Reax to the SOTU

by Vince

I was glad to know the date of the State of the Union at least a week in advance. It gave me so time to mull over what Obama was planning on talking about and hedge out some time to watch it.

The blogosphere is bugging about it so I might as well add my two cents and share some of what I’ve found to be insightful.

The Daily Dish has a nice wrap-up of reactions to the SOTU here. Below are a few that stood out to me.

Drezner on Obama’s five-year spending freeze:

Let’s all keep in mind that budgets are set one year at a time, and they’re mostly set by Congress. The president has a certain amount of agenda-setting power, but that’s about it. Members of Congress will do whatever they want, and next year they’ll once again do whatever they want. If that means spending more money, they’ll spend more money. Obama could announce a hundred-year discretionary spending freeze and it would mean about as much as a five-year freeze. This is more a PR exercise than anything else and should be evaluated on those terms.

Garance Frank-Ruta on the keywords within Obama’s speech (I like this one):

Tonight is about many things, but one of them, perhaps encouraged by the pressures of the 140-character tweet stream, is KEYWORDS. Ones the White House is emphasizing: innovate, educate, build, reform, responsibility. Ones it is not: “climate; gun; abortion(/choice/women’s health); Clinton; Bush; Israel; Egypt; England.”

The topic of gun control does not come up in the speech.

Gregg Easterbrook takes Obama to task about his lack of details pertaining to the here and now:

In the address there was a lot of talk about jobs and innovation, both obviously important: but issues that no president controls. There was talk of better access to high-speed Internet and of regulatory and tax-loophole reform: not one single person opposes either. There was dream-world talk of high-speed rail and energy in the year 2035. But there were precious few specifics regarding what will be done right now to address runaway federal debt. And runaway federal debt, which suggests the U.S. future may be less bright, is a major issue holding the economy back.

And I couldn’t leave out the Republican response, could I? Obama may be playing the long game with job numbers and the economy (amongst many other things within his first two years) but Paul Ryan definitely called him out on the unemployment sticking around 9.6% after the stimulus:

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