His fans liked it. Republicans didn’t it. That’s what I divine from comparing Andrew Sullivan and NRO’s The Corner. But so what. It’s just another speech and another set of humdrum proposals. Results matter, and Obama’s results are abysmal. Further, despite a few rhetorical flourishes–“pass it now!”–it didn’t sound too impressive.
Indeed, I find it a bit of a hectoring tone, and he adopts it often: get out the way and do what I want. This is Mayor Daley talk, the kind of politics one learns in Chicago. In other words, it’s a nonideological power politics, the politics of the street, of ethnic organizing, and of personal charisma. Obama has all these things, but he doesn’t have an understanding of the fears and worries of rural and suburban white people in the South and the West and the Midwest. That is, all those who are conservative, lean Republican, don’t like welfare and Big Government, and are generally unimpressed with his results and his repetitive, interventionist proposals. Repackaging these things, standing tough, saying things in a dictatorial way won’t change that.