My opinion? The whole thing reaked of campaigning for me. Half expected him to burst into another Al Green song half way through, just for giggles. My idea of what a SOTU speech should be is so far removed from the speeches I've seen, and that's disappointing. Last year, I thought he did a really good job with his speech, even if it was more "follow me" and less "here's where we're at, here's how we move forward". I particularly enjoyed last years portion regarding education.
This year, though...If I'm honest? He came across as fake. His business proposal to bring companies back to the U.S. is essentially a mimic of the model Texas uses to attract businesses moving from other states....and it won't work on a national/international scale because we just can't compete on labor.
Then he discusses an energy policy that is half dem-centric and half con-centric, but proposes it as if nobody on the right has ever tried to do exactly what he's suggesting (from the con-centric side, that is).
His coverage of education was weak, and his "community college --> 'career center'" idea disturbs me. We already have tech/trade schools. We already have tech/trade degree programs at comm college. Turning these schools into "career centers" would likely eliminate the two-year-then-transfer model many students use to save money on college by distorting course offerings so that they more closely mimic tech/trade schools. I DID agree with him on "teaching to the test" but his "solution" was nothing but a list of vague platitudes. And what about a progress report on the system implemented to replace/modify NCLB? I didn't hear much on that.
He proposed some interesting legislation, some things I'm sure both of the parties could come together on....but then he wants to throw the legislature under the bus on the SS tax cut extension, completely ignoring that the very real chance at a 1-year extension was shat upon and dismissed in favor of a 2-month stop gap over some very paltry issues....and that failure is bi-partisan, IMO.
Overall, I felt like I was listening to a stump speech in a swing state, and I don't like that. I don't want you making promises and stroking your ego. I want to know what's been done, what you think we (the country, not you) need to do more, and how you're working with the rest of govt. to get it done. The "I will", "I did", "I want", "I signed" approach grates on me. He may be the biggest cog in the machine, but he's still one cog. If we're expecting an atmosphere of mutual contribution and bipartisanship it can't be about the president's accomplishments or desires.
And because it'll come up: Yes, I'd say the exact same things about the format/delivery if it were a republican president. This isn't about Obama's affiliation, it's about his presentation.