While under ordinary circumstances, this night would have been all about football these aren’t normal times. The current crisis calls for action to create jobs and address the foreclosure crisis in order for us to move forward. People have been waiting for a comprehensive jobs plan to come out of D.C. and the speech was to deliver that plan.
President Obama was back to his old campaign form. The speech felt like one of the moving speeches from the campaign, where you were captivated even if you didn’t agree. I think he played both sides well. For his base, he focused on stimulus through tax breaks for the middle class, and job creation through rebuilding infrastructure. He also played to republicans by mentioning the corporate tax rate, entitlement reform, and a mention about regulations. He catered enough to both sides that I think there is real pressure to get something done. Even in a post speech interview Eric Cantor ( R-VA), couldn’t disagree much and admitted there was a lot to work with in the speech.
With all that being said, I think there were some specifics that could have used some more details. He mentioned that everything would be paid for, but left us waiting for the specifics. Yes, he mentioned cuts already made, and promised a detailed plan in the coming week, but some of those details would have been useful. When talking about eliminating loopholes to lower the corporate tax rate, while I know there are many options, but mentioning one or two of the possibilities would have been nice.
My biggest issue with the speech, was the plan for the foreclosure mess seemed like an afterthought. He mentioned a refinance plan to capitalize on the low rates, but left it at that. I have been critical of his foreclosure prevention plans in the past, and feel that more attention needs to paid to this issue. I wanted to hear a strategy to address the refinance plan in the speech, but will have to wait for future speeches I guess.
Overall, I though the speech hit the right points, and had Obama in campaign mode, which really helped him shine. Once the dust settles from this it will be important for us to hold congress accountable to get this done.