DC Trawler

SOTU bums everybody out

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It’s official: Obama stinks.

Bryan Preston…

This was probably President Obama’s flattest performance.  The mixed seating probably had a lot to do with that — Congress simply didn’t have the usual partisan cues to know when to stand up and when to keep their seats.  There were no memorable lines, and no real policy shifts.  The president seemed bored about half way through it, and as unserious as ever on the foreign policy section.  He said something about salmon, said something else about Sputnik, and something else about something else, with lots of human props and less than riveting anecdotes along the way.

Dave Weigel…

At the halfway point of the speech it was difficult to spot Republicans who could stomach it. Rubio and Franken made a brilliant contrast. Franken, who has been critical of the White House’s messaging and priorities (he hated the tax deal) since arriving in Washington, repeatedly sprung up for ovations. Rubio was expressionless, leaning in his seat a little, unwilling to applaud any of the conservative rhetoric that Obama used to sell his policies. Obama pledged to sign a repeal of a regulatory rule in the health care bill that Republicans despise, “an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.” No reaction from Rubio, little from other Republicans.

And why applaud at any of this?

Jon Ward…

Spin: The White House is talking about the freeze in a way that sounds very similar to “non-defense discretionary spending,” which already is a small percentage of the federal budget. But they are using the term “non-security spending.”

Fact: Non-security spending exempts a few other significant categories of spending. So here’s what the spending freeze doesn’t touch, in addition to defense and entitlements: Veterans Affairs spending. Homeland Security spending. State Department spending.

Trying to compare future levels of “non-security discretionary spending” to the past is almost impossible, because while the White House budget office has tables that show past levels of non-defense discretionary spending going back to 1962, on page 140 of its 362-page “Historical Tables” document, there are no such tables for “non-security discretionary.” It’s a category they basically made up.


If President Obama’s planned “call to unity” and pledge to work on centrist initiatives in his second State of the Union speech don’t have you itching to tune in Tuesday night, don’t feel too bad. Not many of your fellow citizens will watch, and even if they do, they’re unlikely to remember what it was they heard.

Jennifer Rubin…

After the Giffords memorial service, this effort seemed like Obama had phoned it in…

The speech was both undisciplined and boring. But it did remind us that, at heart, Obama is a liberal who wishes to expand, seemingly without limitation, the reach of the federal government. His lack of energy and failure to connect with his audience belied the notion that the old, charismatic orator is back. If the officials in the White House thought this was a helpful speech, they are more isolated from reality than I feared.

Harry Reid…

…blasted President Barack Obama on earmarks in advance of his State of the Union address Tuesday, when he’s expected to call for a ban.

“I think this is an issue that any president would like to have, that takes power away from the legislative branch of government,” said Reid. “I think it’s the wrong thing to do. I don’t think it’s helpful. It’s a lot of pretty talk, but it only gives the president more power. He’s got enough power already.”

Oh, but wait. Everybody actually loved it!

An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers.

According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president’s address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks. Only nine percent disapproved.

91%? Show me a poll where 91% of Americans agree that water is wet. That’s not a poll result, that’s an election return for Saddam Hussein. Why not just make it 192%? 1092%? Then everybody in the real world will see it and start liking Obama and the things he says. Yay, CBS! You saved Obama!

All this poll shows is that the only people who bothered to watch the speech are the people who agree with Obama already. Everybody else has tuned him out. He’s made it clear that if you don’t see things his way, you’re his enemy and it’s okay to lie to you as outrageously as he pleases. And you’ll be excoriated and demonized for failing to fall in line. We’ve had two solid years of that already. Who wants to sit through even more?

Not me.

P.S. Lies, lies, lies, yeah.

P.P.S. If you’re one of the people who thought Michele Bachmann was looking into the “wrong” camera, she wasn’t talking to you anyway.

P.P.P.S. David Axelrod: “Am I looking at the right camera?” He’s just kidding. He can always tell the right one because the lens cracks.

Jim Treacher