My take away - the big themes we expected we're all there. The specifics are already being critiqued as micro management or even "paleo-liberal" proposals by Obama's detractors (and some advocates). I wanted to hear a great deal more on the banking industry.
Anyone who reads my work knows that I would prefer a return to the Eisenhower tax crates... which is why knuckle-draggers call me a Communist. Although the right's class warriors are already sharpening their knives, they have nothing here.
On defense, Obama did as much as any President could to stress that the wars are winding down and we should redirect our resources.
There were no major surprises and the President, much to the detriment of GOP interests, appeared... Presidential. We'll be back later with some reactions and will not be live-blogging the Mitch Daniels response. As I reside in Indiana, just outside Chicago, I hear him altogether too frequently as it is.
9:15pm CST And... the State of the Union is still... anyway...
An extraordinary amount of this speech was very carefully designed to deflate his most conservative national security critics.
"Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history."
There was a heavy dose of American Exceptionalism in there tonight.
9:15pm CST A lot of talk about military power but painfully little about just how many of them are returning less than whole from the theater of war... and boom again; he pivots right to it. Jobs and tax credits for vets. A proposal for a new veteran's jobs corps.
A return to asking congress to follow the example of those in uniform and think of service first. This is rubbing a lot of folks the wrong way, particularly on the right? With all due respect, what the fuck? We value their discipline but should offended by it being used as an exemplar?
9:10pm CST Cautious optimism on the Middle East. Not cautious enough if you ask me. However, Obama's record on Iran, contrary to the GOP's fear factory, has been devastating. They are more isolated than ever before. When he rattles the saber and says all options are on the table to prevent a nuclear armed Iran, everybody cheers. When he suggests there still just might be a peaceful option, nearly total silence.
9:04pm CST He's shaming the congress for the debt-ceiling debacle. GOOD. Ban insider trading by congress. Everyone's clapping but no one looks happy. When he said we should ban elected officials owning stock in companies they can impact legislatively Boehner looked like he was going to have a heart attack. HERE's why
8:57pm CST Pass the payroll tax cut with "no side issues, no drama." I think the GOP is going to be in terrible trouble during the coming weeks. We can either maintain the Bush cuts or we can cut everything we value. He's right.
Endorsing the Buffett rule, Obama says "you can call this class warfare all you want." Don't worry, they will
8:52pm CST Obama is walking a very fine line between blaming the banks and irresponsible buyers. Talk about a tight rope.
Outside of the foolish spilled milk line, this is the best argument in favor of smart regulation we've heard for some time.
8:48pm CST Boehner is actually visibly squirming. Those who are desperate for a tax code with child-like simplicity are probably ready to lose it. The obsession with simplifying the future, so to speak, is absurd. Yes this is going to create new complications. Tough.
8:44pm CST And that is how he pivots to demands for more clean energy. Credits for green, ending subsidies for non-renewables. Tying the DoD to new green energy initiatives is brilliant.
8:41pm CST More than once, Obama has challenged Congress to simply get bills to his desk. WHOA. Major announcement on reopening offshore drilling. Even Paul Ryan was clapping (albeit tepidly). I see some serious blowback from the environmental community although he did address the hazards of "fracking." The fact that publicly funded R&D has made the natural gas boom possible ought to give the Rs pause.
8:36pm CST The chatter on the web is whether Obama was hinting at being "pro SOPA." I didn't hear that.
Addressing higher education, he threatens less federal aid for schools that can't rein in tuition costs.
Comprehensive immigration reform "right now." He's basically renewing the push for the DREAM act.
8:32pm CST Sully says "all this nationalism and protectionism is deeply depressing." Nonsense. The rank abuse by that nation has to be addressed meaningfully. Beutler just tweeted "this speech was written to make Republicans scowl at puppies." Pretty much.
8:28pm CST Here's the tax code. Outsourcing is the big theme. As it should be. Obama is not just talking about fairness, he's talking about restructuring the code to punish off-shoring. Cantor looks constipated.
Moving right along to imports. It's going to be pretty hard to say Obama is anti-business after he says "I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets." Hammering China's rigged trade practices is pure gold.
8:22pm CST Manufacturing right up front. Yes, Obama saved GM.And, yes, they are number one now. This is nothing short of throwing down a gauntlet; Obama basically says he's betting on the American worker so if you're not with him, you're against them.
8:20pm CST This is the speech I expected, so far. Taking on the banks, POTUS says what happened in 2008 was flat out "wrong." Okay, what now? Yeah, the jobs record for the last two years is on par with Bush's whole administration but it's still not good enough.
There's the fire we need. "I will oppose obstruction with action!"
8:15pm CST Pretty smart opening on the Iraq war and its conclusion. Oh yeah, and he got Bin Laden. Pretty much everyone has to applaud that. Interesting framing of domestic issues in the language of military missions. The war is over... time to do some nation building here.
8:10pm CST Here it comes. Boehner looks like he's physically ill.
8:05pm CST Scalia, Thomas and Alito are not in attendance. Perhaps they have a fundraiser to attend.
7:56pm CST The arrival of Gabby Giffords is met with a standing ovation. Probably the last moment of bi-partisan unity we can expect this evening. It was actually quite moving.
7:50pm CST Coming on the heels of last night's GOP debate (live blogged HERE) and the release today of Mitt Romney's tax returns, this is an extraordinary opportunity for the President to contrast himself with the opposition.