Wading into the snarkville that Twitter becomes during the State of the Union is, well, let's just say ... interesting. If you were looking for a higher-level discussion, you had a lot of scrolling to do.
Still some tweets highlighted elements of President Obama's speech, demonstrating support or rejection -- or simply the fact that a particular policy was mentioned, a position taken. Afterall, one goal of the call and refrain of the SOTU and response is to set the debate for the year, and in this year's case, potentially for the 2016 Presidential campaign.
For a manufacturing advocate like myself, I would have liked to have heard the word "manufacturing" a bit more. Here's one look at the word cloud, from the speech:
"Manufacturing" is mentioned only once, near the halfway mark of the speech.
Another oblique reference to manufacturing came earlier in the speech:
The sentence following that comment was: "And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs."
Penny Pritzker, United States Secretary of Commerce, tweeted some specifics about that number, which focused on manufacturing:
Many of manufacturing's fiercest advocates, myself included, responding to that bit of news pointed out the other side of the story:
Business issues, in general, fared well in terms of mentions -- though those mentions likely caused business leaders to cry foul. Obama called for legislation to establish paid sick leave, equal pay for women and a minimum wage hike, as well as to strengthen unions.
In addition, he called on business leaders to take on a larger role in training and educating our workforce:
All of that is a tall order for businesses to fill.
Perhaps the biggest area of agreement -- as determined by the unscientific approach of noting the standing ovation on both sides of the aisle -- was Obama's call to hire more veterans. However, the mention was infrequently tweeted relative to other topics.
One big manufacturer weighed in:
On the surface, many other business topics seem ripe for debating, based on the two speeches, as both sides appear to agree that something needs to be done on tax reform and trade promotion authority.
Iowa Senator Joni Earnst delivered the Republican response featuring a more grim view of things compared to the President's upbeat assessment, and said loopholes in the tax code must be closed.
The two sides also appeared to agree on international free trade. Although Obama did note past agreements didn't always work out as they were envisioned.
Dig into the details though, and you'll find as wide a gulf on how to move forward on these topics as whether to move forward on some others where there's clear disagreement.
What's most concerning is that manufacturing is mentioned only once in each the SOTU and the Republican response.
Is the strong focus on strengthening American manufacturing fading?