Speech -- Wrap
I thought the speech worked well rhetorically but all the work is to-be-done. I was glad that Obama defended his initiatives without grandstanding. I thought the Udall sit-together initiative worked wonderfully in making the other branches look appropriately serious and focused on getting work done. I didn't hear anything from a policy perspective that was terribly bold or surprising --- which meant that there wasn't much to oppose (how can you oppose 10 and 25 year goals? General bipartisan work on reform). I suppose that a focus on schools, energy, and deficit reduction is a reasonable troika for this year. I believe the speech will help Obama in the polls, and depending on the GOP response, may lift the legislature in general too.
But what will really happen over the next three months? Will the Tea Party shut down the government over the debt ceiling? How will their promise to cut $100 bill per year be reconciled with Obama's agreement to cut $400 billion over ten years as long as it's coupled with key investments for America's future? More generally, has the GOP pivoted from 'just say no' with the only objective to unseat Obama in 2012 to something else? How will the GOP reconcile the Tea Party?
On to Congressman Ryan representing the GOP ... interesting that he's about the most inside-Beltway career politican among the newer GOP members ... Fact that Bachmann gets equal time on CNN is itself a substantial commentary on the GOP today...