Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama speech reactions -- a roundup

By Carol Gee

Playing off of Michael's (9/9/09): "The Speech: Obama defends health-care reform before joint session of Congress," it is an excellent analysis, with good points about the pros and cons of the speech. Later Michael called the speech, "Obama at his finest" (9/10/09). This post is a compilation of reactions gleaned form the folks I follow at Twitter.

"Aim of Obama Health Speech: Reigniting a Presidency," is by Adam Nagourney of the New York Times (9/9/09). The reason we all read the NYT is because of its ability to analyze the news in a sophisticated and insightful manner. This piece leads my post today because Nagourney so effectively hit the make on President Obama's address to the joint session of Congress. See also, "Obama's Health Care Plan Builds on Others' Ideas," by Robert Pear and Jackie Calmes (another of my favorites) in the Money and Policy section of the Times.

"The Obama Health Care Speech," is a quick take by Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine's Swampland Blog (9/9/09), concluding with this key question, "Within the House Chamber, he has provided the guidance that lawmakers have been begging for. But the real question is this: Has Obama provided the reassurance it will take to bring back the rest of the country?" Tumulty's Tweet said poignantly, "Grief on Vicki Kennedy's face is enduring image of this speech."

"Obamacare 2.0," is by John Dickerson of Slate Magazine (9/9/09). One of my favorite reporters takes a rather skeptical look at the President's speech, but gives some credit where it is due. His cleverly compares the daunting task that Mr. Obama faces, that of putting health care in place, with the "ease of installation" that Steve Jobs provides with a his brand new Apple application. Also, Dickerson Tweets the link to the new White House health care plan website: "The Obama Plan: Stability & Security For All Americans."

"Morning Fix: First (and Second) Thoughts on Obama Address," is by Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post (9/10/09). Cillizza notes that Rep. Joe Wilson's unruly outburst will provide a much needed foil for the President. He also reported that the reaction from Blue Dog Dems is "more muted." See also, "First Thoughts," which is more expansive (9/9/09).

"A Passionate Appeal to Salvage the Impossible," is by Mike Lillis at The Washington Independent (9/9/09). This excellent article features quotes from the President's speech combined with tight little bits of background clarification. For example:

Early signs, however, indicate that the Republicans are ready to continue fighting the Democrats’ plans. When Obama took on the GOP myth that the Democrats’ proposal would cover illegal immigrants, for example, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) screamed, “You lie!” Responding for the GOP afterward, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), a physician who’s accepted more than $1.2 million from health and insurance interests in the past five years, blasted the president’s vision with the popular conservative criticism that it proposes a government takeover of the nation’s health care system. And, most importantly, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), an influential member of the Gang of Six, issued a statement afterward saying she “would have preferred that the [public plan] were taken off the table.”

"Analysis: Obama speech to Congress unlikely to be game changer," is by Sam Youngman and Bob Cusack at The Hill (9/10/09). This piece was very heavy on characterizing the President's speech as offering nothing new and noting that Congress did not find a clear path in the speech as to how to proceed. The Hill's Mike Soraghan said that "Congress had its own rowdy town hall Wednesday," devoting his entire piece to the congressional audience reaction.

"My Take on Obama's Speech," is by George Stephanopoulos of ABC News (9/9/09). Stephanopoulos provided one of the best posts so far, including a thorough explanation of the specifics of the administration's plan, along with a nod to the very emotional tone of the President's address.

"Obama Shows His Progressive Spine," is by Katrina Van Den Heuvel at The Nation Magazine (9/9/09). Her analysis fits well with my own and concludes,

In many ways, it was Obama's fullest, most eloquent and formal defense of liberalism and the clearest exposition of his view of government's role. It was not the full-fledged antidote to Reagan's decades of government-is-the-problem conservative narrative. Yet Obama spoke eloquently of a new and progressive role for government. We must build on it.

There is work ahead to fulfill the promise of shaping a more humane and healthier future. But on the evening of September 9th, eight years after President George W. Bush spoke to a joint session of Congress, President Obama has set us on a path we must seize in the critical days and weeks ahead.

Twitter post script -- "Biggest disappointment of evening, the total lack of respect shown by one member for the President.Never acceptable to behave like a jerk;" a Tweet by Senator Claire McKaskill illustrates why I follow this fine legislator. Mark Knoller, CBS News White House Correspondent, does Twitter posts that offer a unique here-and-now writing style that has become an important part of my news scan every day. Click on his name to read his fascinating thread of news bites during the speech. Chris Hayes of The Nation Magazine blogs, "Does Joe Wilson Believe the President Was Actually Lying?" To quote the gist of his post:

(Quick review: deft explanation of the policy, a few unnecessary political concessions, extremely aggravating lefty-bashing, and genuinely fantastic inspirational finish). . . fascinating. There's been a ton of viral emails floating around the right-wing making the claim that the bill covers illegal immigrants, and talk radio has been whipping up the fervor as well. Wilson clearly thinks that is, indeed, the case. . . . that sums up the House GOP caucus. By and large it's made up of absolute and total wingnuts, people who are in ideology disposition and even function much more like talk show hosts or RedState commenters than they are legislators.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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  • I’m partisan to a president that can lower my taxes and fix what the housing market “greed” created…

    By Anonymous aaroncrowe, at 2:14 PM  

  • It might take a while, Aaron. Thanks.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 4:31 PM  

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