These are lines President Barack Obama hoped to deliver years ago.
“The verdict is clear,” he said in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. “Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way. We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things…it will have earned my veto.”
Obama has been imagining his presidency in these terms since he was a senator, but for six years he’s been buffeted by the prospect that he would never oversee the kind of economic improvement that left many people with positive feelings about Obamanomics. Way back in early 2008, in remarks that ring more awkwardly, but no less prescient, than they did at the time, Obama told the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal that “Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.”