the Haters, Obama delivered
Complaints about Obama's State of
the Union address on both sides of the political divide
seemed to miss its point and purpose. Like every successful speech of
its kind, Obama's
message resonated on more than one level. So while he conceded little
ground to the right,
the president nevertheless sought to draw his adversaries--and even
more so the independent
voters who temporarily sided with them--into the American story he told.
The meaning of that narrative could scarcely have been clearer. Obama
articulated a vision
of the nation's future shaped by an idealistic view of our past, in
which government encourages
growth, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness by an inventive and
industrious people. If that
isn't the whole history of America, it is certainly an appealing
theme--and one that contrasts
powerfully with the partisan negativity and apocalyptic pessimism
voiced by the Republicans.
Gently but persuasively, the president suggested that the electoral
turn toward the Republicans
last November was a mistake, and began to explain why.
The president cannot expect the
Republicans to move his agenda forward during the next
two years, but he can start to demonstrate why their own agenda is
empty and stagnant.
In that task he was amply assisted by the (two!) sourly partisan and
negative rejoinders to
his speech from the other side. Michele Bachmann repeated the same
stale talking points
that always issue from her mouth when she isn't inventing fables about
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the new House budget chairman, failed again to
his party will restore fiscal balance--let alone how they mean to
address the central
questions of education, science, technology, and infrastructure.
I didn't see it, but Obama always delivers a good speech.
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