Inside Higher Education, a great web publication that covers all sorts of things related to college and beyond, pulled together a bunch of rhetoric and communication professors to grade Obama's big speech yesterday.
Steven J. Farsonworth, University of Mary Washington (grade: A-):
...Obama gave a compelling sermon on that day every four years when many citizens worship together at the American church.
Mary E. Stuckey, Georgia State (A-/B+):
...It will likely be remembered for its mentions of gay rights and for his insistence that the journey is unfinished and possibly for his argument that our national principles endure but national policy must change to fit context.
Ronald C. White, Jr., Lincoln biographer (B+):
...I believe this was a stirring speech but not one of his finest speeches. Despite its foundation, he tried to do too much, and spoke throughout in the same intense tone. The speech will serve as a "guiding star" for his intentions in the next four years.
William Brown, Regent University (B):
...My overall grade of B is probably generous. The speech lacked transcendence. I predict the speech will not be remembered.
Martin J. Mendhurst, Baylor (C+):
...It was not a speech for the ages.
What did you think of the speech (full text here)?
Here's a 90-second look at how Obama's first-term promises stacked up against reality. Take a look!