I felt differently. I am still preoccupied with the phishing/cyber-security fire drill from earlier today, not yet fully solved; but here are a few quick positive points about what Obama did:
1) He tried to raise the discussion of public/private spending up above the idiot level. The real economic history of the United States, as anyone understands who has studied it outside the confines of a political rally, involves a combination of public and private efforts. We have highways, we have hospitals, we have the Internet, we have an aerospace industry, we have agribusiness, we have biotech, because of the interaction of public investments/standards/regulation and private competition, innovation, profit-seeking, price-reduction, job-creation. It's an obvious truth that has somehow been declared out of bounds in political discussion -- for just one example, see this celebrated Washington Post story on communities that denounce the same public spending that keeps them afloat.
Obama addressed this point not just once but several times in the speech, eg this way early on:
"And so we've built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens. We've laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce. We've supported the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire new industries. Each of us has benefitted from these investments, and we're a more prosperous country as a result."
And, later on:
"We take responsibility for ourselves, but we also take responsibility for each other; for the country we want and the future that we share. We're a nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI Bill and we saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives. That's who we are. This is the America that I know."
A genius-level insight? Maybe not. But in today's political discourse, simply restating this reality is something.