Obama Failed His Sputnik Moment

Krauthammer, Noonan: His State of the Union was a 'mushy' unserious mess
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2011 11:09 AM CST
President Obama is applauded by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
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(Newser) – With the rhetorical dust settled from President Obama's State of the Union speech, two pundits on the right—Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan—declare that the president blew it. Among other things, both seize on the fact that he took more than a half-hour to get to the biggest issue of the day—the federal debt—and then offered what they see as a token gesture to fix it.

  • Krauthammer: The president's proposed spending freeze amounts to a mere "rounding error," he writes in the Washington Post. "It's as if Obama is daring the voters—and the Republicans—to prove they really want smaller government." And the Sputnik moment? Obama cut NASA's manned missions, remember, and instead prefers "small-ball" green energy projects. "From the moon landing to solar shingles. Is there a better example of American decline?"

  • Noonan: The former presidential speechwriter says this one failed in both substance and style. It "was not centrist, as it should have been, but merely mushy, and barely relevant," she writes in the Wall Street Journal. "I actually hate writing this. I wanted to write 'A Serious Man Seizes the Center.' But he was not serious and he didn't seize the center, he went straight for the mush. Maybe at the end of the day he thinks that's what centrism is."

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