SOTU 2013 reactions: The good, the bad and the ugly

  • Published on February 12th, 2013

Well, State of the Union 2013 is one for the history books, and now the post-mortems begin. Did President Obama hit one out of the park, or will he continue to be stuck in gridlock? Let’s take a look at some reactions from around the (green) world…

…..More state of the Union coverage:

The Punditocracy

The chattering classes in Washington gave the speech a thumbs up, from the left and even from the right. Of course, it’s not the environmental or climate change initiatives that they liked, or even deigned to mention – these guys are so wound up about DEFICIT DEFICT OMG DEFICIT it’s amazing they can get their fear-riddled asses out of bed in the morning.

But these yammerers will be filtering everything that comes out of your TV and Internets, and they could have created an atmosphere of  “dead on arrival” or “omg he was all MEAN on the poor GOP” or “what kind of dirty hippie talks about that climate stuff?”. Instead, we get this:

CBS’s Bob Schieffer (via)

“He coined a few phrases in there, talked about the unfinished task before us, sort of reminiscent of what Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address, but all in all I thought this was a much better speech than we heard on his inauguration.”

Andrew Sullivan  @sullydish

People have been talking about Obama’s new swagger. I can see that in this speech, but I don’t see an aggressive partisan attack.

Greg Sargent – Washington Post

Obama laid down a firm set of priorities that he hopes will define his second term. If Obama’s Inaugural rooted the call for a progressive agenda in the country’s past, today’s speech offered a policy-heavy roadmap for a progressive future.

The New York Times

Americans who have become weary of Washington’s endless battles over spending and taxes — and the stagnating economy that stalemate has produced — got a chance to hear about a different path on Tuesday night. President Obama’s message in the State of the Union address was clear: It doesn’t have to be this way.

The country doesn’t have to get bogged down by demands for endless austerity and government contraction…

Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer  (via)

“Important to do, he hit hard and he did it early in his speech when I presume he’d have the largest audience. And the rest is sort an explanation of his political philosophy. It’s a philosophy of solidarity, one citizen helping another.”

Fortune magazine writer Nina Easton 

…Obama “posed himself as someone concerned about the debt,” which is “striking” because a lot of his own Democratic Party members say “deficits don’t matter.” [Funny, since that’s a direct quote from Dick Cheney from back when Republicans controlled all three branches of government and so were happy to spend like drunken sailors holding shotguns…]

Ezra Klein, Washington Post

It’s often the case that candidates are more ambitious than presidents. But Obama’s second term is showing precisely the reverse progression. The speech went much further than Obama’s 2012 Democratic convention speech. There, his address was notable mainly for how modest the policy proposals were. Here, his speech was notable for the sweeping nature of the proposed changes. Obama’s agenda hasn’t been this bold since 2009.

Fox News’ Juan Williams (via)

“His job, I think, was to try to make the argument that he is a reasonable, sensible politician. That he is not part of the intensely polarized partisanship that people around the country just loathe in Washington. So, his thing tonight was if there was a catch phrase I guess for tonight, it would be ‘We can do this.’”

Michael Tomasky, DailyBeast

Then, the ending. The right to vote, and guns. Very powerful stuff. And the Republicans looked like idiots, frankly, sitting there not applauding for that poor 102-year-old woman who waited six hours to vote, not applauding victims of gun violence. They whine that Obama says they’re heartless? Can’t they understand that that’s how they look?

This was the victory of this speech: The things that Obama mentioned that are clearly popular with the American people that the Republicans just sat there like statues ignoring. They are such crybabies every day about what Obama allegedly does to try to make them look bad. They’re doing plenty well at that themselves.

CNN’s instant poll

Fifty-three percent of speech watchers questioned in the poll had a very positive reaction, with 24% saying they had a somewhat positive response and 22% with a negative response.

…According to the new survey, 71% of speech watchers said the president’s policies will move the country in the right direction, with 26% saying Obama’s polices will take the nation in the wrong direction.

…Seven in ten speech watchers said that the president’s gun polices would move the country in the right direction, up nine points from before the start of the address.

The Punditocracy | The Environmentalists | The Progressives (give or take)
The Conservatives | Business Leaders | The Drinking Game

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.