President Obama’s speech Thursday night was about as gripping as the ones delivered by little-known governors in the early-evening time slots, just longer.
It mostly had the feeling of utter predictability, going through the motions, hitting most of the talking points you’d expect.
Most importantly, it did little to accomplish the single biggest demand on it: telling undecided voters how a second term would differ from his first. The parts that were meant to be inspirational didn’t soar high enough, and the parts meant to convey policy plans didn’t break enough new ground.
He made a compelling case that he’s stronger than Mitt Romney on foreign policy. But his nod to cutting the deficit seemed insincere given his disdain for his own debt commission’s recommendations. He said almost nothing about how he would put Medicare and Social Security back on sound footing.
Obama faced an extremely thorny situation with this speech, given the difficulties of his first term. It showed.