“By using his State of the Union speech to draw sharp contrasts with Republicans on such high-profile issues as taxes and the housing market, President Obama opened an election-year debate on the role of government that could be more intense than any in decades,” according to the L.A. Times.
“Warning Congress that ‘I intend to fight obstruction with action,’ he painted a confrontational picture that stands in sharp contrast with the conciliatory approach taken by the last Democrat to seek a second term, Bill Clinton.
“In fact, Obama’s strategy more closely resembles that of George W. Bush in 2004, who used polarizing issues to increase turnout of his supporters and made few concessions to the center. The approach increases the chance that if he wins a second term, Obama could claim a mandate for his program. It also carries more risk of failure in a nation still deeply skeptical of government activism.
“Only a few months ago, many voters had seemed on the verge of writing Obama off. But in recent weeks, two developments have given him a chance to ask those voters for another look. One is the economy, which has started to show signs of improvement — declining unemployment, rising consumer confidence and reduced levels of household debt. The other is the way the Republican primary race recently has focused on the vast wealth (and relatively low tax burden) of the party’s sometimes front-runner, Mitt Romney.”
The rest of the article is here.