Obama was fantastic - worlds better than his inaugural. He laid out the most ambitious and expensive domestic agenda of any Democratic President since LBJ, and did it so smoothly that you'd think he was just selling an incremental center-left pragmatism. I think that he has an acute sense - more acute than most people in Washington, probably - of just how much running room is open in front of him at the moment, and he intends to make the absolute most of it. Burkean temperament or no, this was not a Burkean speech by any stretch: It was the speech of a man seeking to turn a moment of crisis into a domestic-policy revolution, and oozing confidence from every pore along the way. Now all he has to do is find a way to pay for it ...
 
And Jindal - yeah, he was just as lousy as everybody's saying. As far as themes and messaging went, he basically chose option A on Ambinder's list - government isn't the solution; pork is the problem; etc. - and embedded it in a weak, sing-song delivery that I suspect left even the people who respond favorably to that message cold. Sure, responding to a Presidential speech is almost always a thankless, hopeless job - but shouldn't someone as smart as Jindal have recognized that, and either turned the opportunity down flat, or found a way to sound like something other than a kindergarten teacher delivering familiar GOP talking points? In the event, his speech was the capstone on a lousy night for conservatism: If that's the best the Right has to offer as a rebuttal to Obama, American liberalism is going to be running untouched down the field for years to come.