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The Speech

I feel as though this moment dwarfs and makes a joke of insta-analysis. But I have two quick reactions. One is that Obama's speech was strong, uplifting, appropriate for the moment, good if not wholly breathtaking (though his reference to his father, a man who might not have been served in a local restaurant 60 years ago, was an emotional jolt.) It was a shade tougher on Bush than I might have expected. It couldn't have been easy for the now-former president to sit and listen to Obama's account of a nation that needs to be reclaimed and restored, or his vow not to sacrifice core liberties in the name of "expediency." I suspect we may even hear some grumbling from conservatives. But, in hindsight, I don't know that there was any other tone for Obama to strike. The state of the union is what it is, the moment is about a break from the painful past, and ignoring that would have lead to treacle.

Also, I was standing outside on a rooftop a few blocks from the Capitol when Bush's chopper flew perhaps 200 feet overhead. He was bid adieu with jeers and catcalls. The finality of seeing Executive One disappear over the DC horizon, singular and even a little lonely, was pretty unforgettable.

--Michael Crowley