Because I’ve written so many speeches, I can’t help being a speech critic. And I think President Obama missed the mark last night.
Normally, Obama is a powerful speaker – and a great writer. And his State of the Union speech had its moments.
He probably got the politics right. Even Speaker Boehner clapped some. And members were on their best behavior, it being Congressional Date Night.
But the speech read like a committee wrote it. And Obama buried his lead. His best line – and what would have been his best theme – was lost at the end: “We do big things.”
A good editor – or adviser – should have told him: Work that line. Make it the main message – and the headline tomorrow. Use “we do big things” to frame your agenda – and draw a contrast with both the past and the Republicans.
My take: For all his bounceback in the polls, Obama is still unsure how to navigate this new landscape.