actions don't live up to those theatrics, when people find it hard to feel good about pomp and circumstance when they are struggling to get by and feel like they aren't getting much help from the guy at the podium or the Congress his party controls.

    We get that you like all the spectacle, but at least acknowledge that your preference is not the last word on "the best" way to experience the speech.


    so Obama is a simulacrum on television (none / 0) (#204)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:35:19 PM EST
    because he looks and acts presidential. the message is more important imparted from his, or Bush's, or Reagan's lips because the speaker said it within the context?

    Sorry, Marshall McLuhan (is there a capital 'l' in his name? can't remember...) wasn't talking so much about people as objects such as light bulbs and television itself.

    Too much research doesn't offer support to his theories.


    Part of what a POTUS does is what he or she says (none / 0) (#60)
    by barryluda on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:45:25 PM EST
    I still remember cringing at stupid things Reagan and Bush said. I find it refreshing to be proud and inspired by what our President says.

    Even if he doesn't do any of it? (5.00 / 9) (#68)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:17:08 PM EST
    Doesn't that get old?  

    Apparently not when it comes to the faithful. (5.00 / 8) (#70)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:21:06 PM EST
    I like (none / 0) (#109)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:48:37 AM EST
    goofy grape myself.

    I never thought he could deliver a speech (none / 0) (#108)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:34:50 AM EST
    I admit he reads a pretty good teleprompter.
    But that is what happens when some one has no attachment to what he says.

    He said before that one of his goals was to let people know how he felt more (apparently a speech a week wasn't enough contact with the "ordinary" people).  I found no feeling in what he said.  I found him completely unbelievable.  But I found the same in 2004, so nothing has changed.


    An econ prof from UT (none / 0) (#145)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 11:48:43 AM EST
    said on CNN, I think, that the "commission" proposed by Obama was an effort to prevent a Congressional Commission that would have real teeth.....The prof said it was a clever bait and switch....

    If true, the whole commission thing will just die....


    C+ (and being generous) (5.00 / 11) (#17)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:01:29 PM EST
    1. Health care:
    But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.

    That would be single payer (HR676, S703), which Obama took off the table from the start, besides censoring.

    2. Bailouts:

    So I supported the last administration's efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took the program over, we made it more transparent and accountable. As a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we have recovered most of the money we spent on the banks.

    To recover the rest, I have proposed a fee on the biggest banks.

    Not so. "The rest" is the TARP money: $700 billion. The financial rescue program in toto was more like $22 trillion in guarantees (though not all "spent" it's the guarantee that creates the moral hazard). See this post for Yves on Obama's obfuscation on this point (and, of course, Booman).

    Notice the silence on breaking up  the banks. The econobloggers are going to rip him a new one on that, and they'll be right.


    * * *

    Obfuscatory and revisionist in content, timid in policy; totally inadequate to the challenges we face. In giving it a C+, I'm being generous, by setting the baseline at a lack of syntactical error (that is, he can speak in complete sentences).

    I think I need a Prozac (5.00 / 9) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:16:42 PM EST
    or some medical marijuana.  I scanned the grades in the comments and I think I heard a different speech. Between stuff sounding okay and the outright lies and his laughter about very serious situations that many Americans are facing,  I could only come up with a "C".  Unauthentic delivery.....content was everything and the kitchen sink with a few choice lies sprinkled on top.

    Yes. The laughter was embarassing. (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by rennies on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:06:46 AM EST
    I Give It A "D" (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by norris morris on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:23:50 PM EST
    If only for Obama's    "Don't Ask Don't Tell" pandering that is a pure political hoaxmanship.

    Isn't the big lacuna a realistic (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:02:22 PM EST
    discussion of funding? How can you take his promises seriously when he's not going to raise any taxes?

    Too many promises. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:08:09 PM EST
    A half-hour with three promises that he actually will do would have heartened me more.

    And the sentence construction is so cagey.  On very few of these is he promising that he is the one who will do them.


    You know, you have set up (5.00 / 3) (#151)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:08:40 PM EST
    a classic Catch-22:  If he remains general and tries for inspiration--he is just a unity pony; if he he gives specifics, he is just over-promising....

    You had no problem with Hillary when she would cite a laundry list of specifics....


    He has put himself in that pickle (5.00 / 2) (#166)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:58:34 PM EST
    Not anybody here.  The icing on that cake was his whole "I didn't campaign on the public option".  That was not just a lie, that was literally a betrayal to those who supported him based on what he campaigned on.....things that are very important to me and obviously a lot of other people.  If you aren't going to do it then fine, don't do it...don't fight for it....whatever.  But stand there and just flat out call me a liar about you said when we have youtube now.  Now it's my fault if I can't believe the words coming out of his mouth?  He's put himself in this spot, not me.  What is happening to those of us who feel like we can't trust anything he says is what happens to everyone who is lied to about important issues in their life.  THEY LOSE TRUST, that is simply human and also a symptom of sanity.  What happens when you lose people's trust?  You have to earn it back.

    MKS, you keep bringing Hillary (5.00 / 2) (#181)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:10:19 PM EST
    into this, and I cannot imagine why you keep doing so.  But fine, I'll play:

    If she or anyone else had become president a year ago and had performed so poorly for a year, I would be highly critical.  And if she or anyone else had given this SOTU speech last night, more than an hour, without focusing in sufficiently (IMO) on the mess we are in now, I would be highly critical, too.

    Now, you need to focus on your current president.  Save the fantasies for fantasy football.


    True, Cream you did not (none / 0) (#187)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:24:44 PM EST
    Others here (at least two on this thread) did so spontaneously.....

    Trust me, I would not raise it if others wouldn't.


    I remember this (ongoing) (none / 0) (#189)
    by jondee on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:56:19 PM EST
    bitter, childish my-guru-is-better-than-your-guru game from the sixties and early seventies.

    And I still dont see how either one of them is worthy of the unquestioning, rapturous idealistic expectations that so many want to project onto them.

    They're effing American politicians for god's sake. I guess there are still some who want desperately to believe that our best and brightest immediately gravitate to a career in politics. Good luck with that one.


    The rail side's pretty specific. (none / 0) (#99)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:30:10 AM EST
    Dave Obey's tepid applause for the Florida groundbreaking's interesting. Per the Chicago Tribune, the Midwest hub gets 2/3 of a loaf.

    I heard him say something (none / 0) (#25)
    by hairspray on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:09:44 PM EST
    about letting the tax breaks expire for the wealthiest Americans.  Recall that the Bush tax breaks expire in 2010. The capial gaines are also going from 15 to 20 this coming year, I believe. The Rethugs will call it a tax increase, but I think there will be a big revenue surge with this.  We all wanted Obama to recind the tax breaks when he was elected, but he quietly avoided the topic. I guess he didn't want to antagonize the GOP while he was trying for bi-partisanship.  Now he doesn't have to fight this battle.  He could have mentioned this in the SOTU address, but no sense stoking the flames I guess.

    Thanks, but I thought I heard (none / 0) (#29)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:11:32 PM EST
    something a few weeks ago about Democrats being open to keeping the Bush estate tax changes.
    Am I wrong?

    I don't think he will change the changes (none / 0) (#179)
    by hairspray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:05:34 PM EST
    put in effect during the early bush years, but I don't think the radical changes the GOP wanted will go anywhere.  The GOP claimed small farmers were being thrown off their land and that small businesses were being destroyed with the current inheritance taxes but there isn't any proof beyond a couple of isolated cases (Jim Hightower) to support that. I am not sure of the current rate but it is around 3-4 million for a couple and I believe it reverts back after this year.

    A (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:06:25 PM EST
    The close was powerful.  More importantly he describes the devastation our economy has been through and the pain we are all feeling and the right responds with:

    DADT furor
    Terror Trials

    He retook the narrative, now they have to control it for 2 months.

    He also shifted responsibility to congress, especially the right.  

    I am embarassed that I said he was jumping the shark.  

    Battles are always better fought from the high ground.  But right now the high ground is a lonely place.....

    time for some self reflection....

    I don't care that he feels my pain (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:24:23 PM EST
    if indeed he does.

    I'd like him to actually do something about it, and a year is a long time to wait for his attention.


    why only 2 months? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Lil on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:27:49 PM EST
    because our attention span (none / 0) (#61)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:47:32 PM EST
    is two minutes and two months is a darned near eternity for a narrative....

    After a few stiff drinks (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:10:18 PM EST
    even a lousy band sounds great.

    It's 1:45 am for America, and (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:12:36 PM EST
    Obama's available.

    Hilarious! (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:21:19 PM EST
    He hooks up with anyone though :)  That's scary....need to hit a condom machine

    He also was good (and firm) (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:14:22 PM EST
    on all combat troops being out of Iraq by August and pushing Congress to repeal the ban on gays in the military.

    I thought the DADT was one of the highlights (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:23:02 PM EST
    but as I said upthread, I thought it would have been done already. repealing that will be a tremendous success.

    As far as getting combat troops out by August, there will still be plenty of non-combat troops, I fear. Had he said ALL military out of Iraq, or 90 percent, or some figure, I'd be a lot happier. Holding it to 'combat' troops could mean infantry, armor, and field artillery brigades and their assigned subordinate units, but not soldiers involved in civil affairs, water purification, heavy construction, etc...could be wonderful news, Jeralyn, or could be speechifying to create an impression.

    Getting more folks out is definitely a good thing, though.


    What's the scoop on permanent bases? (none / 0) (#43)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:24:49 PM EST
    We still have them, no?

    Everything is plywood Lambert (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:33:42 PM EST
    they do this so you can't call it permanent :)  This is literally how they define this too, I'm not making it up.  They avoid making buildings out of anything other than screwed together plywood so that their presence isn't considered "permanent".  Don't ask me if this will actually bring them home or not.  I suppose it the best we can offer towards having a place to hang out but not creating the means to stay there forever and ever.

    by Bush signing statements, yes... (none / 0) (#53)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:34:40 PM EST
    but building a base and abandoning it or turning it over wouldn't surprise me.

    Having bases with Iraqi caretaker garrisons? We've done that in many places. Bases in Romania have Romanian caretaker garrisons, but by treaty we can still use them, even if we aren't permanently tenanted.

    Wish I had more info on this.


    To be fair "J" (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:25:59 PM EST
    What has he been able to "push" Congress to do thusfar?  He folds to bluedogs like  fan.  I wonder what Dems will be homophobes?  Probably the same ones that fear vaginas and wombs.

    In speeches last year he was also (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:31:56 PM EST
    "good (and firm)" about closing Gitmo by January in this year of our lord 2010.

    A hard man is good to find. (By "hard" I mean a man who talks the tough talk and walks the tough walk.)


    I went back and read the speech (none / 0) (#50)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:30:24 PM EST
    and came away with an even greater sense of disappointment. Bear with me. One of the real bright spots of the last year, one of the few, have been the efforts to make student loans more affordable and schools better.

    I agree with norris morris below that DODT is pure pandering, and a cynical diversion away from the sensible observation that raising taxes is going to be necessary.

    I also think the SOTU provided a unique opportunity to do the unthinkable: Thank George Bush and acknowledge that he faced challenges in his presidency, too, and had made difficult decisions. That would have been reaching across the aisle in action. Bush made major progress on AIDs reduction during his second term.

    The DODT is going to suck all the oxygen out a speech that would have been widely praised and truly remarkable if Obama had actually given somebody else some credit. Somebody like Bush.

    This speech was a transparent search for the next group of buzzwords, IMHO. I'm sincerely pleased you and others found it inspiring. There's no accounting for taste.

    Obama deserves credit for some of the work he's done on education, as do Dems. Too bad that won't be the story of the speech.


    Do you really believe him? (none / 0) (#106)
    by rennies on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:08:55 AM EST
    How many broken promises before?

    Don't Ask Don't Tell (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by norris morris on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:20:33 PM EST
    Obama's low moment. Not only pandering, but this solves nothing.

    Politically shameless nothingness.

    He has the power to stop gay discrimination in the military. DADT is not it.

    I look at repeal of DADT as one (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:25:11 PM EST
    significant move in the right direction. Following its repeal, he can pull a 1948 Truman. That's when Truman's executive order desegregated the military.

    Exactly. Obama does executive orders (5.00 / 6) (#51)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:30:39 PM EST
    a lot (and again, I recall him saying that he would not, but there he goes again) and said in this speech that he would do an executive order for the budget freeze against those "skyrocketing costs" of my retirement, receding farther again and again.

    So why not just do an executive order to the military?


    Because it requires a statute (none / 0) (#154)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:13:05 PM EST
    to change the policy...

    An executive order without a statute is (sorta)possible but would undermine the ultimate result....


    After the repeal. (none / 0) (#178)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:57:53 PM EST
    Duh.  Read that to which I replied. . . .

    wow (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Lil on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:26:47 PM EST
    I thought it was a great speech. the guy has guts, IMO.

    Why? (none / 0) (#48)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:27:43 PM EST
    Because he dissed the Roberts in the warm-ups?

    Colbert dissed Scalia more (none / 0) (#79)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:35:09 PM EST
    at the White House Correspondents Dinner a couple of years ago. And he was funny.

    So what? (none / 0) (#122)
    by DFLer on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:07:37 AM EST
    Vague on intentions for social security (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:27:00 PM EST

    Can you think of any good reason for Obama to be "vague" on Social Security?

    no, that's why he lost points with me (none / 0) (#63)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:00:23 PM EST
    on that

    To me, that's worth a grade (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by lambert on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:18:41 AM EST
    Although in my rating that would have pushed him down to a D+, but the sun is shining, and there are kittens n stuff, so I was feeling generous....

    I thought the best lines were... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by barryluda on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:41:20 PM EST
    Saying "no" to everything is not leadership.


    We were sent here to serve the citizens - not our ambitions.

    If he was sent to serve the citizens (none / 0) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:29:09 PM EST
    then why when it was time to federalize the banks, which would have protected the citizens, did he say NO to that and claim that it was going to interfere with his aggressive Obama planned agenda to do such a thing?

    That whole past happening reeks of nothing (none / 0) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:30:38 PM EST
    more than Obama ambition.

    That whole past happening reeks of nothing (none / 0) (#76)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:30:54 PM EST
    more than Obama ambition.

    B+ (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:35:29 AM EST

    "Nice speech, Eve." (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:12:40 AM EST
    Obama put on a pretty good show last night.

    But what did it all add up to?
    I don't know.

    I thought one strange moment was when he openly criticized the Supreme Court for their decision allowing unlimited corporate donations. I agreed with the sentiment, but it certainly was a "YOU LIE!" moment from Obama to SCOTUS.

    On a feeling level, he started out talking like a populist. About the people in our country who are suffering. People looking for work.
    Things like that. That was nice. Thanks.

    Then he said he wanted to freeze what amounted to all spending not related to war. Not many people think that that move will help Americans looking for work or trying to save their homes.

    He said all combat troops would be out of Iraq by August. That's nice. But then - with all the "support" we are leaving there, including a gigantic palatial embassy and staff, how much money will that save us? I want us out of Iraq. Don't get me wrong. But in the context of a discussion of our domestic economy, I would like to know how much of the 800 million dollars we spend there every day will become available for programs and people here at home.

    He made no mention of the compromises that he and the dems made on the healthcare bill. He mentioned nothing about the mandates. He said nothing about fighting to include a public option.

    Then he lapsed into rah rah cheerleading.
    "I won't give up".
    "Change you can believe in" made a cameo appearance.
    "God Bless America".

    With Obama, it doesn't matter what he says.
    We can only know how things are going by seeing how things go.

    As usual, he is being "graded" on style and content.
    As for style, it was all over the place. Sometimes he was "there".
    Sometimes, he was regurgitating nothingness.
    As for content, it matters not - because he and the congress will do whatever they want, and we will have little to say about it except to each other.

    A (mostly) great speech, in my opinion. (5.00 / 3) (#118)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 08:25:12 AM EST
    I know I'm outnumbered, but I usually enjoy listening to him. It's the 'doing' that is upsetting.

    Now, please Mr. President, stop pandering to the crazies and get it done.

    Speeches (5.00 / 5) (#119)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 08:28:52 AM EST
    I do miss having a president that I can actually enjoy listening to.

    The smirking GWB, with the phoney good old boy attitude made me want to put my foot through the TV.

    Obama has that minister quality in his speech that reminds me of why I left the church. I hated to be preached to!

    Clinton had the ability to "talk" to the audience. He also could pin point his ideas without appearing to be condescending.

    At this point in Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by brodie on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:25:09 AM EST
    fairly disappointing presidency, I'm less inclined to assign much credit to a speech well made with some good enough substance, which this speech was.  

    So while I might give him a A- overall, given the somewhat modest achievements to this point, it really isn't going to have much staying impact with me beyond what temporary satisfaction one gets from a good Chinese meal.  Yes, it was mighty tasty to hear Obama talk about addressing the job situation, and the negative reaction he elicited from one Sam Alito when he denigrated the recent Sup Ct decision on corporate speech was a small culinary delight.  

    But even some of the slower folks in the Obama admin now realize that the people are demanding bold action from the Dems, and that well-delivered professionally-crafted political rhetoric has a much shorter shelf life a year into this presidency than it did at the outset.

    Nice speech, despite a few too many crumbs thrown to the Right on issues like energy and tax cuts, and very well delivered.  He's still got time to turn around this presidency provided this temporary small victory is followed up with substantive victories in Congress and with the presidential exec order pen.

    You are generous graders (5.00 / 2) (#152)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:12:05 PM EST
    I read the speech, only listened to part of it. You are all generous graders IMO...I thought the speech pedestrian and predictable. The little bit I watched, I thought his delivery was off--he was in his scolding, condescending mode, which I have always found a turnoff but which some people seem to like; to each his own.

    For content I give it a D+ and for delivery I'd have to say a C.

    I liked that he is finally acknowledging the anger and pain of average Americans--yet some parts left me stunned. As in, "calling for a jobs bill tonight"-- why on earth didn't he have a jobs bill when he took office? Or within a couple of months? He didn't know how bad things were--really? Yet he does have yet another bank bailout all planned up and ready to go.

    As Tim Gunn would say, with  exquisite understatement: "This worries me."

    Also, I really resent being scolded about how important it is to bail out the banks--yet again--and all that talk of "yes, I know you hate it but it's necessary" made him sound like a mother giving her child medication. I detest that "we know what's best for you" tone from politicians, as if we don't have the right to our anger at what they're doing and as if we really don't know better.

    Overall the speech seemed like it could have been delivered by any president at any time. There wasn't anything really new in it.

    Much of the criticism (5.00 / 2) (#160)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:35:59 PM EST
    here is so very predictable could have been written before the speech.

    Here it is:

      1.  I don't like the tennis head teleprompter style, or can't stand his voice--translation:  I hate it that everyone says he can give a good speech, so I have to find something wrong about his style to tear him down ...

      2.  He lacks passion and doesn't connect with real people--translation, I never liked the guy and that is why he can't connect with me....

       3.  He has failed to actually do anything of value, so what he says doesn't matter--translation:  nothing he says will change my mind.

       4.  And most predictable of all:  Hillary and Bill would have done better....

    The criticism is a canned spiel that is getting very tiresome and really doesn't have much to do with specific policy disagreements....but is at bottom very ad hominem.

    Please (5.00 / 7) (#175)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:37:45 PM EST
    I don't like your assumptions.

    You remind me of those people sent from the Obama campaign to demean people who questioned the reality of Obama.

    The canned spiel that is really tiresome is yours.


    I saw plenty of specific (4.00 / 3) (#173)
    by observed on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:22:22 PM EST
    You're reading what you want , not what was written.

    I didn't say everyone (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:22:06 PM EST
    But there are the predicatable, canned responses too.

    Yes, on BOTH sides of (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:42:15 PM EST
    the discussion.

    Ah, it was a "some say" remark, (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by observed on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:59:41 PM EST
    as if that improves it.

    I sure didn't see any... (5.00 / 2) (#202)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:34:52 PM EST
    ...of value or specific to any policy issues in your comments in the pre-SOTU thread.  

    i remember back when some said (1.00 / 1) (#107)
    by The Last Whimzy on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:32:02 AM EST
    Bush jr. was adept at telling us what we wanted to hear.

    listen kids.  no one ever criticized Obama saying "he's a crappy speech giver!!!!"  no one ever said that.

    next thing you know krugman will be darkening photos cause that's what obama devotees think is done by people who criticize obama.

    what a whole hell of a joke.

    what an abomination.

    the whole narrative.  start to finish. the real narrative.

    all the pretending.

    just wonderful.

    YES!!!! GO OBAMA!!!!! GO!!!!!!!!!!

    WHAT A WONDERFUL SPEECH!!!!!!  just don't call me a racist.  I think Obama is perfect.

    I support Obama in everything he says and does.

    I read the speech (none / 0) (#5)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:41:28 PM EST
    So, he must have given one truly inspiring performance. Have to say other blog, even TPM, find something very faux about the enthusiasm.

    Hate to tar you with the same brush. I encourage you to rethink your grading criteria.

    The speech I read could have been delivered by Bush.

    There's probably a variation... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:23:23 PM EST
    ... between those who read the transcripts and those who watch the teebee. I read the transcripts.

    I saw it (3.00 / 2) (#112)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:14:47 AM EST
    but I am an actor/director and I know when someone doesn't mean what they say.
    Some people call acting lying.  But it isn't when done well it is truth.  Obama is a bad actor.  I do not believe he means anything he says except when lecturing and being snarky and arrogant.  Then I find him totally believable.  It's the same problem I had with bush.

    Via CSPAN, two sites that make interesting (none / 0) (#57)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:41:57 PM EST
    graphics of sorts out of the speech:

    by creating a picture based on the most often used words

    and Many Eyes

    which makes a line graph in which one can change the first word and find all continuing sentences from there, based on the text.

    Nice not to see so many (none / 0) (#58)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:43:52 PM EST
    security-related buzzwords as in a Bush speech.

    He used I and Me 100 times (none / 0) (#80)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:39:28 PM EST
    I read that he used "I" 96 times and me four times.  In Bush's last SOTU he used "I" 39 times and me twice.  

    but he used WE over 156 times (none / 0) (#123)
    by DFLer on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:12:40 AM EST
    I see 8 for ME and 83 for I, but I'm not stone cold familiar with this site and how to read it.

    Bobblespeak; Now THIS is A+ work (none / 0) (#59)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10:44:41 PM EST

    NOTE Via Atrios, who seems to have recovered his inner hippie.

    Read it (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:01:55 PM EST
    And it's tasteless, zero tact....more credible than the SOTU though.

    In my mind (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:22:09 PM EST
    I heard Gilbert Gottfried imitating Ice T as the voice reading it. Surreal.

    Her comment was removed (none / 0) (#90)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:38:32 AM EST
    now.  Thank you, Jeralyn.

    yes it was deleted (none / 0) (#95)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:45:38 AM EST
    and in going back through Cotton Candy's comments just now I found another one. I deleted that too and Cotton Candy is warned that if s/he calls someone a racist again, s/he will be banned from the site.

    Oops! The comment I replied to... (none / 0) (#91)
    by Romberry on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:40:14 AM EST
    ...isn't a comment any longer. Please, no one allow the placement of my comment in the thread to be taken as an indication that it applies to any comments that presently appear. Someone called someone else a racist because they didn't care for the speech and that comment (which is gone*) is what I was referring to.

     *Tip o' the hate to Jeralyn for removing it. Raspberries to me for commenting too soon.

    He is who he said he was (none / 0) (#94)
    by Manuel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:45:15 AM EST
    He is going to pursue populism and will continue to reach out to Republcans and try to get a centrist consensus on incremental change.  I wish him luck for all our sakes.  If he can get the trust of independents, he might be able to get something done.  I don't see where he has any leverage with Republicans.  My guess is that the Republicans will continue to fight him tooth and nail leaving him isolated without deep support from the left.

    more like (none / 0) (#111)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:06:53 AM EST
    he is going to talk populist and continue to deliver out of touch elitist.

    Jobs (none / 0) (#120)
    by Manuel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:01:42 AM EST
    It will be interesting to see if the jobs initiatives he outlined last night go anywhere.

    I'm a bit discouraged (none / 0) (#165)
    by cawaltz on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:53:37 PM EST
    I was reading about the billions going into light rail and then I got to the part where it said most of this money would be going overseas for "experts" and "infrastructure." I'd love to know why with 10+% unemployment we aren't giving our own folks a stab at this project.

    one great compliment (none / 0) (#97)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:57:28 AM EST
    I didn't rant and scream at the radio,nor have chest pains, nor decide to drown my sorrows after this speech. Big change from the W years. definitely a c+ for those reasons! Mediocre is so much better than abjectly horrible.

    SOTU at the most a C- (none / 0) (#121)
    by samsguy18 on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:05:05 AM EST
    Blah Blah Blah Blah.......IMHO with a few exceptions it was the same old same old. He's always been good at giving a speech...most of his political career implementation and follow through has never been one of his strong points.
    Seeing is believing!

    His remark to the SCOTUS (none / 0) (#124)
    by Saul on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:20:00 AM EST
    was unique.  I liked it.  I thought the SC ruling on allowing corporations to allow limitless money amounts toward any political candidate was outrageous.

    Who can compete with EXXON, CITGO, and all those big boys.  They can buy most of Congress now.

      Just a reckless decision. The scolding was good IMO.

    I don't get the outrage either (none / 0) (#136)
    by cawaltz on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:27:14 AM EST
    He's entitled to an opinion like everyone else and frankly his opinion was consistent with 4 of the justices as well as a goodly number of Democrats. I think in some cases some folks are peeved enough they want to criticize every little thing he does because he's himself. Frankly, I'd welcome it if he used his bully pulpit to promote an amendment that clearly states corporations are not people.

    I thought that too (none / 0) (#139)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:42:02 AM EST
    Frankly, I'd welcome it if he used his bully pulpit to promote an amendment that clearly states corporations are not people.

    But then, reading a Glenn Greenwald column made me pause in that thought.

    So I'll ask again -- of you and anyone who claims that since corporations are not persons, they have no rights under the Constitution:

    Do you believe the FBI has the right to enter and search the offices of the ACLU without probable cause or warrants, and seize whatever they want?

    Do they have the right to do that to the offices of labor unions?

    How about your local business on the corner which is incorporated?

    The only thing stopping them from doing this is the Fourth Amendment. If you believe that corporations have no constitutional rights because they're not persons, what possible objections could you voice if Congress empowered the FBI to do these things?

    Can they seize the property (the buildings and cars and bank accounts) of those entities without due process or just compensation? If you believe that corporations have no Constitutional rights, what possible constitutional objections could you have to such laws and actions?

    Could Congress pass a law tomorrow providing that any corporation - including non-profit advocacy groups -- which criticize American wars shall be fined $100,000 for each criticism? What possible constitutional objection could you have to that?

    Interesting premise (none / 0) (#142)
    by cawaltz on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 11:39:14 AM EST
    although my position is still that corporations are not a person.  Ironically, incorporation actually PROTECTS individuals and limits their liability so I find it interesting that in this instance the argument is that it would increase liability for corporations. As for seizing assets the government does that although it generally doesn't do it for giggles,lately its been done to save corporate America's collective bacon(yeah I'm talking about you car companies, mortgage companies, AIG and almost- but not quite you banks)

    The only argument I found vaguely compelling if not a little chicken littleish is the idea that a political party might utilize the fact it wasn't a person to wiretap them(hey then they can REALLY be just like us) or search their office space while they aren't there(oh wait they do that too thanks to the patriot act) without warrants.

    Overall, I'd say this all could be avoided altogether if the whole entire premise wasn't money equals speech where corporations(which are collectives of people) have a vast advantage over regular Americans. Oh and if Corporate America hadn't gone out of the way to show that they not only stack the deck, but they own it(by getting to write health care, energy and a myriad of other policies)this all would have been moot and no one would be upset with this decision. Unfortunately, that isn't the reality.


    As Hamlet said (none / 0) (#129)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:46:34 AM EST
    Words, words, words, Horatio...

    Meanwhile the ghost of our former self as a nation haunts us daily.

    This speech, IMO, was nothing but the same paradigms repackaged with some nicer wrapping. Obama in his year in office has shown ZERO ability of desire to fight. He simply cannot, for anything, bring himself to jeopardize the ascendant position he holds in the clique of power players. He likes being in the club far too much to get himself expelled, even though his expulsion is what the nation needs worse than anything.

    I missed the oration (none / 0) (#133)
    by cawaltz on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:06:50 AM EST
    The speech sounded decent. I would expect it to be long with all the problems we face as a nation.

    People who know me know I am NOT an Obama fan club member but I didn't think the speech was awful. I'm willing to give him his beloved B+ on speeches. Now as for delivery, I'm waiting to grade that when I see some sort of "delivery" from him MORE SUBSTANTIAL than a speech. I want to see action. His first year has not been good, here's to hoping he gets better at the learning curve for the sake of the nation. He needs to lead, not expect everyone else to do the job he was elected to do. If he manages to do that on even one or two of the issues facing the country he could pull off the presidency and be the good president he wishes to be. He just needs to get over his desire to have the right tell him he's the best thing since Reagan and start listening to his base.

    Has no one mentioned (none / 0) (#140)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:44:04 AM EST
    Chris "Tingling Legs" Matthews putting his foot in his mouth, once again?

    "I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It's interesting: he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he's gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and passed so much history, in just a year or two. I mean, it's something we don't even think about. I was watching, I said, wait a minute, he's an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people. And here he is president of the United States and we've completely forgotten that tonight -- completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life that you don't think in terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard. A very subtle fact. It's so hard to talk about. Maybe I shouldn't talk about it, but I am. I thought it was profound that way."

    I'd heard about that (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by cawaltz on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 11:40:18 AM EST
    Tweety is a dolt. It's amazing how he continually insists on proving it over and over ad nauseum.

    So (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by coast on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:06:41 PM EST
    has Matthews for the last year been thinking - the black President did this today or the black President needs to say this - seems rather odd.  And now that the speach is over, is he now thinking of him as a black President again?

    What an idiot.


    Chris is heavily invested (5.00 / 2) (#155)
    by brodie on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:17:29 PM EST
    in seeing himself and talking about himself, proudly, on air as to his Irish Catholicness (as well as his alleged Average/Normal Guyness), and I suspect has had many of his attitudes (including towards women) formed during a political period in our history -- Ike and Kennedy admins -- when minorities and women were the odd ducks largely left out of the political process.

    There's probably also the factor that he was raised in a very large and very conservative family which probably was very race conscious (and not in a positive way).

    A lot's happened lately for Chris to digest ...


    This kind of stuff is exactly why I didn't watch (none / 0) (#172)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:16:20 PM EST
    any of the pre or post speech commentary. The speech itself did not convince me that we have leadership up to the challenges we face. I knew the idiotic media commentary would just fill me with despair.

    The zinger against the Supreme Court (none / 0) (#156)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:19:11 PM EST
    was good....

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#157)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:20:33 PM EST
    I thought it was rude and uncalled-for.

    Why was it rude? (none / 0) (#164)
    by cawaltz on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 12:50:51 PM EST
    Do you think the dissenting justices were rude for their dissent with the majority opinion.

    I actually thought it was a step forward for Obama to actually state an opinion in a straightforward manner. Generally, one of the reasons Obama aggravates me is because he strikes me as wishy washy when it comes to his opinions. He'll be for something but only if it doesn't come at any political cost and alot of his word parsing strikes me as someone ready to shift position at the the blink of an eye if politically expedient. In this case he seemed to be voicing an opinion in a way that would not be easy to walk back.

    I'm looking forward to seeing if he actually is willing to do something beyond rebuke with words.


    Obama could have said (none / 0) (#169)
    by sleepingdogs on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:08:20 PM EST
    "The Supreme Court acted stupidly."

    Arriving late to this party, (none / 0) (#184)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:21:56 PM EST
    not much is left to say, so I will limit my thoughts to delivery--apparently the main purpose of the thread in any event. The president has, of course, mastered the tele-prompter technique--not an easy one either. And, the  State of the Union address is a good opportunity to deploy it (moving left to right--sorry I did say no content comments) although, a straight look in the eye, at least from time to time, would be enhancing. Indeed, the occasional break of pace and smile (not always in synchronization with content) were value added. The use of the tele-prompter for almost all occasions does invite comments and even jokes, as noted by Jon Stewart, in a tape re-play of a presidential greeting to sixth graders. Since this address was somewhat defensive and reactive in content for both what the Union's state is and will soon be, the delivery styles might be broadened. The president is not as masterful with the interview technique, as first noted in the primary debates, but he has improved significantly. And, he is not bad when reading from text.

    Another Perfect day for Bananafish (none / 0) (#207)
    by jondee on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:17:29 PM EST
    saying spectacle and theatrics connected to Presidential speeches shouldnt matter is like saying  spectacle and theatrics shouldnt matter in a love affair.

    Should they matter? No. Do they? There are rumors afloat that they do.