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Thursday, January 28, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

I listened to the speech last night and thought it was a decent speech as far as such speeches go.  Nothing especially dramatic leaped out at me, and always I will be interested to see what sound bites emerge in press coverage.  Indeed, judging by Memeorandum, the issue of most discussion is not an actual sound bite, but Justice Alito mouthing “not true” in response to the President’s characterization of the recent campaign finance ruling (video and reactions to Alito here).

My general impression of the speech was that the tone was good, politically speaking, for the President’s current situation and that it would likely provide a little boost to his numbers and initial indications are that that is the case (for example:  Poll: 83% of Speech Watchers Approve of Obama’s State of the Union Proposals).

It struck me as longer than normal, but that is a subjective judgment as  I haven’t seen a word count or length in minutes, let alone one that compares the speech to previous SOTUs.

I was struck by the tepid (if not outright negative) response from the Republicans on various proposals made by the President regarding small businesses, especially small business loans.  It struck me as a proposal that a Republican president could easily have made and that would have, therefore, been greeted with GOP applause.  The GOP is usually telling the country about the importance of small businesses as an engine for job creation, and yet there was this odd (so I thought) moment in which Eric Cantor (R-VA) turned to Minority Leader John John Boehner and seemed to sneer at the proposal.  One will allow that the devil is in the details of a given policy, but I just thought that was a strange reaction.

One thing is for sure:  I continue to wish we didn’t have to go through the nod to “equal time” to the party out of power (and I think this every year regardless of who is in power).  After having suffered attentively listened to one speech, the last thing I want is to listen to another one (and one that really has minimal significance).  Governor McDonnell’s remarks were fine as far as they went, but really, putting a guy who has been in office for a few weeks as a counterbalance to the President of the United States strikes me as a mismatch.   It was, at least, better than Jindal’s response to last years SOTU-that-wasn’t-really-the-SOTU.   Having an audience (even it was one that seemed a tad too enthusiastic) is a good move.

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7 Responses to “SOTU Reactions”

  1. Talmadge East Says:

    I can’t remember the word count, the speech was 1 hour and 10 minutes long. In other words shorter than Clinton’ and longer than Reagan’s.

  2. Alabama Moderate Says:

    Just a background thought, really, but would it be unheard of to ask all the fanboys and fangirls in Congress to hold their applause until the end of the speech. I mean, I like Obama thus far. I really do. I’m still rooting for the guy. But come on! A long speech is a log speech. Someone made a comment that you could make a drinking game out of the “spring in Nancy Pelosi’s butt,” and I had to giggle.

  3. Alabama Moderate Says:

    “A long speech is a LONG speech”

  4. Steven L. Taylor Says:

    Or maybe it resulted in you sleeping like a log! :)

    And yes: the up-and-down applause bit is a long-standing pet peeve or mine, but it ain’t going away.

    In all honesty, I am not a big fan of the “speech from the throne” aspect of the SOTU itself.

  5. Ratoe Says:

    I thought McDonnell’s speech was pretty good from a humor standpoint.

    First, the transparent effort to make it seem like a “state of the union speech” by putting him in the Richmond state house with a bunch of people wasn’t really convincing.

    I saw on some other blog the whole thing being compared to an infomercial, based on this contrived enthusiasm which just wound up seeming weird.

    The other thing about McDonnell was just how much it reflected the fact that the Republicans are still stuck in the Reagan era. He wasn’t as crude or as inarticulate as someone like Palin, but his entire speech was “tax cuts” and “deregulation.”

    It was really weird that he mentioned his opposition to regulation in the same breath as the state of the economy since most sensible economists (republicans and dems alike) recognize that much of the mess we are in is the result of poorly regulated credit markets.

    I just think the Republicans need to start rethinking their policy message. Their current trajectory may work in the short run, but in the long run reality will catch up.

    Finally, is McDonnell Mitt Romeny’s twin brother??!?! These guys look and act almost identically!

  6. Leonard Says:

    Since the speech was largely an unoriginal set piece that eventually started to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher, I came away from it with two impressions:

    1. WTF was Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH) doing getting Obama’s autograph?

    2. Every time I see Eric Cantor, the best descriptive word that comes to mind is “smarmy.”

  7. Steven L. Taylor Says:

    The whole line up hours before so I can shake the President’s hand thing is bizarre in and of itself. I saw the autograph thing, too: most strange.

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