Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Of One Mind -- Thoughts on the SOTU

We've read the speech, we've heard the remarks by commentators, we've emailed friends, and spoken to others.  We've expressed that we felt that the president missed a great opportunity to truly make a significant change, and to address our most troubling woes.  We've read a wonderful satirical piece which equated the SOTU to an infomercial for General Electric, in The Spin Cycle This speech will be dissected ad infinitum, but Jonah Goldberg, writing for the National Review Online,  comes the closest to expressing our sentiments. We even agree on his assessment of Paul Ryan's speech.  On the State of the Union Address, we Two Sisters and Jonah Goldberg are of one mind.

An excellent editorial is just too good to pass up. 
Two Sisters.

Over Confidence & Over Kindness

January 25, 2011 11:06 P.M.

By Jonah Goldberg


I haven’t been poisoned by any of the post-punditry because I watched it all on the web. But I was truly surprised by how lackluster and clichéd Obama’s speech was. My suspicion is that because he had a good month or so (START, tax compromise, Tucson speech, uptick in polls) he thinks he can go back to his comfortable talking points: Investment, Sputnik moment, green energy, high speed rail, etc. One sign of that: he was, I believe, a full ten minutes shorter than last year’s SOTU but it felt twice as long.

It’s not as if this was a speech Obama would give if the Shellacking never happened, but it’s close.

Yes, the mixed-seating of the audience definitely worked against him because the birds of a feather weren’t flocked together. But this simply wasn’t an inspiring speech. I don’t think his naked calls for what amounts to industrial policy excite anybody who won’t get a check if they’re enacted. And the theme “winning the future” sounds even more focused grouped than it did when Newt Gingrich came out with a book by that title a few years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a bump in the polls, but if I were a GOP strategist I’d take some solace in the fact that this is a guy who has, once again, misread the political moment.

As for Ryan, I thought he was really very good, particularly in the second half of his blessedly brief remarks.

My only complaint is that he was a bit too un-threatening. We are in an awful mess, and a bit more passion would suit me better.

But that might be my personal taste trumping smart politics. The left — for good reason — is setting its sights on Ryan for the threat that he is. The first thing they will do is try to cast him as a terrifying figure, particularly among seniors. I think coming across as reassuring, even soothing, is probably the right play. Ryan never comes across as a bomb-thrower, but tonight he talked like an ER nurse trying to talk down a violent hippy from a bad acid trip, which is pretty impressive given the substance of what he was saying.

© National Review Online 2011.
JonahNRO@gmail.com

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