President Obama tried in the first minutes of his State of the Union Wednesday night to make it clear to everyone that the U.S. has seen tough times, that it has fended off a second Great Depression, and that "one year later the worst of the storm has passed, but the devastation remains."
"We can't afford the bipartisanship and pettiness of political infighting now," warned Obama. Yet while he called on Americans, in particular the lawmakers in the room, "to overcome the numbing weight of our politics," that effort to reach across the aisle didn't reach into the conservative media.
Michelle Malkin was tweeting even as Obama walked into the room: "O Enters for SOTU [State of the Union]. More forced smiles than a beauty pageant." And a few minutes later: "Obama carps about failures of Washington DC. Psssst, Obama: YOU are Washington DC."
Both Fox News bloggers and HotAir.com's Allahpundit wondered whether Obama's pledge to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" will get very far. "Even if you disagree with rescinding the policy, take comfort in knowing that the roll call in the House and Senate will be pure fun to watch. I'm sure they'll have some bipartisan support for doing it; the question is how much—and how many skittish Blue Dog 'no' votes will have to be replaced. Exit question one: Is The One going to demand any deadline for doing this or will it be another of his 'no, really, soon' promises?"
Despite pledging to make advances in green energy, Obama seemed to give a nod to the growing influence of climate skeptics, saying that "even if you doubt the evidence" it is still wise to invest in new and more efficient sources of energy. His inclusive language in the speech is perhaps a result of climategate, which has fueled the claims of climate-change deniers.
Townhall blogger Jillian Bandes writes that "the State of the Union was supposed to be a victory speech for health care. It was supposed to showcase lower unemployment numbers, and a stronger national defense effort, buttressed by his recent shift of troops to Afghanistan. Instead, the speech was an omnibus apology by President Obama on his failure to accomplish anything." (At the start of the speech, Bandes even picked apart the sartorial choices of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden, both seated directly behind Obama, and, in Bandes's view, trying desperately to mix red and blue any way they could: "1 in 10 Americans still cannot find work, business stinks, and he has to deal with it. More importantly: Geithner has a 5 o'clock shadow. Biden, Pelosi and Michelle Obama are color coordinated—apparently, purple is Obama's new team colors.")
Most important, Bandes notes the brevity of Obama's remarks on health care compared with his focus on jobs—perhaps a change of tune, conservatives are arguing, because it will be hard for Obama to point to progress in health-care reform, especially when, as Townhall blogger Jennifer Lovin writes, the president had to publicly beg lawmakers to "not walk away from reform. Not now, not when we are so close."