10:20 p.m.: Thank you, Mr. President, and good night.
This was clearly the best speech of Obama's presidency, not that there was much to compete against, and probably his best speech since the race speech in Philadelphia, which was nearly two years ago. Watching Rachel Maddow now on MSNBC -- she referred to his "playful feistiness," which I do think is the operative phrase for the night.
But at the end of the day, it's still a speech. In a matter of hours, everyone will probably be back in the trenches and we'll see how politically viable any of these ideas are. It was smart, politically, for Obama to upload all the most populist stuff in the front, when more people are paying attention. Certainly he's hoping the anti-banker stuff will be remembered.
I also think he did a good job dealing with the GOP, calling for bipartisanship a lot but challenging them to support things that Republicans should support -- tax cuts, hello? -- and challenging them to applaud things like...health care. Just watched Chris Matthews going off on the GOP as a party that " sits on his keiser and chuckles in the middle of a recession."
Speaking of Republicans, here is Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell, with a live audience, looking a lot less deadly that the awful Bobby Jindal moment last year. He is hammering the GOP message that is working so well -- anti-deficit, anti-spending, anti-health care. I'd be interested to know where he comes up with his info that America has the best health care in the world.
9:59 p.m.: Sorry for the gap -- believe it or not I was also writing the speech story for the newspaper on deadline. Welcome to newspaper world, 2010. Anyway, I think on the whole Obama is both feistier and looser than he's been his entire presidency, and these are good things. But when we wake up tomorrow he'll still have his "59-vote minority."
To Democrats: "People expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills?" Yup. Gives GOP "responsibility" because of its filibusters -- probably will get grief for that.
It was fascinating to see the lack of applause for the spending freeze and for the bipartisan deficit commission that no one seems to want -- why were these bad and unpopular ideas even in there?
9:43 p.m.: The audacity of...cash? Plans for college tuition tax credits, etc., don't sound the fiscal restraint that was ballyhooed. POTUS gets a good laugh for saying that health care reform wasn't good politics. Man, Michele still looks...not happy.
9:35 p.m. Yes, nukes, and a partial shout out to "drill baby drill." Hard to disagree on the nukes -- risks are greatly outweighed by risks from greehouse gases. Bonus points for direct challenge to climate-change deniers.
9:31 p.m.: "China's out there creating jobs" -- ouch!
Why does ever-nodding Biden remind me of Ed McMahon back there -- waiting for him to say, "You are correct, sir!"
9:24 p.m.: First shout-out to Philly! Somewhere in this town, someone is making windows with stimulus cash. Good for them.
Obama calls for a new jobs bill...good luck with that. He is more combative and looser than he's been in a while -- it's the "No Excuses" tour.
Lots of Tim Geithner reaction shots -- the guy looks dazed and confused. Also, a shout-out to community banks -- Arianna Huffington must be doing handstands right now. No capital gains taxes on small businesses...sounds very Bushian.
9:17 p.m.: Obama says he's "never been more hopeful" than he is now. Good line, but are you feeling it? He said he "hated" the bank bailout, but U-rate might be double. Calls it "the last administration's efforts" -- yup. People still hate it, though.
9:10 p.m. Looks like Obama just bowed to Joe Biden. Why is he always apologizing for America>
And the state of the union is....strong! OK, good nigh...oh, wait, there's more.
9:06 p.m. Breaking news: Obama stuns world with red tie -- why is his wife glaring at him?
Speaking of substance, here's what the president will say on health care:
“By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance,” Obama said. “Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Co-pays will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber.”
OK, but what are you going to do?
8:57 p.m.: I suppose I should blog something about the First Lady's dress -- but hey, I'm not a fashion writer. Looks nice enough.
Luckiest woman tonight is...Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She's more concerned about the state of the union...of Yemen, at a conference she's attending in London/
8:45 p.m.: Keith Olbermann calls on Obama to mimic FDR's famed 1936 speech bashing "economic royalists." I agree! Here's an excerpt from 74 years ago:
These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.
Uh, look...Obama's not going to say that.
8:30 p.m. Cueless pundit Mark Halperin said on MSNBC that Obama’s prepared remarks were more Dukakis, the failed 1988 Democratic hopeful, than Ronald Reagan. Replied “Hardball” host Chris Matthews of the comparison to the former Massachusetts governor” “That’s cruel. That capital punishment. Don’t put him in the tank...literally.”
Hey guys, Dukakis was surely a weak candidate -- but he's a decent fellow who's still around. Don't talk about him like he was a serial killer.
Welcome to Attytood's long-awaited live blogging of President Obama's first State of the Union (really, it just feels like he's already done four or five of these). You know the drill -- pithy and usually inane observations, appearing in reverse order.