President Obama has his swagger back. Ignoring the electoral rebuke of 2014, he claimed the growing economy as a mandate for his progressive agenda, delivering a State of the Union address bristling with veto threats and challenging the Congress to stand with working families.

The speech was designed to rouse Obama’s popular majority coalition against the Republican congressional majority. While it ended with a long, soaring peroration about “one America,” in Obama’s signature voice, the speech itself threw down a gauntlet at Republicans, inviting a debate about direction that will frame the 2016 election. It presented a president willing to compromise but ready to fight.

To that end, Obama focused the speech about values and direction, not on programs. This made the choices clear – and neatly closeted the reality that many of the programs are gestures, not near the scope needed to deal with the problem addressed.

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Source: Campaign For America’s Future/Robert Borosage

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