THE RAP ON RUBIO
NEW YORK TIMES
The ubiquitous 41-year-old — who’s on the cover of Time as “The Republican Savior” — looked as if he needed some saving himself Tuesday night as he delivered the party’s response to the State of the Union address in English (and Spanish). He seemed parched, shaky and sweaty, rubbing his face and at one point lunging off-camera to grab a bottle of water. He needed some of the swagger reflected on the Spotify playlist he recently released, featuring Tupac’s “Changes”… Right now, Marco is like a paper doll, trying on different outfits of style and substance as the party oohs and aahs. As Nicolle Wallace, the former adviser to Sarah Palin, gushed to George Stephanopoulos: “He’s modern. He knows who Tupac is. He is on social media.” And “he’s close to the younger Bushes.” Who could ask for anything more?
THE PRESIDENT’S CHALLENGE TO CONGRESS
NEW YORK TIMES
President Obama’s message in the State of the Union address was clear: It doesn’t have to be this way. The country doesn’t have to get bogged down by demands for endless austerity and government contraction. It doesn’t have to defer investments in education and public works. The poor don’t have to remain on society’s lower rungs, and the middle class can aspire to do better. Mr. Obama said his proposals to bring about growth with government action would not have to raise the deficit. What is required to move the country forward is political will, which has been missing for too long. While many of the president’s proposals were familiar, and will probably be snuffed out by politics, his speech explained to a wide audience what could be achieved if there were even a minimal consensus in Washington.
LET THE BLEAK TIMES ROLL
Obama made clear that he is not entertaining serious spending cuts or major entitlement reforms. Republicans, in their responses, repeated that they are not budging on taxes. The hard choices will have to wait for another day. The standoff gives new meaning to Fat Tuesday: The nation’s finances are a mess, but — what the heck? — let’s have another round. No wonder a new Washington Post poll found that 56 percent of Americans have a dim view of the country’s political system. … In reality, we eventually need both spending cuts and tax increases — and lots of them. But sacrifice will have to wait. In Washington, they’re still partying like there’s no tomorrow.
A BOLDER PRESIDENT’S PROGRESSIVE BLUEPRINT
In the end, the policy heavy nature of this State of the Union hearkens back to another element of Clinton’s SOTU speeches. Those were premised on the notion that Americans want policy — they want to hear their president spell out, in as much detail as possible, where he wants to take the country. The realities of Congressional opposition to Obama’s agenda remain very real, and it still remains to be seen what Obama and Dems are prepared to give away to secure a deal to bring down the deficit. But Obama laid down a firm set of priorities that he hopes will define his second term. If Obama’s Inaugural rooted the call for a progressive agenda in the country’s past, today’s speech offered a policy-heavy roadmap for a progressive future.
THE PRESIDENT’S PLANS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Mr. Obama has never lacked for confidence, and perhaps he is right that he can steamroll his opposition in Congress, or in the 2014 midterms. But it’s also possible that his re-election and a fawning press have made him too confident that the country wants as much new government as he seems to believe. The polls show voters think spending is a bigger problem than lack of revenues. And for all his bragging Tuesday night of economic progress, his policies have produced a recovery with a mere 2% growth and falling middle-class incomes. Without faster growth in the private economy, his grand liberal plans will vanish faster than he imagines.