State of the Union speeches are plagued by the format. They have to be laundry lists; that's the nature of it. At best, a president can drop in a nice phrase or two, a nice moment. But mostly, as speeches, they just aren't going to be memorable.
Tonight's? No exception. I counted one moment that stood out, Barack Obama's demand for a vote on gun legislation in the name of the victims of gun violence. The rest was fine, but nothing special as oratory. Nor has Obama really mastered the Joint Session of Congress setting. He's okay; better than either Bush, I'd say. But he doesn't fully embrace the majesty of the setting the way that Ronald Reagan did; nor does he use a rapport with the Members of Congress to reinforce his authority and mastery of the material the way that Bill Clinton did. He's still a first-rate speaker, but he hasn't been at his best in these addresses.
I'm not going to comment on the substance for now...just wanted to put up something tonight (and I'm already late; yup, I watched it late. Sorry; the Tuesday evening pick-up game came first for me this time. Which meant that I watched it after seeing the headlines from it, but I watched it, for a change, without the constant distraction of twitter).
So: fine speech, nothing particularly memorable, some interesting policy stuff worth thinking more about. More later, I'm sure.