Streams

SOTU Reaction

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former senior advisor to the McCain 2008 campaign, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, offer their reactions to last night's State of the Union address.

Do you feel better about what the president has done on the economy, so far? Comment below!

Guests:

Melissa Harris-Perry and Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Comments [84]

DAT573 from Nathan Straus Projects

The Republicans have gone out of their way
to attack Obama.

At this point, I don't think there is anything
that Obama can do to have the Republicans,
not see him as an enemy.

For the Republicans to attack Health Care
Reform, in the way they have, just shows that
they do not have the welfare of most Americans
at heart.

I think that Health Care Reform, is being used
against in Obama, in an effort to destroy
Obama.

I think Obama, is an honest, decent man.

As much as any president can be those
things, given what we do around the world.

I wonder why some of the mainstream media
is so intent on cutting Obama's popularity.

Jan. 28 2010 07:47 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Broklyn

Hello, Brian, The President's speech sounded good. I have a question: When will I get health insurance? I am unemployed. When I lived in San Francisco years ago I had Kaiser. I really liked Kaiser. Now I have nothing. Will the President help me if I get sick? Thank you. Eugenia Renskoff

Jan. 28 2010 03:18 PM
Giuseppe Castellacci from Manhattan

Unlike most if not all the SOTU's of the lost decade, in this address extraordinary Americans were mentioned, but not by name. Some may have been present among the guests. As far as I remember, the only specific persons who figured in the speech were the first lady and the vice president. Naming and honoring citizens present in the guests' balcony and spurring the ritual round of applause was a favorite of G. W. Bush's. I wonder what Obama's choice of anonymity signifies. Perhaps, it fits in his "one America" philosophy?

Jan. 28 2010 12:52 PM
hjs from 11211

77] Ed from Larchmont,
and what of elections. when the people vote in leaders and representatives should the opposition just get in the way until the next election? is the moral?

Jan. 28 2010 11:51 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

I worry that those on the left have the unfortunate habit of internalizing the messages from those in the conservative opposition, like your guest, Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

Why in the world would liberal progressive democrats allow those who have fundamental disagreements in worldview, economic policy, and domestic and foreign policy, frame the debate by stating the observably false platitude, "America is a center-right country."

But that is apparently what has happened. While following this logically does explain quite a lot in terms of diagnozing the problems with recent politics, (health care, economic policy, etc...) but it begs the question, who are these Democrats and why did we elect them? It's a peculiar type of localized political insanity, perhaps progressive Stockholm Syndrome?

Jan. 28 2010 11:39 AM
David Zarko from Scranton, PA

This what the President said:
"That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development."
This reads differently to me than "the president called for offshore drilling and nuclear energy" as you've been saying, Brian. I know, it's a easier way of quoting it, but Obama seems to me to be saying that we need to re-examine and redesign these option, not go back to relying on them. But maybe that's just me.

Jan. 28 2010 11:26 AM
Dan from Brooklyn

Prior to the election in Massachusetts I supported the president's attempts at bipartisan support. I no longer feel that way. I believe that Massachusetts was lost because the president had ceded the national dialogue to Republican opposition. With this speech he has now taken the first step in reclaiming that dialogue and I support this fully.

Jan. 28 2010 11:22 AM
Ed from Larchmont, NY

The Republicans don't want President Obama to fail for no reason: they disagree fundamentally with his program. So, they feel it's their obligation to try to block it as best they can, and to offer other solutions.

Jan. 28 2010 11:08 AM
Andrea from Westchester County

Obama never really supported the democrats when they begged him to use his position to push health care reform.

Now, he's asking them to put themselves out on a limb and vote for spending cuts.

It's no wonder they're not rushing to support him.

Jan. 28 2010 11:04 AM
April Wolff from Upper West Side

I was happy to hear the president call out Democrats on as he said "heading for the hills". I've been wondering for months why there's a mass exodus from Washington. Retirements for various purported reasons, decisions not to run, Bo Biden comes to mind. Not to mention Harold Washington deciding to run against Gilbrand - not one of my favorites, but we need a Democrat. Those who do stay and impede Obama's agenda, even after watering it down, are as irresponsible. On the other hand, if he has decided to be a one term president, why not be a great one: raise taxes on the wealthy and cut the defense budget!

Jan. 28 2010 10:57 AM
Elaine from Long Island

I completely agree with Liam from Elmhurst. The speech was very disappointing in tone and content. It was the classic definition of insanity applying the same tactics over and over and expecting a different result. I didn't want to hear an ispirational campaign speech about us being a nation of immigrants...blah blah blah. I wanted specifics about what and who created the toxic assests, what is going on in the financial community right now, how many people stand on line and are turned away at Remote Medical care facilities, how we compare in health services with other nations-use a colorful 3D video game to illustrate these things if that is what it takes to get this country's attention. The glasses would be worth the expense.

Jan. 28 2010 10:52 AM
Fatima Zahara from Union City

Micheal from...- Right on! Give Obama time people, give him time.

Jan. 28 2010 10:52 AM
Adam from Brooklyn

Dear Brian,

To expand on one of your last commentators view of "President Obama needs to fight" - I believe he needs to take the lead in legislating. By continuing to hand over the reins to Congress - mainly Sen. Reid and Speaker Polosi to shape and lead the fight on issues the President wants done is a problem. The President needs to start leading the legislative process from the White House. LBJ is a great example of this - by leading the process and the debate he was able to have a 98% batting average of passing his legislation through Congress.

Jan. 28 2010 10:49 AM
Jay from Norwalk, CT

I absolutely feel better after listening to the presidents address. I was starting to feel as though the Democrats agenda was being lost because of all the politics around spending and health care and the loss in MA. The speech reoriented me and reassured me about his goals. I was especially glad when we began to point out the the republican need to participate. The media has not held the Republicans responsible for not participating and being strictly partisan.

Jan. 28 2010 10:48 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Thanks HJS...John, I agree the republican response was calculated, they sure know how to turn me off.

The President's agenda is a 4 year plan guys!

Jan. 28 2010 10:46 AM
Julia from Brooklyn, NY

The greedy will always ignore the those they feel they are above and those they choose to ignore. Humans are flawed. We're not very humane. Suddenly Socialism doens't seem so bad. You've got people's jobs outsourced and where most are unemployed while others are getting bailouts and bonuses. The rich feels they're entitled and self righteous.

In respect to the rest of the world we still don't know what suffering is. You've got people forced into prositution for survival and limbs being bulldosed in Haiti along with the rubble. Survivors will never feel a sense of closure.

What needs to happen is the rich needs a pay cut. Tell me how many politicians, lawyers or CEO's will forfeit a raise? Probably none. The rich are greedy. They think of themselves and not the greater good. Success comes from a team effort. The mass is always greater than an individual. The best leader are those that can guide, motivate the masses and think of the country's and its people's best interest as a whole and not certain groups.

Jan. 28 2010 10:45 AM
yourgo from astoria

YES!!!

The Republicans brought us to the brink of depression. Why do some Americans think their policies will get us out.

Obama reminded me of the HOPE of America yesterday. He is a great leader.

Jan. 28 2010 10:44 AM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

America became prosperous after WWI, when the Europeans destroyed each other. We went into the roaring '20s followed by a Great Depression followed by WWII, wherein we helped to destroy our European and Japanese competitors by aerial bombardment - after which we had no real competition with 40 years of unparalleled prosperity, followed by 20 years of unparalleled borrowing. And today we are back in depression again.

So the true answer is, that we need to have another world war where we destroy the Chinese, INdian, European and Japanese economies and hopefully emerge again as the only intact economy. Then we'll be on top of the heap of rubble yet again :)

Jan. 28 2010 10:44 AM
Rebecca from New Haven

In regards to the lady on the line from Connecticut - those senators Brian asked about, including Lieberman, need to be looked at on a case-to-case basis. Lieberman is a cad who doesn't stand for anyone in this state - he's given us an awful name and it was already not great to begin with.

Anyway, Obama needs to call out the Republicans like he did in last night's speech on a regular basis. A lot of people who only watch Fox News are under a lot of misconceptions about their government, and if Obama actually tried to set the record straight instead of...I don't know, not really doing anything or just saying we need to work on bipartisanship, then he wouldn't have to show up a year later at the next SOTU and have to defend the things he's accomplished. We should already know. I don't think I miss a thing the last president did, although all it did was cause me to lose sleep.

Jan. 28 2010 10:44 AM
Chriss from NJ

(Still waiting for proof of his being a conlaw "scholar").

And for the caller to say this is about race is curious: how does America go from ELECTING a black man, to now being a racist because some oppose his views?

Perhaps, just perhaps, some folks don't agree with him.

To call them a racist is inappropriate and reductive.

Jan. 28 2010 10:43 AM
Steve S. from Washington Heights

Maybe the Democrats should take a page from the Republican playbook: when the Republicans were in the majority during the Bush Presidency, they still managed to act like an embattled, persecuted minority. Now, they claim America is really a "center-right" country. The Dems shouldn't be so disingenuous, but they're certainly being treated like a persecuted minority, so they might as well develop the pluck that any persecuted group needs to challenge the banal evils of the status quo.

Jan. 28 2010 10:43 AM
Andrea from Westchester County

Why are expectations so high? Because of Obama's promises. He, alone, is responsible for raising expectations to an unreasonable level.

Jan. 28 2010 10:41 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

You want see government spending go down and reduce taxes? How about not feeding the monster called the Pentagon. How about not getting involved in global military adventurism. How about not having 750 plus military bases though out the world.
Today we have a new enemy, they say, Al Qaeda a rag tag band of criminals. To bring this gang to justice America has to spend trillions on the military which at the end of the day will bring in marginal results.
With this logic why not use the air force to bomb Howard Beach, a well know mafia hide out.
If the Americans buy all of this crap then they deserve national bankruptcy and mass poverty like a third country.
No, we cannot afford precious lives and money being thrown away so a few military contractors can enrich themselves.

Jan. 28 2010 10:41 AM
John Celardo from Fanwood, NJ

I watched the speech with my wife, a professor. Half way through, turned to her and said this is a seminar. I laid out his premise, then proved his points. Great speech in my opinion. I liked the humor too.

The Republican response was a staged and weak as Bobby Jindal’s last year. A short time governor in a state house with an invited audience. Come on!

Jan. 28 2010 10:40 AM
Andrea from Westchester County

Admonishing the Supreme Court was arrogant.

Plus, it sounds like, technically, Obama was wrong. Not great for a constitutional scholar.

Jan. 28 2010 10:39 AM
Anthony Lang from NY

Great state of the union speech, President Obama's job rating is at a 8 out of 10 in my book. I agree that the two party system normally creates a good check and balance but there needs to be some adjustments to rebalance the current senate rules from the 60 vote supermajority crap. Also one legislator should not be able to stop a bill etc.

Jan. 28 2010 10:38 AM
danny from woodbridge

Obama demostrated leadership and responsibility that hadn't been seen in his sophomoric ipredecessor. Like a professor he tried to engage the right side in the discussion despite some recalcitrants' just putting in sit time. I loved it when he slammed the Supreme Court for their rash decision made last week and they appeared chided.

Jan. 28 2010 10:38 AM
Shar in AZ from Arizona

Once again, while interviewing a Republican, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, he is able to express all of the Republican talking points, and Mr. Lehrer, once again, does not question them. With health care we heard about the "government take over of health care" over and over again, today we hear how half of America doesn't pay taxes -- did he mean the wealthy, no he said it was the middle and lower class??? then he said that
last year Mr. Obama should have emphasized the job creation of "small business." That is the Republican talking point, no surprise from someone who worked with the losing candidate. Personally, I have never heard how valid that mantra of small business create most of the jobs, but can't the Republican talking points ever get questioned??

Jan. 28 2010 10:35 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

RE Paulson: Ok let's talk economic truth. How much disaster must your free market thinking bring before it is discredited for you?

I believe in big government, and high taxes for anyone who believes the free market is nature's unifying theory, rather than a sometimes useful way of describing the buying and selling of useless stuff.

Jan. 28 2010 10:34 AM
jenn from Upper East Side

The guest says: "This is a center-right country."
??
Is that why we have 59 democrats in the senate and a similar majority in the house?

Jan. 28 2010 10:33 AM
Melissa from Hoboken

Brian - your job is to hold your guests accountable for their outrageous spinning attempts. How can you let Holtz-Eakin get away with calling tax cuts for poor working families a spending program, while tax cuts for the rich is not?? Or that Obama's running up deficits, when Bush dug the hole we're in now? Smack him a round a little, already!

Jan. 28 2010 10:31 AM
Michael Frank from Clintondale

Holtz-Eakin's agenda is so nakedly biased. Will you PLEASE challenge him on issues this idea that debt creation is entirely evil - his ideas would have left us with 30% unemployment- a Hoover-era catastrophic failure to act in the face of a terrible economic crisis created PRECISELY BY A BUSH-ERA OF TAX CUTTING/REG CUTTING.

Jan. 28 2010 10:31 AM
Paul from New York

How do we deal with the challenges the world faces, including climate change? It seems to me that in each debate, as we face each challenge, members of Congress can fall into one of two groups.

These groups cut across traditional party lines. One group wants to move forward now, building now with what we have, using concrete, data-fueled plans. The other concentrates on tearing down without alternative, wants to talk about the challenges later and has no data to support their commentary, particularly at the time they give it, or their positions as presented.

These groups have a fluid membership. At any one time any member of Congress can belong to either group; that is, with a particular action a member of Congress may act as a member of the buildnow group or its opposite. Recognizing that these two groups exist will take us forward, in my opinion.

Jan. 28 2010 10:30 AM
Daniel W. from Brooklyn

Brian: Do not let Mr. Holtz-Eakin off the air without asking how President Bush 43's tax cuts with increased spending differ from what he accuses Obama of. (And please, put up with no Laffer-curve supply-side ridiculousness; Bush's policies took us from surplus to enormous deficits.)

Jan. 28 2010 10:29 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

How is it that Obama critics have crystal balls? They don't disagree with what Obama has done per se. They project ramifications of his actions and inevitable predict disaster, or they claim he will go back on his promises leading to disaster. How is it that they know the future so clearly? I predict your guest continues to look into the future.

Jan. 28 2010 10:29 AM
Barbara from Yonkers

Brian,

Have you mentioned his dressing down of the Supreme Court for their bizarre decision last week allowing corporations to run amok with campaign contributions?

Thanks.

Jan. 28 2010 10:29 AM
Ebun from Fort greene

This is the same guy that advised McCain when he said the fundamentals of our economy is sound, common!!

Jan. 28 2010 10:28 AM
Paulson from Wall Street

Let’s acknowledge an economic truth:
a president of has no ‘control’ and little affect on the $14 trillion U.S. economy.
To pretend that he does is false and misleading. The best thing a president can do is advocate lower taxes, reduce regulations, promote optimism, downsize government – and get out of the way.
So far Obama fails on all of these economic support tasks.

Jan. 28 2010 10:27 AM
Bruce from Queens

DHE just commented on how little many Americans pay in taxes.

Please ask Mr. DHE about the equity/parity in Goldman Sachs paying 0.6% in taxes in 2008.

Thanks. Great show as always.

Bruce

Jan. 28 2010 10:27 AM
Sylvie Slater from Scotch Plains, NJ

He was in a fighting mood and I loved it.
Republicans have done nothing to earn their salary and health care coverage that tax payers are paying for by voting no on every bill.

They have never behaved like this before with other presidents, is this racism? Why has the media allowed them to get away with this?
Hey guys do your jobs, be fair, you jump on Obama for every little thing.
I felt good after the speech.

Jan. 28 2010 10:27 AM
Nate from Manhattan

Brian, you said "And here is what the President had to say on health care. The Republicans hope it will be his Waterloo."

Again, by focusing on the political squabbling and power grabbing as much as you do (which is what both parties want everyone to do), you are ignoring what citizens want. And making the politics more important than actually getting something done for the populace.

What would be more appropriate would be saying something like "The president and both parties are using health care as a political power issue while at the same time accepting the support of lobbyists and corporations and leaving Main Street worse off."

Jan. 28 2010 10:27 AM
DJ from kensington

as a brand new homeowner in Brooklyn, I don't feel I was "bribed" in Eakin's words to make my recent home purchase. We could not have done it w/out the $8000 homebuyer's credit. It was intended to help stimulate the economy, and that's exactly what it did in our case. Now we're using part of it to hire a contractor for renovations...

Jan. 28 2010 10:26 AM
Patrick from New Jersey

Holtz-Eakin: Obama INTENDS to raise taxes.

OK. He hasn't yet, but he WANTS to. Pleeeease!

Jan. 28 2010 10:26 AM
hjs from 11211

congrats truth, good point about compromise also.

Jan. 28 2010 10:26 AM
Chriss from NJ

By Obama's logic, he cut taxes on those buying new cars through the Cash for Clunkers program.

Jan. 28 2010 10:25 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Please don't say "zero taxes" when you mean "zero income taxes." There are other taxes that low-income people do get hit hard with.

Jan. 28 2010 10:25 AM
Cynthia from long island

No. What's changed? Unemployment is still way up. Tax cuts are minor. A ridicuous amount of time and energy has been spent on healthcare when people don't have jobs and losing their homes! How are jobs being created???

Jan. 28 2010 10:24 AM
bvc from Trenton, NJ

I believe in him from the beginning and I KNOW that he only inherited problems. Therefore, I have been patient and hope that Democrats and Republicans will agree on the Health Care plan so that they can move to the things that concern me the most. My family is suffering the economic crisis, I owe a lot of money to my University, and I am not sure if I will get a job when I am done, BUT if Obama moves to the next things on the agenda, then I might see these problems go away. I believed, believe and will believe that Obama can lead our great nation to a better state.

Jan. 28 2010 10:23 AM
Ted from Bergen Count, NJ

Did the President ever scorn the Supreme Court in his SOTU speech? For me this was the high moment. Watching the Democrats standing and applauding the President and Republican sitting down was very telling.

Jan. 28 2010 10:22 AM
Louis from NYC

Remember the first thing that the Clintons worked on after they failed at Health Care reform...... Gays in the military. Funny isn't it.

Jan. 28 2010 10:21 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I wish both the Dems and Repubs would get serious about health care reform. It turned into "health insurance reform" sometime in mid 2009. Not many people seem to be interested in finding the roots of the problem and working on it. Instead it is fun to bash the insurance companies if you are a Dem and fun to bash the government if you are a Repub. It's hopeless.

Jan. 28 2010 10:20 AM
J.C. from Minneapolis

Re: Comment #8.

"Instead of the laundry list of proposals he presented": So, you don't like people having opinions? If you don't like people proposing anything, how do you expect us to ever solve problems?

The fact is, whether you like it or not, the two parties have big and fundamental disagreements on policy. There is practically no common ground at all, so I don't know why people keep thinking there is. This idea of bipartisanship at all costs is absurd. Are Democrats supposed to just back down whenever Republicans scream (remember that Rs are screaming at everything these days)?

The Republicans realized this when Bush was in office and they controlled Congress. I despised their proposals, but I do respect their realization that having the majority means you get to set policy.

Jan. 28 2010 10:20 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Ok back to the truth, I wish the race thingy would go away already! I need my healthcare premiums lowered and other Americans need jobs! NOW

Jan. 28 2010 10:19 AM
David Zarko from Scranton, PA

I've felt good all year about what the administration has done regards the economy. I understand the frustration with lingering recession, we had become so addicted to hype and speed and easy money. But it was thirty or more years getting us into this mess, we can't realistically expect to be out of in two. I appreciate the president's willingness to do what is necessary over a choice to do what is ideologically pleasant, easy to understand or popular.

Jan. 28 2010 10:19 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

In the past, Brian Lehrer has said he likes Chris Matthews. What does Mr. Lehrer think of the revolting, racist idiocy of Matthews on Obama?

Jan. 28 2010 10:19 AM
Nina from East Village

Yes, I felt better about what the government and the president have done about the economy so far--I felt reassured and even excited again about the president himself (I kept thinking of Cornell West's recent video message to him, challenging him to take charge--he did that, for sure, last night). It was a very strong, skillful speech, and just in time--but the real message I got was that WE have to remain active and put pressure on every major institution that concerns us, on every congressional member, justice, media center . . . because, really, he can't do it alone. FDR had riots to point to in order to usher his programs through . . .

Jan. 28 2010 10:18 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Thanks for the shout out Brian.LOL

Love, Debra

Jan. 28 2010 10:18 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Patrick, I PRAY that you are correct. For all our sakes. What I see right now, just look at all the sentient comments above, just is not what America needs-we need brass ones!

Jan. 28 2010 10:18 AM
Judith from Brooklyn

What the President didn't do was remind us that the Republicans grew government during their tenure and that their economic policies got us into the current recession/depression.

What the Republicans didn't do was explain how letting people buy insurance across state lines and capping lawsuit damages would get more people covered and stop insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions, and they also didn't tell us exactly what government programs they would terminate in order to shrink government.

Jan. 28 2010 10:18 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Advocates of single-payer have repeatedly offered a VASTLY superior solution to the health care crisis in the US. Obama has repeatedly and pointedly ignored us.

Jan. 28 2010 10:17 AM
Patrick from New Jersey

I am re-inspired and reminded of why I voted for Obama. He displayed dignity and lucid vision, wit and wisdom. And, finally, he showed that, in 2010, the gloves will come off.

Jan. 28 2010 10:16 AM
Richard Poole from Summit, NJ

while well presented with charm did not clearly define direction. Headlines this morning seem to play to that Politico "Groping", Obama's Answer: More of the Same - Jonah Goldberg, New York Post
A Dull, Cheap, Successful Speech - Jonathan Chait, The New Republic

too many topics too long
seemed to continue push on health care
not sure if he going "small ball" like Clinton, retreating like Carter
no mention of sharing credit with GOP to reduce partisanship

Jan. 28 2010 10:15 AM
GOP WANNABE from

Obama challenged the Republicans to "do any better."

I hope the Republicans are mature enough to take him up on this challenge.

Jan. 28 2010 10:14 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Does anyone remember an effective Democratic leader named Lyndon Johnson? I don't want endless compromise-when you have reins, you drive the horse! Nonsense!

Jan. 28 2010 10:14 AM
Naomi Lipman from Scarsdale, NY

I was struck by the frequency of applause interruptions--way more than usual? or not?
AND I noted that all the little anecdotes about ordinary Americans were anonymous--no names, please. I liked that.
AND he didn't identify the folks sitting with Michelle in the gallery. I wonder if they liked being anonymonus until this morning's papers, but I did.

Jan. 28 2010 10:14 AM
JG from NYC

Federal loan forgiveness already exists.

Income Based Repayment - forgiveness after 25 years!

Public Service Loan Forgiveness - forgiveness after 10 years!

Both implemented 7/1/09. Signed into law by Bush in 2007.

Jan. 28 2010 10:14 AM
Anon from Staten Island

One moment that elicited a verbal cheer from me was his admonition of the Supreme Court decision RE corporate campaign behavior. But: Were Justices Scalia and Thomas absent? I did not see them among the others. Sadly, they are among those who most need the adminition.

Jan. 28 2010 10:13 AM
Christopher Bride from Upper West Side, NYC

I was stunned at the depth of bipartisanship exhibited by our government. When the GOP remained seated after Obama's remarks about the bank bailout, I felt a disdain for republicans I have never felt in my life. But, they stood when he mentioned "oil". Simply amazing. Amazingly disgusting.

Jan. 28 2010 10:13 AM
Nick from NYC

As far as how Obama has done on the economy so far - I'd feel a lot better if I thought that there has been action to fundamentally change oversight and regulation of all of these shady and risky practices.

But, it seems to me that there's been a lot of talk and very little action. It seems like big finance, big pharma, and their ilk are still calling the shots with this administration.

Very disappointing, and, sad for the future of our country. And, the needed changes will *never* come about by waiting for Republicans to play nice.

Will Dems never learn to have some backbone?

Jan. 28 2010 10:13 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Why would a _speech_ change my opinion about what has already happened (or more importantly, _not_ happened).

Obama proved -- again -- that he can talk the talk, that he can sound good when working from a script. He has been terrible on walking the walk.

He has utterly failed to hold Wall Street, health insurers or Bush war criminals accountable.

He has largely failed to address the economic needs of The People. He is blowing up the war in Afghanistan. The Washington Post has reported that he has authorized the murder ("extrajudicial killing") of a specific list of American citizens.

And why is Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the Lehrer Show at all? All she does is give us the same that the Beltway windbags do -- repetition of what was already said.

Jan. 28 2010 10:13 AM
Adrian from Upper East Side

Why should anyone "feel" better about the economy because of this speech? One speech does not change the facts on the ground. And those facts show that Obama is a right of center corporatist, in the same mold as Bill Clinton, not a force for breaking the financial industry's stranglehold on the US economy.

Jan. 28 2010 10:13 AM
JT from Long Island

It was interesting how the republicans worked really hard to just sit there. I know the opposition usually does this during any SOTU but this seemed different. They really want Obama to fail and never want to be seen agreeing in any way. It's very childish.

Jan. 28 2010 10:12 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

For those who continue to call him weak, you do not recognize the art of compromise.

Jan. 28 2010 10:11 AM
Eli from Cleveland OH

Now that Obama's party doesn't hold the majority anymore he gets to say that a party pushing it's agenda isn't called leadership?

Jan. 28 2010 10:10 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

To ask if you feel better is to imply that you did not feel good before so I will say again - I think the President did a great job last year!

Jan. 28 2010 10:10 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Mr. Obama is a weak leader thus far. We see why if an historic election is perhaps less better than a more effective leader as might Hillary Clinton have been. He jokes too much (sign of a weak leader). He cajoles - he mildly chides.
Well, give him more time-what choice have we?
It shows what the Internet can do-elect for the wrong reasons.

Jan. 28 2010 10:06 AM
John from New York

Mr. Obama declaimed the partisanship of Washington politics but did not elevate himself from the political fray. He did not inspire the American people rally with him in support of bipartisanship. By recalling the challenges of his first days in office, or the excessive spending over the last eight years he attempts to elevate his stewardship and criticize Mr. Bush. This only irritates the right adds fuel to the fire. And the address seems more political and self serving as a result.

I would have like to hear Mr. Obama express more elevated rhetoric. Instead of the laundry list of proposals he presented I would have like to heard Mr.Obama express basic shared ideals and principals so to inspire a community spirit to resolve differences and take united action.

Jan. 28 2010 09:46 AM
hjs from 11211

among other thoughts I had was the spending cut might be a great way to cut programs like corn subsidies as well as other subsidies the northeast pays to support the unsustainable parts of the country; the southern, plains and mountain states.

ps when is the internet feed going to be working again? the wnyc website always has some problem...

Jan. 28 2010 09:42 AM
JMD from Manhattan

I would have preferred he, The President, step to podium and ask the assemblege to refrain from what has become the sophomoric need to applaud following each reference to their particular interest. Less "theatre" and more "substance" would be the order of the evening, and that change alone, would convey the seriouness of the times.
I don't recall a President taking to task a "seated before him" Supreme Court for a decision for which he disagreed. Bravo!
He appears to have learned the lesson that Bill Clinton learned only following a disastrous mid-term election.
The onus now is on the Republicans!!

Jan. 28 2010 09:25 AM
sanych from NJ

Jobs are not coming back until the industry is back and offshoring and importation of cheap labor are not stopped.

Obama's speech reminded me of an old Brezhnev joke. Here is a new version:

Obama is delivering a SOTU. "Education, jobs, high speed train ..." Suddenly a question from the audience - "why do we need a high speed train?" Obama is startled for a moment, then responds - "Well, let's say you live in Michigan. And you can only find a job in New York, but it doesn't pay enough for your family to live there. So, you can use the train to commute."

Next year SOTU spoiler - Obama will announce transcontinental ballistic plane project - all jobs will be in India and China....

Jan. 28 2010 09:17 AM
desdemona finch from brooklyn, ny


First things first. It's the State of the Union not SOTU. It's an historic address. New technology has dumbed down language enough. Don't make it into an acronym unless you want to be known as TBLS or refer to our president as POTUS Barrack Obama.

I "watched" the STATE OF THE UNION via the tweets of MSNBC's Chuck Todd before reading the transcript and watching it on YouTube. Interesting.

Jan. 28 2010 09:04 AM
seth

Obama's SOTU speech was OK, but I have no confidence in his ability to succeed because the Dems in the Senate are the most gutless and cowardly politicians this nation has ever produced. Republican senators simply have to say boo and Dem senators will retreat into a fetal position.

Jan. 28 2010 02:58 AM
Fabio Carasi from Montclair NJ

Thank you, Brian, for taking my comment yesterday. I don't expect the same treatment today. Anyway, here it is:

Last year I would have said: "I can't wait. Tell me what I can do to help." This year I am saying: "Show me the money."

Jan. 28 2010 01:13 AM
citizen from U.S.A.

Let us remain respectful, civil, and try to decrease the amount of struggle that we do collectively experience. As hardworking that our population is, there are human beings living in conditions the word poor does not scratch the surface of description for a list of reasons longer than greed's Christmas list.
This could just be part of the way things works but with small steps relative to the changes over two-hundred years, I believe now is the time to do what we can to make the ignored or forgotten a little bit more comfortable.

Now, I believe there is a change to create a rising tide that can try and raise all boats. The waters are treacherous. Each vessel is as unique and vulnerable as the capabilities of crew. America as, a whole, will sail on confidently (and not just because of all our submarines). The President delivered a great speech. I can't agree with everything having not taken the chance to dive into all the topics, but I found the speech delivered honestly and proudly. Time will tell. "America will stand strong."

Jan. 28 2010 12:54 AM

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