OK, I'm a little surprised this morning. I expected more from President Obama, but that is not to say that he didn't deliver a good speech, he did. The TWO Republican responses to the President's speech were, well, were, well, bad? Wrong? Undisciplined? Self Serving? Silly? Misplaced? Ridiculous? Light? Uninformed? Sad? I'm still searching.
The tone of the speech was different for many obvious reasons and the whole "dating" analogy that the press was using to describe the seating arrangements was a bit odd, but I believe it worked. I appreciated the non-partisan, for the most part, reaction to lines and ideas. I felt that the speech flowed better without all the partisan glad handing that irritates most of us, even those of us that love the SOTU. In some circles the SOTU is the political Super Bowl. Now if that were true for you then last night's speech was more like a Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers playing as opposed to Green Bay and Pittsburgh, but all that aside what did we learn about the President last night?
He did a fine job. President Obama is an excellent orator and he certainly had moments especially at the opening and at the close that were memorable, truly, but the middle was the muddle for me. Listen, I'm not gong to write a raving review of a pretty nifty political maneuvering speech that was smart enough to take away most Republican talking points and just smart enough to appease the Democratic base. There was enough patriotic speak to please that segment and there was enough pointed examples of every day Americans who have turned lemons into lemonade. Good for president Obama, good for him indeed.
There is nothing screamingly great about this SOTU speech. There is no a single moment where I felt, yes, hell yes, we have arrived! There wasn't anything here to set your hair on fire about and there was nothing that the "other side" can take a run with without lying, which I will get to in a moment. And maybe that's the brilliance on this particular SOTU speech, maybe.
Listen, neither side is stupid, not really. They both know that the public perception is reality and there was just enough fight in the speech to send the message that the Republicans better start getting along to warn the American people there is a problem and there was certainly enough policy talk to give us an idea of where the President wants to go with the country. It was basically a really timid campaign speech, to be honest.
The responses on the other hand were just a failed and miserable attempt to scare the American people and to once again try, although too weakly, to send a message that Democrats loves spending money and Republicans love to save you money, which is a bold faced lie.
The only difference between Rep. Paul Ryan's "official response" and Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party response was that his didn't suck as much as hers.
I know that this is not some articulate analysis to the events of last night and I make no apologies for that. I am responding to what I was given to respond to. The President didn't deliver a mandate laden, leadership driven, and thought inducing speech. The Republicans efforts combined were so filled with lies, tired and failed reactions, and poorly acted readings that it hardly merits writing about.
I guess I was left uninspired and unprovoked.
Bachmann's address was so poorly written and delivered that she certainly didn't do herself or the Tea Party any favors at all. Her charts were so wrong that by this time tomorrow she will most likely be sitting in her little Washington, DC apartment crying with a glass of wine while hugging her knees and sobbing why, why me? Ugh!!!
So the actions of the 112th Congress continue to be a story that is yet to be told. We still don't even have the chapters written so it's kind of hard to figure out what this book will be about and I'm sure many of you at some level have to agree. Last night was just a bit more exciting than watching paint dry. But just a little.
Listen, the messages the President highlighted were worthy of mention, but a feature story in any major paper would have done that job as well as the speech did. Maybe this was all a set up for something yet to be defined publically. I have no idea. But I know this: if this is the opening salvo on what we can expect over the next two years, well, get ready for something, I just don't know what!