Obama Speaks; Bloggers Blog

By Chris Good
As President Obama gave his first State of the Union address to Congress and the nation tonight, the blogosphere saw some predictably partisan and spontaneously hilarious reactions. Here are some highlights:
The AP's pre-written story--and the notion that Obama's speech would restore hope--were mocked by NRO's Jim Geraghty: "Can you feel it? Can you feel that Obama gave you the audacity to hope again? Do you remember who took it away from you? Geithner, Blagojevich, Daschle and Burris, maybe? If you don't feel it, it's just because he hasn't given the speech yet, that's all."

Ann Althouse was glad to see Supreme Court Justice Ruth Badur Ginsburg in attendance: "Ruth Bader Ginsburg! Among the living!" So was MyDD's Todd Beeton: "Yeah, Justice Ginsberg! [sic]"

Beeton reveled in Obama's slam of the Bush years: "'surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opp to invest in our future.' great line. have they shown a shot of Republicans not clapping yet?" (Daily Kos's Jed Lewison shared in the Bush-bashing beforehand, posting a photo of President Bush addressing Congress, along with the word "goodbye.")

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver thought the GOP could have done better on the clap/no clap strategy: "The GOP needed to have a better clapping gameplan. Mitch McConnell not clapping (and, in fact, looking like he's getting ready to pick his nose) at college tuition tax credits = bad."

The calls for "responsibility for our children's education" failed to convince the bloggers following live at RedState: "Here comes the social 'responsibility' that is voluntary...for now," wrote Aglaon, while Erick Brockway exhorted: "College for Acorn!" But a big win at with Dana Goldstein at TAPPED: "This is a historic statement on the centrality of education to the American economy, and indeed, to the American character. A lot will be said about the meaning of such a statement coming from the first black president. But this is really broader than that; a full embracing, after the know-nothing Bush years, of intellectual engagement."

On health care reform: it's coming, The Plank's Jonathan Cohn asserted, predicting that Obama's long-promised health care summit, where all interested parties are invited, will happen soon. "If you care about health care, keep your calendars free for late in the week," Cohn writes.

Deficit rhetoric failed to convince nearly everyone on the right. Melissa Clouthier at Right Wing News: "Okay, this is laughable. Now, after all this big spending, he's talking about not passing along debt to our children...OH! This is where the cuts are coming from: Defense." Townhall.com's Jonathan Garthwaite: "'I pledge to cut the deficit in half... immediately after Nancy, Harry, and I tripled it' Ok, so that's not an exact quote."

On Obama's anecdote about the banker who gave away his money, Time's Karen Tumulty (via Twitter): "He found the only banker in america people aren't mad at." ABC's Jake Tapper, responding to Tumulty's tweet about America's heroes: "thank goodness. I love the heroes."

So how was the speech, overall, received? Depends somewhat on the partisanship of the commentator. Conservatives, almost unanimously, didn't like it, liberals largely did. The crafting of the speech did the most to cross partisan lines--Cato's Will Wilkinson: "Oratorywise, so good. Ideawise, so weak. Combination, so dangerous."; TAPPED's Dana Goldstein: "Obama's denouement is 'We are not quitters.' Sorta pedestrian phrasing."

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http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/02/obama-speaks-bloggers-blog/973/