“Tonight Mr. Obama proved—once again—that he hears the American music and can play it like a maestro. As well as Ronald Reagan. Both presidents had—have—have music in their souls. The other people in the room where I watched the speech were in tears by the end—the kind that stream down the face. I managed to hold those back. But I could not hold back my admiration at the performance, in particular of Mr. Obama’s deep humanity, as evinced by his profound, almost Lincolnesque humor. Oh dear, are tears streaming down my face, one way or the other?

“He proved himself capable, too, of drama, as when he (figuratively) pointed a finger at the Supremes, sitting in their courtly robes directly in front of him, hands demurely folded, and accused them (in my opinion, unjustly, to say nothing of injudiciously) of allowing ‘foreign enemies’ to influence our elections. I had been under the impression that it was called ‘free speech.’ But never mind. It was an electrifying moment. Thank you, Mr. President.

“An electrifying evening, all in all.”

***
“The central fact of the speech was the contradiction at its heart. It repeatedly asserted that Washington is the answer to everything. At the same time it painted a picture of Washington as a sick and broken place. It was a speech that argued against itself: You need us to heal you. Don’t trust us, we think of no one but ourselves.

“The people are good but need guidance—from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed—by Washington. Washington can ‘make sure consumers . . . have the information they need to make financial decisions.’ Washington must ‘make investments,’ ‘create’ jobs, increase ‘production’ and ‘efficiency.’…

“Why would anyone have faith in that thing to help anyone do anything?”

***
“Obama insists that Americans need to muster the courage to agree with him, to sign on to his agenda. Just as at Omaha Beach and Bull Run, Americans need to show their mettle. ‘Again, we are tested. And again, we must answer history’s call.’ That ‘call’ is the call of Obama.

“‘I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone.’ So come on, you slackers, fall into line…

“Other politicians are vain, cowardly and insubstantial. They need the courage to change. Meanwhile, Obama is great the way he is.”

***
“After a series of political humiliations, Obama called on Republicans to change their course. Facing a general revolt against Washington, he proudly took credit for posting the names of White House visitors online. Promising to change the tone in Washington, he managed to be petty, backward looking, defiant and self-justifying.

“Barack Obama has lost his promise. He has lost his momentum. He has lost his touch. He has lost his filibuster-proof Senate majority. He has lost his first year in office.

“Tonight, he lost his grip on reality.”

***
“The public thinks Obama doesn’t get it; Obama thinks the public doesn’t get it.”