From Jon Chait, who is singlehandedly trying to put all of us other bloggers out of business, on the clunkiness of some of Obama’s lines tonight:
When he declared, “health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo,” I wondered if his budget freeze had already claimed the entire White House speechwriting staff.
I would have tweeted this instead of blogging it, but it was longer than 140 characters. And this from Democracy in America:
This is a much looser SOTU than I got used to under George Bush–much more house of commons–applause is shorter, but more frequent, jeers are obvious, Mr Obama is anticipating it and working off Republican hostility like a stage comic with hecklers.
This is true, and it’s something I didn’t really mention in my liveblogging of the speech. Obama was dead serious most of the time, but he also seemed loose and engaging, at times even sparring good-naturedly with the Republican side of the aisle. My guess is that this is a combination that works pretty well. At the very least, he didn’t seem freighted down with the burdens of office, and that’s an accomplishment all on its own given the events of the past couple of weeks.