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Left and Right Agree: Good Grades for Obama:

In this week's National Journal poll of leading political bloggers, the Left gives Obama's inaugural speech an A-, and the right gives it a B-. I gave it a B, with the comment, "Excellent use of history, combined with solid patriotism for the 21st century. Some of his policy ideas, including the prominence of the global warming issue, bode ill for America's economic future."

Did the speech meet the public's expectations? From the Left, 86% said "yes." On the right, 46% thought so, and another 46% said "partially." My view: "Yes he did, yes he did! In delivering a prepared speech, Obama ranks at the very top, with Reagan and FDR."

DiversityHire:
I'd like to hear more "shall" and less "will".
1.21.2009 4:45pm
resh (mail):
Without looking, recite one phrase or sentence from this A-/B- speech, class....

Case closed.
1.21.2009 4:50pm
dr:
resh is right -- the value of a speech shall be judged entirely in the presence or absence of nifty soundbites. case closed indeed.
1.21.2009 4:53pm
wfjag:
Given the text, he did well with it. However, I believe that his speech writers appear to have been spending too much time feeling up cardboard cut-outs of Hillary and not enough time writing a speech that had some memorable lines (instead of merely reminding listeners of memorable lines in great speeches by others). So, while "Yes, he can (deliver a prepared speech well)", when the speech itself is below average, it's still a below average speech however well delivered.
1.21.2009 4:54pm
bushbasher:
"Some of his policy ideas, including the prominence of the global warming issue, bode ill for America's economic future"

jesus. and the iceberg bodes ill for the titanic. so, let's just ignore it. i just love kopel's ostrich theory of captaincy.
1.21.2009 4:55pm
Ben P:

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.


"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent know that you are on the wrong side of history. But that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. "

Your test measure fails in more ways than one.
1.21.2009 4:57pm
Oren:
I like how he combined "strengthen our enemies" with "destroy our planet" in his statement on foreign energy independence. Either one on its own is a very good reason to drastically curb fossil fuel consumption.
1.21.2009 5:09pm
1Ler:
Not fair, Oren! That's the Repubs' argument!
1.21.2009 5:17pm
Howard Whitney (mail):
Nice boring and sober speech B-level in general, given the times and the historic nature of the event I give it an A.

Agree about the AGW blather, but he does need to feed the true believers a few chunks of red meat. Since we need to re-invent wired and portable energy, the overall goal is not a bad one.

Time will tell... Rome wasn't burned down in a day.
1.21.2009 5:30pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
"Without looking, recite one phrase or sentence from this A-/B- speech, class....

Case closed."

We will extend our hands if you unclench your fist.
1.21.2009 5:33pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Okay, the exact quote is:

"we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." So I got two phrases right there.

I'd give the speech an A- or B+. Certainly the best we've had for a while.
1.21.2009 5:38pm
Awesome-O:
Golly, isn't Obama awesome?!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to collect the pile of Skittles that my government-issued unicorn has pooped out this afternoon.
1.21.2009 5:45pm
Sarcastro (www):
That awesome unicorn joke just won't get old! I hope we all keep beating it for a long time!

Also the messiah joke and parting of waters japes! Hilarious!

[I thought the speech I heard wasn't as good as the speech I read for whatever reason. B+]
1.21.2009 5:51pm
John Jenkins (mail):
@DiversityHire: Given that almost no one understands when (and why) to use shall over will, I'd much prefer that shall be consigned to the trash heap.

[This message brought to you by law firm associates who are damn tired of old fogeys using shall because they can't bring themselves to use must, will or if ... then constructions.]
1.21.2009 5:51pm
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
resh: "We will restore science to its rightful place."
1.21.2009 5:59pm
dr:
"We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."
1.21.2009 6:03pm
Dr. T (mail) (www):
I do not understand the emphasis given to the quality of a speech that means nothing. It's not like Obama made a verbal contract with us. He just spouted more political blather that made some of the ignorant feel better but annoyed everyone else.
1.21.2009 6:28pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb:

I thought the speech I heard wasn't as good as the speech I read for whatever reason. B+

Agreed, and I also can't really figure out why. But there's no doubt it's much more impressive on paper. I'll go along with a B+.

Loved his shoutout to the nonbelievers, and I remember it by heart (so there, case-closing resh....). One transcript I saw even had that portion set off with a dash -- even more conspicuously emphasizing that howling atheists are good Americans too. Nice.

Okay, A-.
1.21.2009 6:29pm
resh (mail):
Kudos to those who grabbed the prose, who relished the poetry. I was busy listening to the quiet desperation of those in awe.
1.21.2009 6:31pm
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
Nice save, resh. That's the spirit. Never admit you were wrong.
1.21.2009 6:35pm
David Warner:
"Without looking, recite one phrase or sentence from this A-/B- speech, class...."

The "time to put away childish things" is getting a lot of (positive) comment out here in rational ignorance land.

"Loved his shoutout to the nonbelievers"

Oddly, he neglected non-earthlings. Bigot.
1.21.2009 9:45pm
David Warner:
Oh, and I'd say an A speech hiding in a C- State of the Union address. Hopefully, he'll lose some of the baby fat.
1.21.2009 9:46pm
Allan (mail):
Most refreshing. One side gives an A, the other a B.

Much better than a forgotten president who routinely received Cs from his side and Fs from the other, both on content and delivery.
1.21.2009 10:41pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
That awesome unicorn joke just won't get old! I hope we all keep beating it for a long time!


I figure we'll be hearing it for about another 3,000 days, give or take.
1.21.2009 11:14pm
Asher (mail):
He started to lose me one minute in with the raging winds and gathering storms. The second half was solid but by then he'd already failed to do what needed to be done - give the people convincing reassurance that we'll eventually get out of this mess. Just saying "it'll take a long time but the challenges will be met!" doesn't count. I also hate his habit of invoking strawman cynics and supposedly false choices that aren't really so false.
1.22.2009 12:56am
David Warner:
Allan,

"Much better than a forgotten president who routinely received Cs from his side and Fs from the other, both on content and delivery."

By which you mean that we gave him C's, while AlQaeda et.al. gave him F's, right?

OW, don't blame him for your dark sarcasm in the classroom.
1.22.2009 10:55am
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb:


"Loved his shoutout to the nonbelievers"

Oddly, he neglected non-earthlings. Bigot.

I realize this is likely said in snark, but I still don't get the point.
1.22.2009 6:05pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warner:

By which you mean that we gave him C's, while AlQaeda et.al. gave him F's, right?


On the contrary. Bush got high grades from "AlQaeda et.al.:"

Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market's downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America's economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.

And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.

"Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President Bush.


Doesn't sound much like "F's."

don't blame him for your dark sarcasm in the classroom


I think you could use more education and less thought control.

exclude:

I realize this is likely said in snark, but I still don't get the point.


David listens to the Heads and has decided to take them literally.
1.22.2009 6:31pm
David Warner:
Excluder,

"I realize this is likely said in snark, but I still don't get the point."

A. It's a category error.

B. The original hype is also inaccurate. References to non-believers go back at least to Bush I, and were implicit as far back as one wishes to go (I'd say the Founders and/or the Jamestown settlers, who were in it for the money, not to shine hill cities). Madison wasn't known for his Inquisitorial zeal.

The whole issue does make (yet another) convenient outgroup bashing opportunity for our Regressive, er, Progressive community, so gorge away if that's your thing.
1.22.2009 10:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warner:

References to non-believers go back at least to Bush I


Bush I's inaugural address includes no "references to non-believers." However, it does include this:

my first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads:

Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: "Use power to help people." For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord. Amen.


So I hope you'll tell us what you mean by "references to non-believers." Are you sure you didn't mean to say "references to believers?" Or maybe you meant to say "non-references to non-believers."

gorge away if that's your thing


Fabricate away, if that's your thing.
1.23.2009 8:19am
David Warner:
JBG's America: Guilty until proven innocent, or, if you're religious, even after.
1.23.2009 1:41pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Guilty until proven innocent


As usual, you're being fairly opaque. But if you're trying to say that there's some non-fabricated basis for the remark you made ("references to non-believers go back at least to Bush I"), I hope you'll tell us what it is.
1.23.2009 4:50pm

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