"SOTU as National Rorschach Test" (Melissa Harris-Lacewell-The Nation):
A contemporary State of the Union address is less an assessment of our national circumstances than it is a collective Rorschach test: an inkblot given meaning by the viewer more than by the subject. The televised pageantry of applause and ovations has little to do with the President's articulation of a policy agenda and far more to do with how his partisan allies and opponents read the electoral viability of his phrases. Like tilting your head to view the inkblot from a different angle can suddenly make a new image appear, really listening to the President last night can make the country's future seem much different than it did before. Whether the new vision is reassuring or frightening is largely our own projection."I Never Suggested the Change Would Be Easy" (John Nichols):
Say what you will about Barack Obama.
But don't accuse the president of veering from the course he charted at a point when his term was new, his popularity ratings were high and Americans took seriously all that talk of "hope" and "change."
Instead of rallying the base, President Obama chose to preach the gospel of bipartisanship. Instead of offering America a bold new agenda, or at least an edgier style, the president chose to recall old themes. Instead of accepting that the approaches of 2009 did not work, the president signaled that they will be repeated in 2010.