Andrew Sullivan has a series of good posts on the emptiness of Bush's State of the Union Address. Here's a representative example, under the headline “Sorry:”
...but I thought this speech lacked a real focus, and rehashed thoroughly exhausted tropes and phrases. The speech's key attention-grabber was the “addicted to oil” line. But after five years of being the oil-president, he needs to add a lot more substance to back up the counter-intuitive headline. On the critical question, Iraq, he said all the right things; and I believe he deserves support in navigating the path ahead, however twisted the path to this point. But I'd like to see more meat on those bones, and clear evidence of political progress and improved security. I guess, on this subject, I've just learned to follow what he does, rather than what he says. The calls for bi-partisanship, on the other hand, and for an entitlements commission, for Pete's sake, sounded ... well, desperate. Bottom line: this speech will rise without trace. And be remembered by almost no one.
I agree completely, including the part about Iraq.
I also liked Sullivan's take on the Democratic reponse, delivered by my incomping Governor:
Kaine looks good. Great idea to have a governor, an executive, standing with that big red tie. And the first thing you hear from him is that he was once a missionary. God, God, God for the first few minutes. Then competence and “good management.” Nice touch on Katrina response; even more effective on the Medicare mess. And finally, we have a real challenge on fiscal recklessness. Pity it took a Democrat. Nice line on “inaccurate information” about war intelligence. Much better than the “misled” line (which Begala is now repeating).The same blather on energy independence as the president. And then ... God and service. All in all, I'd say it's easily the best Democratic response I've seen since Bush took office. Of course, the standard was, well, two words: Nancy Pelosi. Bush: C+. Kaine B+. That's my immediate gut response. I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow.
I find nothing at his blog today to indicate that he has, in fact, changed his mind.
Sullivan's comments, coming from a conservative perspective, were a welcome change to the predictable Bush sycophancy of MSNBC (I didn't even bother watching Fox). There was Chris Matthews with his usual cadre of lickspittles, gushing about how strong Bush looked and how weak and timid Kaine looked. You know it's bad when former Republican representative Joe Scarborough is the most critical voice among the regular panelists.
On the other hand, Arianna Huffington was less impressed with Kaine:
While Kaine was droning on, I closed my eyes and imagined Jack Murtha giving the response, someone with the authority to do much more than second guess -- to offer an alternative strategy on Iraq and the war on terror, as opposed to Kaine’s program of &ldwuo;service and competent management.” And I thought “competence” had gone out of vogue with Michael Dukakis.
Guess you can't please everyone.