Friday, February 06, 2009


Last night I saw the Obama I've been wanting to see -- direct, sharp-tongued, witty, rafter-shaking, and with an acute sense of who's preventing us from righting the ship and of precisely what those obstructionists are up to. I don't know if the speech will help, hurt, or do nothing, but it's clear he gets it -- he extended a hand of friendship, he got attacked, and now he's not going to let the SOBs walk all over him. I still think a scheduled Oval Office speech with broadcast-network coverage would have been more effective (yes, I know that on Monday he's doing a prime-time press conference), but the speech was terrific. I even enjoyed the wild tone swings (Politico says a lot of what Obama said last night wasn't in his prepared text, and it showed); the improvised parts (he seemed like a musician taking solos) were less eloquent but had more punch -- this was real exasperation, in contrast to the stagy, utterly phony predictions of doom from Republicans, who know damn well they're lying about the possibility of a cataclysm if we apply time-honored economic principles, and whose deceitfulness shows.

Iatch the speech here if you missed it.


Oh, and call the WAAAAAAAAmbulance for former Romney press secretary Kevin Madden, who was all upset on CNN after the speech because Obama hurt his feelings:

MADDEN: Look, I thought it was practically borderline spiteful towards Republicans. I think he started out with the rosy rhetoric of the past where he said he want to be bipartisan and then he went right into an extremely partisan speech. If the goal tonight was to help get GOP votes, this was a very disappointing speech and it probably didn't move the ball anywhere.

The simple fact is that Barack Obama went -- President Obama went into that room tonight, and he spoke and shouted into the echo chamber of partisanship. He spoke only to those people in that room, and I think that he lost any chance that he had of getting some bipartisan goodwill built amongst Republicans on this particular bill.

Er, Kevin? He doesn't have a freaking chance of getting bipartisan goodwill. Your self-described "Taliban" party made that impossible. And if Obama didn't get it before, he gets it now.

More from Madden:

Let's remember about Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan never lost control of his tone. I think that Barack Obama lost control of his tone tonight and injected a certain level of partisanship into this that's not going to be helpful.

Ronald Reagan's rhetoric was never really as nice as his winky, smiley style made it seem, but if he didn't lash out this way in budget battles, it was because he was able to reach out to a very large contingent of Blue Dog Democrats. By contrast, right now you could fit all the Blue Dog Republicans in D.C. in a broom closet and still have room for two carpet steamers and a wet-vac.

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