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Obama corners the GOP

One thing I always forget about the State of the Union is that it really is a venue where the president is the stage manager, in control of the theatrics. At the beginning of tonight’s speech, President Obama used this authority to his advantage.

He opened his discussion of the economy by reciting his administration’s record. He mentioned the bank bailout, which he admitted was as popular “as a root canal.” But he went on to talk about having cut taxes for first-time homebuyers, for “parents trying to take care of their children,” for millions of Americans paying for college. These were calculated applause lines, and they brought Democrats to their feet. Republicans -- the party of tax cuts -- mostly sat stone-faced.

It was not good stagecraft, to say the least, from the GOP point of view. Obama even rubbed it in, at one point looking toward the Republican side of the chamber and saying, “I thought I’d get some applause on that one.” House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor looked nonplussed.

What, you guys don’t like tax cuts?

By Eugene Robinson  | January 27, 2010; 9:46 PM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
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Next: The punditocracy was wrong about Obama's speech

Comments

Robinson, affirmative action, applauding affirmative action. We have become a banana republic.

Posted by: djrhood | January 27, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Republicans have finally learned that DUMB tax cuts don't merit applause. And the homebuyer tax credit is a DUMB initiative, just like the previous cash-for-clunkers program. They merely accelerated purchase decisions by a few months (hence the crash in car sales post-C4C and the crash in some sales in December following the original homebuyer credit deadline), instead of generating sales on the margin. That doesn't stimulate the economy; it just expands government spending at a time of record-setting deficits and a very grim long-term fiscal outlook.

Posted by: tfirey | January 27, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: eyrtiuyoluerhyitertyutu | January 27, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: eyrtiuyoluerhyitertyutu | January 27, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

If Obama stepped down in disgrace, Robinson would claim that it was the most clever ploy to foil the GOP ever. Nothing to see here except a misguided partisan ballwashing joke of a columnist.

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | January 27, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama already has tire tracks down his back from the Massachusetts GOP victory. If he keeps going, he'll have tiremarks on every part of his body after the November election.

Or perhaps Eugene doesn't understand what "cornered" means.

Hint: It doesn't mean you just got run over by a Mack truck.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | January 27, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

If Obama or another Democrat says it, the GOP is automatically anti-it. Even if they were for it before.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | January 27, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are definitely the party of NO alright...NO Solutions.

Posted by: jsoles2001 | January 27, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

i'll take obama's charisma over bush's smarmy smirk anyday, i just wish the differences between them were as stark as their presences and demeanor. pro-business, pro-war, and pro-politician 24-7.

Posted by: forestbloggod | January 27, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

He cornered the Republicans. Of course, Pres. Obama needs to keep the pressure on and it will be interesting to see how Repubicans respond.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 27, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

The Scaredy Cat who has been backed
into the corner by his own cowardice,
fear, incompetence, failure, extreme
partisan bigotry and lackluster skills
has somehow cornered The Siberian Tiger
that is the consequence of his blunders?
Eugene, you are delusional. I'm still a
Liberal Democrat; but I'm no credulous
fool, Robinson. "The Call of History"
is just plain Sophistry, and we all know
it, Brother. This guy couldn't fight or
lead his way out of a wet paper bag with-
out a fully functioning Teleprompter
and That's A Fact, Jack!

Posted by: iamredwolf | January 27, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Gene;

Got the campaign talking points down? Plouffe shared today's updates with you yet?

How are home sales since the temporary homebuyer breaks expired?

Or Chevy sales since the end of cash for clunkers?

Posted by: Towson_Tiger | January 27, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

GOP guys, you are posting nonsense, just
go back to sleep

Posted by: larry9 | January 27, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

The speech was so easy to understand and educational that our "run for the hills boys,"drhood,charlesbaker and ombudschild" still had to show us and Mr. Robinson their behinds (in order to feel good, pump themselves up) I am hopeful that they will get jobs, go back to a community college and I know if they do not have health insurance...they will always get care in our emergency rooms. That is the American Way!So, guys, hang in there and smile- just a smile will lift your mood...try it and I promise that you will feel better.

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | January 27, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Compromising on bad policy is not good for the country. Saying 'no' to bad policy that harms the country is patriotic. The GOP has an obligation not to coooperate with this President's agenda which will harm the country and our people.

Posted by: DaMan2 | January 27, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

As an independent voter, I am tired of the racism and dumbness of the Republican Party and the sellout attitude of the Democratic Party. It's time for a third party to replace these jokers. At the moment, I do not trust democrats or republicans. Both parties have betrayed the American people numerous times. I am hoping that in the next elections, American voters learn that they do not have to vote for republicans or democrats.

Posted by: fedster | January 27, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Without question the best SOTU I have ever seen. Perhaps excluding those given by FDR. A call to action, a reflection on our values, a refusal to allow America to keep sliding backwards the way it did during the lost decade. Sounded very much like Kennedy in that portion of the speech. And taking on the SCOTUS while they were sitting 15 feet in front of him -- awesome. And telling republicons to put up or shut up. "No" is not acceptable governance. Excellent stuff. He is without a doubt the greatest president we have seen at least since Kennedy, and time may show him to be a rival to FDR jocking for place in the top three alongside Washington and Lincoln.

Posted by: John1263 | January 27, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

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