ObamaSOTU1obama3obama4Everything we’re hearing is that this will be a “centrist” speech. And given the policies we’ve heard, that’s no surprise. The call to repeal DADT must be the bone to the base.

…OK, the President has entered the building. I have the text of the speech and am looking over it now as he spends several minutes with the handshakes, et al.

…He’s going to lead with the jobs bill and offer a real defense of the stimulus. Again, he’s in a box because it’s so hard to prove a negative.

…Obama on health care will say: “Do not walk away from reform.”

…Setting the scene with the long struggle of America, how we’ve had to persevere and fight. “These were the times that tested the courage of our convictions, and the strength of our union.” Actually coming back to some of the themes of the 2004 DNC keynote.

…”The worst of the storm has passed, but the devastation remains.” This is an “I feel your pain” moment. And it’s something Congress does need to hear.

…This is starting with a very solemn tone. Talking about the letters written by children with stories of economic devastation. “Change has not come fast enough…”

…This is the Obama of the campaign, the post-partisan Obama, the “overcome the numbing weight of our politics” guy.

…I actually don’t mind this, the “story of America” stuff, offering a sense of optimism for America. I’m more of a “tell me what you do” guy, but this is necessary stuff to show that the President understands the plight.

…This is actually reminiscent of the Carter “A Crisis of Confidence” speech, especially the line: “it’s time the American people get a government that matches their
decency; that embodies their strength.”

…Now starts into policy with the economy.

… “We all hated the bank bailout. I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.” Then says he can’t just do what’s popular, but what’s necessary. This started OK, but the defense is a bit off.

…At least he said that the previous Administration started it, and most of the money has been recovered, and that he’s seeking to get the rest of the money with a fee on the biggest banks… Lieberman actually clapped at that one.

…The first solid policy line: “If these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.”

David Dayen

David Dayen