First, nothing new in the speech -- it was totally predictable. I am not saying that it was a bad speech, mind you. Obama has his way with words, but the substance is just so thin. It is full of generalities and lacks much substance.
Here's an outline of the speech. Sure, admittedly, it's a smart-alecky take, but there's, I hope, some truth in the statements below.
1. We are gone from Iraq. Hooray -- even though so many cautioned against a full, fast pullout.
2. I killed Bin Laden. I demolished al-Qaeda. Bush who?
3. Jobs left, followed by mortgage crisis, but we are fine and dandy now, even though unemployment still hovers at 10%.
4. Obama defended the bailout of auto industry (FYI: many of GM's cars are produced in Mexico, Chrysler is owned by FIAT and Ford didn't get a bailout).
5. Manufacturing should be back, and unionized factories work great! Notwithstanding Steve Jobs' arguments or this interesting analysis in the Economist.
6. He wants to fix the tax code, and give tax breaks if companies bring jobs home.
7. Blame China for job losses, create CSI: Trade Enforcement Unit. (great article in the Slate bashing this approach).
8. More education: more money, nothing about prodding colleges to provide the right skills to students in a fast-changing and extremely competitive world economy.
9. Immigration reform please -- something that people had pushed him for but never taken.
10. Fair wages for women (which is admirable, though there are studies doubting whether the gap does exist).
11. Energy policies: America's oil production is at its height. No mention at all about the Keystone pipeline, the Solyndra scandal, or the fact that the economic slowdown causes Americans to use less oil.
12. More infrastructure-building -- I will let Walter Russell Mead respond.
13. The notoriously unfunny "spilled milk joke." (Obama stated: "We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill – because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.")
14. Creation of CSI: Special Mortgage Unit.
15. Yeah, WE ARE THE 99% BABY, TAX THE RICH. (Oh, before Obama builds a shrine to the almighty Warren Buffet, he should try reading this and this.
16. Hey Republicans, you should work with Obama, and by that, Obama means the usual game: Obama doesn't listen to you and he uses either procedural maneuvers or has a lackey justify his breaking of various precedents.
17. No, Obama doesn't lead from behind. Of course, he's always up front, especially when he knows that we are winning.
18. Obama to Iran: don't cause trouble in this election year. I warned you!
19. America is respected from the north to the south pole.
20. And remember, I killed Osama bin Laden.