NSOTU Thougths

Some of you may have read me live-twittering, others perhaps not, but here were my basic thoughts:

TONE: I like how it started out sober and built towards a more positive conclusion. Brief moments of levity were a nice touch. I expect this will continue the trend of appearing to work in a bipartisan fashion while pursuing a (mandated) liberal agenda.


  • The bank plan seemed no clearer to me than it has been as articulated previously (it seemed to explain how it was going to work, not why it was going to work). On the other hand, Obama delivered the plan with a certain amount of force that should quell the talking heads — an important step. Note that the word “nationalize” (or form thereof) was not used.
  • I was surprised Obama asked directly for a cap and trade plan. Of all his agenda items, this seems the most ambitious politically.
  • I was quite pleased Obama explicitly framed fixing Medicare & Medicaid as a broader health care problem and basically brushed aside Social Security reform.
  • I’m not sure of the details of the housing plan, but it was important politically to argue clearly the plan won’t bail out those who were irresponsible (it remains to be seen if this is the case…on a side note, I’m not entirely sure whether it matters as a practical policy question, but it’s obviously a politically charged one, a la Santelli).
  • The halving of the deficit by 2012 seems ambitious and politically risky. I’m assuming Orzsag knows something I don’t.

That’s basically it for now. I suspect it will play well with the talking heads.


  • Forgot it was quite notable Obama emphasized he wants health care this year.
  • Marc Ambinder tweetsGOPers, labor folks note that Obama didn’t mention card check in his speech.”

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