I am going to try and live blog the speech and would love to have your input.
The President starts the evening with a nice shot in the arm as a result of the Romney tax return release. I've got to believe that as he lays out some of the inequities and injustices of the tax system -- and the manner in which the Republicans would like to exacerbate those issues -- that Romney will be the example that a goodly number of people will think about.
I think it is fair to say that every initiative that Obama highlights this evening is going to be dead on arrival if it has to be approved by Congress. It is clear that the Republicans on Capitol Hill have no interest in anything that might make the President look successful or effective, so this is largely a positioning speech for the election.
"I intend to fight obstruction with action" after saying he will work with anyone.
He vows to rebuild American manufacturing.
"Some said we should let it (the auto industry) die." To whom would the President be referring?
"We can make it happen [the rebuilding of manufacturing] in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh" to name three cities chosen entirely at random.
(I popped over to Sullivan's place and note that he finds the idea of industrial policy, economic nationalism, and protectionism to be depressing. I am heartened by his depression.)
I don't like the applause line for firing bad teachers -- it's probably good politics, but it feeds a pernicious myth.
A quick pitch for comprehensive immigration reform and -- I believe -- the DREAM Act.
Now extolling the growth in American oil production. Not exactly my appaluse line of choice either. Followed by a pitch for natural gas fracking with the caveat that producers must disclose the chemicals used in extraction. He notes the crucial role of federal financing of research in developing the fracking technology.
Pledges exectuve action and the use of the Department of Defense to develop alternative energy.
Banks must have a "living will." I like that.
Clap Eric clap, you sneaky little shit.
"If you make more that a million dollars a year you should pay at least thirty percent in taxes." And no, this is not the politics of envy. Hmmm -- who could that be aimed at?
And finally an attack on the filibuster, the central political problem of the moment in many respects.
I do agree with Sullivan that the speech is Clintonesque, i.e. a stem-winding laundry list -- which were more effective than one might think -- and rhetorically the weakest of Obama's SOTUs so far. The language is pretty pedestrian and there are no real admirable rhetorical flights that I can recall. But I think the substance of the speech is aimed in the right places for the election.
It was, as Rachel Maddow described it, an assertive speech without necessarily being a terribly memorable one. It was very nationalistic -- in a way I thought effective. Lawrence O'Donnell aptly described it as having a lot of "tax fairy dust sprinkled throughout," something which O'Donnell viewed skeptically.
And now here's Mitch:
After a nod to civility, Mitch engages in a litany of Republican disinformation about the President's program. He's aiming somewhat at young people who have suffered high unemployment in recent years. He tries to make the case that becoming rich is the greatest public service one can do. And that Steve Jobs created more jobs than the stimulus. (I am skeptical about this -- unless he is talking about jobs in China.) Mitch is going to save the safety net by destroying it.
The "Obama Administration's constant efforts to divide us." That is rich.
I propose that the phrase "shining city on a hill" be forever banned.
Mitch is a dour, grim little man -- how the fuck he could be anyone's beau ideal of a presidential candidate is a mystery to me.