First Reactions to the State of the Union

The speech is done: what's the verdict? A roundup of liberal and conservative reactions across the web

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Political observers have been waiting with bated breath for tonight's State of the Union. Now that it's done, what do they think?

  • Go Man, Go!  "This was the president," concludes the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, "I supported and still support and wil support because he alone is calling us away from the cynicism, the ideology, the rhetorical poison, and the red-blue divide that keep us from the reform we desperately need."
  • 'High Marks' for Showmanship  "Obama has never chanted 'USA, USA, USA" before in his life," decides Choire Sicha at The Awl (though Slate did predict the chant on Twitter a good half hour before it occurred). "And it shows. Apart from that? I give that a pretty high marks for an ending. We don't quit! I don't quit! It was like a really good car commercial, back when we made cars."
  • Message Overload  "There were too many Barack Obamas tonight," begins Alex Castellanos at the conservative National Review. He thinks there were "too many promises and too many interests ... The president defended everything tonight. I'm not sure America knows who he is."
  • Solid  "Obama's State of the Union address offers a reassuring, common-sense blueprint in an anxious time," is the verdict of Bruce Reed over at Slate.
  • Missing: Instructions on Passing Health Care Reform  At Newsweek, Sarah Kliff is glad Obama came out clearly for passing health care reform. "But, unfortunately, Obama didn’t say anything particularly useful and instructive for the gathered legislators," she laments. "He did not say, 'pass the Senate Bill' or 'start from scratch and hammer out a new bill.' And as wonky and specific as this stuff might sound, it’s exactly what Congress wanted (and I think needed) to hear."
  • Missing: The War on Terror  "More than 40 minutes into his State of the Union speech, Obama mentioned terrorism," writes Jena McNeil at the Heritage Foundation. "If you weren’t listening carefully, you might have missed it. It was all about 10 sentences."
  • Great Speech, May Not Change Much "I thought it was just great," says progressive Matt Yglesias. But "the past twelve months are a reminder that giving fantastic setpiece speeches has limits as a political strategy." He adds, too, that "Bob McDonnell gave arguably the best SOTU response I've ever seen ... It still wasn't a good speech, per se, but it didn't suck. And that's a triumph."
  • State of the Union Not a 'Reset Button,' Republican strategist Karl Rove reminds readers in a Wall Street Journal op-ed released minutes after the speech ended. The president may be looking to revive flagging morale, but "since World War II, presidential approval ratings have dropped an average of 1.8 points after a president's first State of the Union speech."

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