Obama’s Speech

John Nichols has just posted his reaction to the speech in the Nation

Through much of his speech, Obama sounded a little like an emergency-room surgeon turning away from the operating table to explain what he had done and what he was about to do.

Yes, the patient is very sick, “But,” the physician-in-chief counseled, “while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

On the other hand, Bobby Jindal’s debut on the national political stage did not compare at all to Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic Convention.  He needs to work on his delivery and also to make sure he is reacting to what the President actually said.

John Nichol’s take?

If Obama said “stimulate,” Jindal said “wait.”

If Obama said “invest,” Jindal said “cut taxes.”

If Obama said “Roosevelt,” Jindal said “Reagan.”

One of the great lies in American politics is the claim that responses to presidential addresses are never of any consequence. In fact, they invariably tell us what how serious a fight the president has on his hands.

The selection of Jindal was telling, indeed.

On Tuesday night, Barack Obama offered a comprehensive “yes, we can” promise.

Bobby Jindal responded with a narrow “no, we can’t” threat.

The battlelines could not be any more clearly drawn.

The choice could not be any more dramatic — or vital to the nation’s future.

While Jindal fretted Hoover-like about the new Democratic president’s “irresponsible” response to an old Republican crisis, Obama took the nothing-to-fear-but-fear itself position, telling Americans that, “The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.”

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