For the most part I thought Bush's 5th SOTU speech was excellent. His delivery was smooth, passionate and at times elegant.
As usual the high points were concerning foreign policy ie. The war on terror, Iraq, the threat of radical islamofascism, and the danger of isolationism. He did better than usual on domestic policy however, managing to stay away from the traditional "laundry list" of itemized proposals and concentrated on a few more modest themes such as lessening dependance on foreign oil , permanent tax reduction and immigration.
His defense of the Iraq and NSA wiretaps was especially forceful and effective. He deftly dinged the Democrats on these issues without sounding vengeful or vitriolic. He came across as a man who has a crystal clear vision and is committed to see that vision through. Great leaders inspire confidence and I think that's exactly what he accomplished last night.
Noteworthy reactions from the speech came from several sources. Bill Kristol notorious for having a tin ear was "dissapointed" with the speech calling it "squishy" because the Pres didn't mention permanent tax cut 10 times and failed to threaten invasion of Iran a week from this coming Saturday. For the most part both cable and the EM gave the speech high marks. From the blogospere LeShawn Barber who I agree with often panned the speech on immigration issues. She can be right on the mark but can be an insufferable whinebox when she doesn't get her way. Lorie Byrd thought the speech was "good", great at times. The gang over at National Review were complimentary and the unaninimity of support at Free Republic was surprisingly overwhelming. This CBS poll appears to reinforce my initial impressions. 77 percent of speech watchers approved, and 23 percent disapproved,
Personally I think this is one of Bush's top 5 best speeches. He came axcross strong, in control, committed and steady. The Democrats in the gallery came across as petty, spoiled, juvenile, and bitter and as an added bonus, Cindy Sheehan was arrested. When you accomplish all that, what more could one ask for in a SOTU?