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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Friday question

By Jennifer Rubin

The president delivered his State of the Union Address, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) gave the Republicans' response. Which do you think was most effective, and why?

I will select one pro-Obama comment and one pro-Ryan comment to discuss on Monday. Remember, all answers must be in by 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Friday question  
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Comments

I enjoyed the part where Ryan defended entitlements as anchored in the founders' wisdom, part of the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and in the words of the Constitution.

Posted by: thetruth2011 | January 28, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Since my comment doesn't quite fit Jennifer's full rules governing today's Friday question, it probably won't and shouldn't be discussed. But in light of the happenings overseas I will amend my previous take by saying that President Obama's SOTU speech and Representative Ryan's response to it were both finished and forgotten in Washington, D.C. within 46 hours.

Posted by: aardunza | January 28, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

May I post a comment that is not in line with your contest?

I liked the speeches. Both men made a good case for the advantages of their philosophy of government. The President spoke of investments in infrastructure and education, to show how the government can enable prosperity and improve our competitiveness. The congressman spoke about limiting our government and the capabilities of free when the government is neither intrusive nor takes too much out of their pockets.

The problem is that neither man would address the upside of the opposing view nor the downsides of their own convictions.

President Obama spoke neither about how the private sector is going to help us out of this, nor about how the people who always want more government "investment" are unlikely to reform the popular programs that are drowning us.

Congressman Ryan spoke neither about how the government can and must do things the private sector cannot, nor about how those who strongly favor the free market and individual initiative are unlikely to address challenges such as increasing income inequality or state-sponsored capitalism in China.

Both of these men, intelligent and reasonable public servants, believe we should have a "debate" about the choices we are to make, yet neither want to actually engage in a productive and valuable argument. If the State of the Union and the Response are not the venue, fine. Then what is?

- Ed Lyons (Boston, MA)

Posted by: edfactor | January 28, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@aardunza: Spot on!

The east coast storm and the events in Tunisia and Egypt have quickly moved the two speeches into the yesterday's-news dustbin.

I hope those still without electricity on the east coast have warm places to stay until power is restored.

As for Tunisia and Egypt, I hope for as calm a resolution through these historic times as is feasible.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked during this run-up-to-the-SOTU season what can you remember from other SOTUs.

For me all I can remember is they are all crammed packed with nauseating posturing and are for-Pete's-get-it-over-with long.

Other than that the only thing that I can remember is Joe Wilson blurting out "You lie," and Samuel Alito mouthing "that's not true."

Posted by: nvjma | January 28, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Michele Bachmann, because when was delivering her SOTU response, she noticed that spot on the wall over my left shoulder, just below the ceiling, where I screwed up the paint. She couldn't take her eyes off it the whole time!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 28, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The President’s speech was detached from the reality of foreign events -- about which he had little to say -- and domestic fiscal realities. Ryan rightly focused the nation’s finances, but it appears that Democrats plan is to let the Republicans propose solutions and then blame them for the consequences, real and imagined. Whether the Dem’s cynicism proves successful in the short term depends on their approach. The current trend is not sustainable, the question is whether Republicans can maintain the discipline required to change the trajectory. Ryan’s speech gave them the start and may prove seminal.

Posted by: SCMike1 | January 28, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I think Ryan's speech was far more effective, and this is coming from someone who had voted for Obama in 2008.

Obama's speech was filled with platitudes; how many times do we need to hear about green energy, research and development, high-speed rail, energy independence, etc. Our political leaders have been talking about this stuff for years with little to show for it. Also, Obama's speech was riddled with contradictions. All this new spending and we'll cut the deficit? New uniforms, equipment, and veteran's benefits for our troops but we'll cut the defense budget? And finally, the speech was awkwardly structured, going from general themes to a laundry list to general themes again.

In contrast, Ryan's speech was tightly structured, succinct, direct, and engaging. He got right to the heart of our fiscal problems, made a convincing case for real reform, and spoke with urgency and clarity. There's no wonder why he's a rising star for the GOP.

Posted by: ralterb | January 28, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse

IN Washington, there is no J Street - it does not exist.


So why would a group chose that as its name - a mythical street?


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 28, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

This Egypt thing is big


The Islamists are going to take over this revolution -

The Muslim Brotherhood will end up in control


Obama clearly does not understand what he is doing.....


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 28, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

my vote is with aardunza and MsJS.

Yes, I watched, and listened to both speeches, and Rep. Bachman on CNN. Totally confused by what she said about Iwo Jima. Obama was broing, and Ryan's voice made it hard to listen. Talking points without poetry. The PM questions in Parliament in any given week is far more memorable and interesting.

Got suckered in because I wanted to see Rep. Engel, and kept wondering what he and Sen. McConnell talked about...

And then went back to reading Harry Truman's memoirs. My way of dreaming of a day when the nominee selection is once again NOT the product of the extreme partisans of both the right and the left.

Posted by: K2K2 | January 28, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

To RainForestRising ... you don't get it...Obama knows exactly what he's doing...it's part of his great design. Stop drinking the kool aid.

Posted by: alaskachic93 | January 29, 2011 3:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the support, guys and gals -- and I didn't even know about the snowstorm, go figure. Um, doesn't the "J" stand for Jew, or maybe Jerusalem? (No idea.)

Regarding my offbeat posts to the previous blog, still going for that worst pun of the day idea I once tossed toward the Commentary comment section -- they used to have some great ones! Just trying to lighten the load a bit for you movers and shakers.


Posted by: aardunza | January 29, 2011 5:04 AM | Report abuse

K2K2:

You mean we weren't the underdogs at Iwo Jima? Damn, that's why you can never trust any history that you don't learn on Glenn Beck!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 29, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@aardunza: Spot on!

The east coast storm and the events in Tunisia and Egypt have quickly moved the two speeches into the yesterday's-news dustbin.
As for Tunisia and Egypt, I hope for as calm a resolution through these historic times as is feasible.
Posted by: MsJS

MsJS, My prediction is that JR and the NeoCon community in general,are not going to display one moments regret for their role in creating the current situation where although we might need to have a military intervention in Egypt,we have blown our wad on unnecessary and fruitless military adventures. If Egypt goes Islamic,JR&the NCs will scream for a draft,and a 3rd front to protect Israel. However,although they won't show us their regret,they are beginning to feel fear/regret because,we have used up our Imperial overreach in situations that did not in any way threaten Israel,and now,due to NeoCon thinking,we have placed Israel,between Iran,and a potentially Islamic Egypt,with our army in Iraq(already falling apart),and Afghanistan(nothing to work with) And if Iraq goes Islamist after our army slinks out of there,Israel is in the middle of an Islamist Triangle,thank you W,DR,DC,RP,EA,JB,NP,JP,NR,Weekly Standard,Heritage Foundation,Commentary,and all others who did not beware of their wishes and desires for the "Defense" of Israel.

Posted by: rcaruth | January 29, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

aardunza: the NE USA has had nine snow events since Dec. 26, 2010 when NYC got 22", and another 19" on Jan. 27. My right arm is going numb from all the shovelling and roof raking, and I am where the totals were much lower.

johnmarshall5446: is that what Bachman was saying? That the US were the underdogs at Iwo Jima? but prevailed due to American exceptionalism? oy.

back to the Friday question. I missed Obama's 2009 Cairo speech. Actually, I do not think Obama has had a good speech since the 2004 Democratic Convention.

But I do not think Paul Ryan's reaction-to-SOTU was any better than the SOTU. Ryan inserted too many standard conservative talking points, and I was really depressed at the end. Plus, the timbre of his voice really grated on my ears.

Obama has never been interested in the economy, and all he can still do is borrow Bill Clinton's "green job" meme? High-speed rail is not a job-stimulator.

What really irks me about the SOTU is invoking Sputnik. The real history is so different from the conventional wisdom. The concept for a satellite was American - just google Joseph Kaplan and read the NASA archives. Dr. Kaplan was US chair of International Geophysical Year 1957-8. In 1951, he started thinking about the use of radio telemetry to transmit scientific data from a rotating "long playing rocket" back to earth. His testimony before Congress secured the first funding. Russia was part of IGY, and Eisenhower worked very hard to calm down the US military to make certain they understood IGY was an international scientific venture. I simplify, but, the only surprise was that the Russians succeeded first. No one in the government was "surprised", and there was no real technology gap.

The Sputnik myth is far too ingrained to change it now, but I always get angry when Sputnik is used the way Obama used it in SOTU.


Posted by: K2K2 | January 29, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I liked Paul Ryan's speech. It was the equivalent of Week One for new contestants on TV's "The Biggest Loser": I don't want to hear no excuses, get your butt on that treadmill and give me a workout until you puke, and then get back on it and give me some more! He only had 10 minutes so it was short on specifics, but in all fairness, Mr. Ryan at least has put his money where his mouth is by laying out his vision via his "roadmap," and he is not afraid to grab on to the third rail of politics - entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

On the other hand, President Obama's speech took me back to the days of Baghdad Bob, going on and on about "investments" and "winning the future" while the next day the $1.5 trillion adjusted deficit landed on his doorstep like a fat Sunday paper. Obama needs to call in to The Suze Orman Show's "Can I afford it?" segment and see what she says about buying new trains. Denied!!!!

Posted by: coffeetime | January 29, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

One has to question the loyalty of Obama - WHOSE side is Obama on?


Is Obama on the American People's side 100% ???


OR is Obama willing to allow the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt - because Obama has his own personal views - SEPARATE FROM THE NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.


Seriosly folks - we are in uncharted waters here. A crisis in a Muslim county, our President might be a SECRET MUSLIM - and we do not know where his loyalties are.


This is SERIOUS


If Obama blows this crisis, he should RESIGN IMMEDIATELY.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 29, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

One has to question the loyalty of Obama - WHOSE side is Obama on?


Is Obama on the American People's side 100% ???


OR is Obama willing to allow the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt - because Obama has his own personal views - SEPARATE FROM THE NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.


Seriosly folks - we are in uncharted waters here. A crisis in a Muslim county, our President might be a SECRET MUSLIM - and we do not know where his loyalties are.


This is SERIOUS


If Obama blows this crisis, he should RESIGN IMMEDIATELY.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 29, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Rain,unlike some others here,I'm willing to take you seriously,so I have some questions/comments for you. We'll see if you are capable of taking me seriously.You need to understand that I'm on my side,not yours.
(1)One has to question the loyalty of Obama - WHOSE side is Obama on?
(1)Like all men who seek power,he is on his own side first and foremost. If I ask you whose side you are on,I assure you that you are not on my side. Like Obama,you are own your own side,first and foremost.
(2)Is Obama on the American People's side 100% ???
(2)The American People's "side" is a legal fiction. The is no such thing as the American People/Volk. We are 300M individuals.
(3)OR is Obama willing to allow the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt - because Obama has his own personal views - SEPARATE FROM THE NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
(3)The answer is yes because we have squandered our military capability in a non-productive way from 2003-2011,so when we might really need to intervene like now,it would be very difficult for Obama to make a case that would connect politically to send ground troops to Egypt.
(4) Seriosly folks - we are in uncharted waters here. A crisis in a Muslim county, our President might be a SECRET MUSLIM
(4)If he is,only two people know for a fact. "Might" is a very vague word.
(5)If Obama blows this crisis
(5)If that happens,Congress must share the blame

Posted by: rcaruth | January 29, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Paul Ryan's speech was much more effective and will be more memorable over the long term. Not because of that speech by itself but because it's one in a string of consistent messages on fiscal responsibility that he has been laying down. That string will be clearly seen in hindsight 2012 (if he's Presidential or VP material) or beyond.

Posted by: DrBerkeley | January 29, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The most important moment in either speech was President Obama's embrace of American exceptionalism. As night follows day, if he sticks with this theme, he will embrace free enterprise and a strong defense. All else is noise.

Posted by: gilliesproust | January 29, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Paul Ryan by a wide margin. Listening to President Obama's tentative embrace of the language of American Exceptionalism, I was reminded of a quote from Mark Twain. When his wife repeated back to him a barrage of swearing he had just uttered to cure him of the habit, Twain is reputed to have said: 'Oh Livy, you know the words, but you don't know the tune." Obama attempted to give a Reaganesque speech, he spoke of Americans doing big things, but he failed to inspire. Paul Ryan lacked all the trappings of the State of the Union address, the grand stage with a live and receptive audience. But he had one thing going for him that Obama did not: He believed in what he was saying. Ryan truly believes in an American Exceptionalism rooted in our founding values and based upon the concept of limited, effective government. The election in 2012 will be a referendum whether Americans can still distinguish between an authentic expression of the values that have made this an exceptional nation and one that merely pays lip service to them.

Posted by: jamosslaw | January 30, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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