Did you watch President Obama’s State of the Union address last night? Here’s a roundup of articles and analysis that we found interesting this morning. In the comments section, share links to your favorite articles, as well as your thoughts about the speech, the president’s policy ideas and his priorities.
In State of the Union, Obama Presents a Powerful Progressive Agenda
“In the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Barack Obama sent a clear signal: He will vigorously pursue an unambiguous progressive agenda in his final years as president. Universal preschool, boosting the minimum wage, passing gun-safety legislation—Obama delivered a left-of-center demand list for Congress and his administration.” David Corn, Mother Jones
The President’s Dream State
“When, at the emotional high point of the speech, Obama declared that ‘Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote,’ it wasn’t just a rhetorical flourish; he was alluding directly to the impasse and gridlock that defines Congress. When he promised to direct the Cabinet to ‘come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution and prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change,’ he was issuing a threat to Republicans: If you continue to needlessly block legislation, I will go around Congress and find other ways to implement my agenda.” Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect
How’d It Go?
“We were prepped to think this speech would be aggressive, confrontational, sharp, a shower of adjectives. My sense was a bit different. I found the tone aggressive, more declarative, less exploratory. The subtext was: I’ve made up my mind. And yet it was actually replete with references to potential points of bipartisan compromise — virtually every one he tried to strike over his first four years in office. The tone was simply different. I’d describe it like this: We can do this together. But if you won’t, whatever guys, I’m done with that.” Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo
“President Obama never used the word drones in his State of the Union address. But drones were all over it. They’re the unspoken force that is shaping his agenda.
A minute into the speech, Obama reported, “After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.” … Who’s coming home? Our people. Who’s taking their place? Machines. By outsourcing our global police work to remotely piloted aircraft, Obama was able to spend almost his entire speech talking about domestic challenges instead.” William Saletan, Slate
“Barack Obama’s fourth such address left a trail of foreign-policy cookie crumbs that lead directly to some pretty clear, if hardly surprising or revolutionary, conclusions. His first term contained no spectacular successes (save killing Osama bin Laden), but no spectacular failures either. And more than likely, that’s what the president will settle for in a second, even as the Arab world burns and rogues like Iran and North Korea brandish new weapons. He’s nothing if not a cautious man.” Aaron David Miller, Foreign Policy