Several liberal commentators, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, criticized President Obama’s State of the Union speech for lacking a clear message.
“We’re going to invest in the future — but we’re also going to freeze domestic spending. So mixed signals — and although there were no numbers, given the further assurance that the freeze won’t affect anything important, this has to mean that the investment plans are small change,” Krugman wrote in the New York Times. “I have no idea what the vision here was. We care about the future! But we don’t want to spend! Meh.”
CNN’s David Gergen, who has advised both Republican and Democratic presidents during his long career, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the speech “wasn’t a serious effort to come to grips with what is a towering problem. He’s holding back. I don’t know why.”
The reliably liberal Washington Post editorial board was similarly underwhelmed. “President Obama entered office promising to be a different kind of politician — one who would speak honestly with the American people about the hard choices they face and would help make those hard calls,” they wrote. “Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address would have been the moment to make good on that promise. He disappointed.” The Post’s Ezra Klein didn’t care for it either, saying that “[T]here weren’t enough specifics to really know where the president is going.”
“[I]t’s hard to say what the president really means when he talks about investment, because we don’t know how much investment he’s proposing that we do — nor where the money will come from,” he continued.