By Joe Campbell
February 25th, 2009
I thought this was the most interesting moment in yesterday’s speech – as the partisan feelings of the Republicans erupted, and then were responded to by the Democrats.
Throughout the speech, Obama seemed to want to talk through partisan lines, trying to minimize the applause. But here the Republicans took the first half of an Obama antimonic device and interrupted his speech – their only real excitement of the night. They seemed to relish in the fact that Obama was “admitting” that the deficit was a worthy issue, jeering. Of course, Obama has planned to pivot to the deficit and entitlement spending all along – speaking of a forthcoming Grand Bargain even before he took office. In the end, this demonstration made the Republicans look rather petty. But then, as Obama completed his antimonic device, stating that the enormous deficit was “inherited,” the Democrats took advantage of their opportunity to pettily respond to the Republican jeering.
This exchange captures the dynamic of Obama’s Washington so far – as Republicans and Democrats jeer each other and posture against one another while Obama tries to explain what he’s doing and to get a serious response.