That was the thrust of reporter David Sanger's post-State of the Union "news analysis" on Wednesday, "Pushing Competition and Trying to Pull America Out of a Funk ."
At a moment when the momentum in Washington is driving toward slashing budgets and shrinking government, President Obama argued on Tuesday evening that the politics of austerity, mindlessly applied, would amount to a pre-emptive surrender to China, India and a raft of smaller competitors who are investing while Americans are cutting.
Mr. Obama was clearly seeking to pull America out of its latest funk, arguing that no country has a deeper bench, better universities or a more entrepreneurial spirit. But he also portrayed those as fragile assets, and his bet is that Americans expect their government to preserve the country's lead, a view that puts him in direct competition with Tea Party-fueled calls for a diminished Washington.
In some ways his warning was reminiscent of the Obama style circa 2008. As a candidate, he prided himself on ignoring the passions of the moment, not letting hyperventilation on cable television or predictions of impending political doom drive his tactics, much less his strategy. His coolness, his detachment, seemed a political virtue after eight years of an intensely ideological presidency.
Pushing for government control over health care isn't "ideological"?