The Wall Street Journal seems to see last night’s speech in Politico’s terms: not necessarily a challenge to Republicans, but definitely a coarse, oversized pill for them to swallow.
the vision he sketched out isn’t likely to win over skeptics on the right. They think his talk of cutting spending in some areas is more than trumped by his desire to spend more in other areas. And they already doubt his new pledges to ratchet back regulation.
Nor will the Obama vision be entirely pleasing to his friends on the left, who will be puzzled by his sudden interest in cutting the corporate tax rate and disturbed by the spending cuts they know are coming. “I’m sure there will be plenty of unhappiness about that,” a senior Obama aide said just before the speech.
Already, Obama’s vision doesn’t look to have won over those skeptics on the right. The editors of National Review have published a sharp rebuke of the president’s proposals, tearing at them one-by-one to ultimately declare that “Obama’s economic strategy is a high-speed train to nowhere.” And Jennifer Rubin, of the Post’s relatively new Right Turn blog, writes that the Obama we saw last night was not a centrist but a wordsmith who had rechristened “spending” as “investment.” She said the speech “did remind us that, at heart, Obama is a liberal who wishes to expand, seemingly without limitation of the federal government.” Then she just got spit-out-your-tea mean.
In a nutshell: Obama proposed a ton of new domestic spending, promised to freeze discretionary spending (attained by savaging defense), abstained from offering specifics on entitlement reform and largely ignored major foreign policy changes. Moreover, the delivery was so listless that this State of the Union address likely garnered less applause than any address in recent memory.
Not very kind, but a not unwelcome jolt when you’re forced to do a morning-after read-through of all this same-same commentary. If the president was something of a deflating balloon last night, the Web and the papers are a bouquet of them this morning. All this analysis for what? A speech that will be forgotten by Friday, only to be vaguely recalled as a point of comparison come January 2012. And it wasn’t even a good show. Let’s not get started on the blogs about the blogs
Perhaps my favorite comment comes from Brendan Nyhan—as it often seems to these days—who wrote on his blog:
As for commenting on the speech itself, I’ll repeat what I said in 2007:
What’s more tedious: the State of the Union, or SOTU blogging? I’ll pass.
*NOTE: I originally posted video of last year’s SOTU address by mistake. Apologies.