I have to admit, the combination of face and accent takes a little getting used to.
I *think* he's misread the tone of the times. He's staying admirably on-message, parroting the Republican party line exactly, but that message hasn't been convincing people lately, and it's not clear that they're going to start doing so now.
Moreover, he's making a tactical mistake: while he is talking "bipartisanship", he's conspicuously attacking the Democrats by name, exactly as Obama *didn't* attack the Republicans. The result comes across as -- I dunno, disrespectful. Even a little smarmy. It'll play well to the Republican base, but I suspect it'll play weakly with the independents.
Oh, I am *not* liking the coding behind his health care message. He's trying to duck the hard problems in health care reform, exactly the ones that Obama is showing some signs of maybe wrestling with. I'm not surprised, but I'm increasingly annoyed by the Republican cant that trying to make health care efficient is all about taking choice away from people. (I mean, let's be real: it *is* partly about that. But there is no way to reform health care without making those choices more rational.)
Indeed, the biggest problem is that his tone comes across as generally patronizing, surprisingly so. I suppose it's what I should expect from The Daddy Party, but I find it grating.
The line he's drawing is quite explicit: Government Bad, People Good. It's not a terrible strategy, but it's an increasingly dangerous one. *If* the Democrats manage to govern responsibly for just a few years, it could break the back of that message. I'm not quite sure they understand the high-stakes gamble they're taking, by sticking so rigorously to a single ideological point.
Summary: Surprisingly weak rebuttal, especially coming from the man who has been touted as "the Republican Obama" so often over the past six months. Vague, adequate-but-unremarkable rhetoric, and not a single new word in the whole thing. The result comes across as simply rehashed and written by committee. In a word, stale...