Compilation of analysis and reactions to President Obama’s State of the Union address

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A compilation of analysis and reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Here’s the text of the speech itself.

Here’s the PDF from the White House of the policies that the President outlined tonight.

James C. Capretta of National Review thought the speech was predictable:

As usual for a State of the Union address, this speech was such a disconnected assortment of ideas that nothing in it really stood out. So the good news is that what the president proposed — a tired and unoriginal call for even more liberal governance — will be long forgotten in a few short weeks. And that’s certainly good news for the State of the Union.

Chris Cillizza offers his 5 takeaways here.

President Obama was significantly more combative, audacious and partisan in this State of the Union address than in previous years, notes Taegan Goddard. 

He repeatedly backed policies that most Americans find popular but that Republicans oppose continuing to drive a wedge into his opposition. At the same time, he sought to fire up the Democratic base as he readies a major congressional push to solidify his legislative legacy. And if Congress won’t act, he made clear than many of his proposals could be done — or at least started — by executive action.

One example was climate change. Obama suggested the EPA could regulate carbon emissions without new legislation that might never get out of the House or Senate. But it’s something his liberal base has been waiting four years to hear.

Ed Kilgore swoons:

(I)t was a strong performance that left Republicans looking either clueless (Rubio) or uncomfortable (Boehner). On the big issues, Obama and Democrats were already playing from a stronger hand, and he strengthened it on a pretty broad front tonight.

Ezra Klein thinks “that was an incredibly ambitious speech”:

In some ways, what was most noticeable about the speech was what wasn’t in it: Nothing. It was difficult to come up with a single policy favored by Obama’s party but left out of this speech. The speech included the politically possible and the politically implausible. It had the poll-tested policies, like small tweaks to encourage manufacturing jobs, and policies that have a tougher time in the polls, like putting a price on carbon.

Michael Tanner sees in Obama’s address “a vision of a growing state, with greater control over our lives, financed by ever-higher taxes. The need to resist that vision is what makes the budget fights ahead so vitally important.

Michael Tomasky’s view:

A very strong speech, better that most, an A-. The writing was prose, except for the “they deserve a vote flourish at the end,” which was powerful, but the structure was very effective. I really liked the way he opened by diving right into the sequester (as I suggested!). The words weren’t exactly the ones I’d have chosen, but it was good that he said–early, when everyone was still watching–that the Republicans are going to be the ones to blame if these cuts kick in.

Entertainment Weekly television critic Ken Tucker felt the President’s energy and “a certain looseness”:

“You can tell he’s feelin’ good about what he has to offer when he starts droppin’ his “g”s. Speaking of bank reform, for example, he wondered, “Why would that be a partisan issue? Helpin’ folks to refinance?”

Will Wilkinson doubts the speech mattered much:

Mr Obama will have gratified progressives by calling for action on climate change, and pleading emotionally for a vote on gun control measures, but there’s little reason to think he gained any ground on these divisive issues. It will be interesting to see how Republicans respond to Mr Obama’s proposal for universal preschool, as well as to see whether this new expence will actually survive as a priority for the president during negotiations over fiscal belt-tightening.

Matt Yglesias believes the SOTU proposal with by far the most political juice is going to be a call to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 and index it to inflation. That would put it, in inflation-adjusted terms, back up to its 1981 level:

“This is an issue people have been debating politically for a long time, and it’s no coincidence that perhaps the leading pro-minimum wage empirical study was co-authored by Alan Krueger, who’s currently chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.* It’s interesting to think about this idea in the context of an environment where the Federal Reserve says it will allow inflation to rise to 2.5 percent, but doesn’t currently expect it to reach that level. In principle, a bump in low-wage worker wages could lead to exactly the kind of tolerated-but-not-expected inflation that the Fed has talked about.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.