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Thu, Jan. 28th, 2010, 01:13 am
Obama's First State of the Union Address: A Great Start for 2010

If you are viewing this entry from Facebook, click "view original post" at bottom of the page to see the poll as it is included on livejournal.

It's late and I won't say much about the State of the Union right now, but my first impression is that I'm pretty pleased with President Obama's performance, and eager to see how it will play out in the polls over the next few weeks. The president sounded conciliatory but tough - a good balance for the public to see, but the president will have to be willing to play hardball with recalcitrant Democrats behind closed doors if he wants to get anything done in 2010. He'll have to completely ignore Republicans and move on without them, which is, ironically, the best way to get them to turn around and cooperate when they see they have suddenly become irrelevant. A good resource for specific themes in this address is Tom Shaller on fivethirtyeight.com.

I think my favorite lines in the whole address were President Obama's chastisement of Congress - he spoke of the Senate in particular, and he did not spare Democrats his frustration, which is good when the American public is similarly frustrated with Democrats. He repeatedly pointed out that the House already passed items on his agenda, but the Senate - where Democratic majorities are stronger - has failed to move on practically anything, which is partially due to Republican obstructionism and more to do with Democrats being hesitant and ineffective.

But President Obama directly addressed Republicans, too, by mentioning that if they are going to use their meager 40 seats in the Senate as some kind of mandate, then they are part of the government too and need to take ownership of the country. By this point Republicans had already heckled the president - condescendingly and, in my opinon, in a way that was not fitting of the event - and needed to be told off. He could have been harsher in those cases, but I think he shamed them in a smooth way, and in any case maybe their rudeness will embolden President Obama into being less concilliatory himself.

I'll be interested to see how the snickering and pouty faces Republicans made through most of the speech play in the media over the next few news cycles - they were so out-of-it that they didn't even stand and clap when President Obama first mentioned cutting the capital gains tax for small businesses, which has been a Republican issue for ages.

Even moreso, I'll be interested to see just how many points President Obama upticks in the polls after this - I expect it to be more than a couple but less than a complete game-changer (I expect to see him around 53 - he'll get back the people who voted for him). I'm very pleased to see him taking ownership of the way the last year has gone and pleased to see exactly how he expresses his view of his mistakes and others'. Here's to hoping the next few weeks are full of action and that a forceful White House can light a fire under congress to do something meaningful in 2010.

Poll #1517636 Obama's First State of the Union Address

Did you watch Obama's first State of the Union Address?

Yes!
11(84.6%)
A substantial portion of it
0(0.0%)
A little bit here and there
1(7.7%)
A few clips on news shows or YouTube
0(0.0%)
No
1(7.7%)

How did your interest in this year's State of the Union relate to your interest in others?

I was much more interested
5(38.5%)
I was a little more interested
6(46.2%)
I had about the same level of interest
0(0.0%)
I was less interested in this one
2(15.4%)
I was much less interested in this one
0(0.0%)

Rhetorically, how did the speech strike you?

I was thrilled and impressed
3(25.0%)
I was pleased, but I'll be watching the polls to see if it worked
6(50.0%)
I'm hot and cold on it
0(0.0%)
It didn't go far enough
2(16.7%)
I'm disappointed
1(8.3%)

How did this year's State of the Union influence your opinion of the President?

I already thought Obama was awesome, and I'm thrilled with the speech!
3(27.3%)
I was getting lukewarm on Obama, and he reminded me why I liked him
5(45.5%)
I was always lukewarm on Obama, but I warmed up top him after the speech
0(0.0%)
I like Obama, but I was disappointed with the speech
1(9.1%)
I am skeptical of Obama, but his speech was okay
0(0.0%)
I'm skeptical of Obama, and the speech didn't change anything
2(18.2%)
I dislike Obama, but less now
0(0.0%)
I dislike Obama as much as ever
0(0.0%)

In terms of substance, how do Obama's plans for 2010 strike you after the speech?

Way too far to the Left
0(0.0%)
Too far to the Left, but as good as can be expected from a Democratic president
1(8.3%)
It struck a perfect balance
5(41.7%)
Farther to the Right than I am, but I understand how compromise is necessary in this climate
4(33.3%)
Too far to the Right - I'm disappointed
1(8.3%)
The president's agenda is a mixed bag for me
1(8.3%)

How did President Obama's comments towards the Democrats in congress strike you?

He was soft
4(33.3%)
About right
8(66.7%)
He was too hard on them
0(0.0%)

How did President Obama's comments towards the Republicans strike you?

He was soft
4(33.3%)
About right
8(66.7%)
He was too hard on them
0(0.0%)

When you watch or read about Obama's State of the Union, which perspectives do you take? (select the ones that dominate your view)

I listen to his policies in light of whether I agree or disagree
1(9.1%)
I think about how the speech will affect popularity ratings and future elections
0(0.0%)
I think about how the speech will influence the cooperation of Democrats in congress over the next few months
0(0.0%)
I think about how the speech will influence the cooperation of Republicans in congress over the next few months
0(0.0%)
I think about how the speech will be recorded in history
1(9.1%)

Tell me something you would change about the speech

Last question: What did you think of the Republican response?

I didn't see any of it
3(27.3%)
It was great and I agree with it
0(0.0%)
I disagree with the message but I fear it will be effective
2(18.2%)
I agree with the content, but I don't think it will be effective
0(0.0%)
It was boring and looked staged
6(54.5%)

Thu, Jan. 28th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
477150n

I was feeling really upset about the democrats for whining so much about losing in Mass. so I was really happy that Obama called them out specifically on it, and talked so much about actual leadership. I'm so sick of leadership that doesn't lead. Hopefully the Dems will grow a spine.

Thu, Jan. 28th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
music_stops

I wasn't necessarily more interested in this address, but it was fun to be able to watch a State of the Union without becoming inhumanly angry.

As for the "How did this year's State of the Union influence your opinion of the President?" question, I picked the "Obama is the awesomest" answer, but it's sort of a cross between that and the next answer. I do think Obama is awesome, but I've always been skeptical of his ability to do everything he said he would do, for two reasons. First, he's not aggressive enough to just completely bypass Congress (or lie to them) Bush-style, and Congress is sort of conservative right now, and second, Bush left this country so fucked up and that's hard to deal with. So I guess the most accurate answer is that I was disappointed by 2009, but the address made me more optimistic (albeit cautiously) about 2010.

Sat, Jan. 30th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC)
firemaplesong

Firefox uberfailed after I did the poll.

I liked the speech a lot, and I am still hopeful, but not expecting much beyond Republicans doing nothing and saying everything's wrong.
All the people that think the president is the only one who's supposed to fix all that ails us...

I want something done, too. Congress should get involved.