Question: From a leadership perspective--moving the country and the political process away from division and gridlock and toward consensus, confidence and action--how would you grade President Obama's State of the Union speech?
I'd give the speech a B+. It was an A in the first half, with its focus on jobs and education and vision, but a C+ on the details in the second half. The challenge for the future, in growing 21st century jobs, was forceful and engaging. The blueprint for getting government and its budget under control, however, was much weaker. The spending freeze is a tiny down payment on the deficit issue, and the plan for restructuring the government was too thin to support any real reform.
The tone, however, was rousing and warm, engaging and challenging--one of Obama's better speeches. That bumps his grade up to a B+. He's clearly in the game with a vision to lead the party. His chore from here is getting traction to convince Americans he can produce real results that back up the lofty rhetoric.