I think Bob McDonnell gave arguably the best SOTU response I’ve ever seen — the choice to go with an audience is a big win. It still wasn’t a good speech, per se, but it didn’t suck. And that’s a triumph.
As for Obama, I thought it was just great. A reminder that Obama is fantastic at delivering formal speeches and has a fantastic speechwriting stuff. The past twelve months are a reminder that giving fantastic setpiece speeches has limits as a political strategy. You drop out of speech mode into the realm of cold, hard vote-counting and I don’t think anything’s really changed in that regard.