I finally saw a replay of the thing last night. These are some random thoughts:
--A lone black guy in a room full of hostile white people; great teevee for Obama, a PR disaster for Republicans.
--Even worse for the Republicans, he looked like the only adult in the room. He talked policy while they stuck to their talking points. Even worse than that, he called them on it.
--Obama's famous cool served him very well. Despite the Fox News Network and legions of media wizards, Republicans as individuals and in groups do not come off well on teevee. They always look like sanctimonious bitter cranks. Curiously, former President Dubya's alternating boyishness and arrogance worked much better on teevee than solemn recitations of hostile rhetorical questions.
--Very interesting that Obama pointed out to them that their intransigence and hostility only hurts themselves. The right's vilification of him and their all-or-nothing approach to policy boxed them into a corner. Any effort to get some bit of policy that they might favor into legislation would only look like weakness, and that their more fanatical base would punish them for it, even if they were successful.
--I noticed that Fox was the only network to cut away from the event to voice-over and commentary. Very telling.
--The Republicans will never do this again, and whoever agreed to that whole set up yesterday is probably looking for work today.
--I can't think of any of Obama's predecessors who would have been able to bring off anything similar. Nixon? -- a man famous for a career full of public melt-downs? not likely. Carter? -- he'd sound like an irritated Sunday school teacher; which he did anyway. Reagan? -- "Well, there you go again," might work well with Carter, but not with a roomful of hostile Congressional representatives. The Gipper never was very good in debates and discussions. Clinton? -- too temperamental. Dubya? -- are you kidding? His handlers went out of their way to make sure he only got softball questions.
Good show, Mr. President.