Reuters blog archive
from The Great Debate:
Comprehensive immigration reform still looks uncertain on Capitol Hill as the principles laid out by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and the other members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” slowly evolve into legislative text. But Rubio’s lead role in this has been crucial. Equally important, was the template Rubio provided by engaging with media of all stripes – conservative, mainstream and online – to sell the idea, and his party, to audiences outside the usual Republican comfort zone.
Diagnosing what ails the Republican Party has become a favorite Beltway pastime. But it’s clear that rebuilding the brand among Latino voters tops the “to-do” list. President Barack Obama defeated GOP nominee Mitt Romney by more than 20 points among Latino voters, according to many exit polls. The GOP has a small amount of time until this trend is set in stone.
Enter Rubio, who tackled an historically difficult issue – particularly for the GOP’s conservative wing, with whom he is identified. His immigration principles had to withstand scrutiny on the right and address the White House’s moving goalposts on the left. The first-term senator faced the challenge of dealing with both ends of the political spectrum without losing his balance.
Rubio’s template has been to speak with everyone – from conservative radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin to Spanish-language interviewers on Univision to influential websites like BuzzFeed, where he expounded on everything from Tupac Shakur to his immigration plan.
from Thinking Global:
President Barack Obama devoted just one sentence in last week’s State of the Union address to call for a new transatlantic trade and investment deal. However, if negotiated with sufficient ambition and presidential engagement, it is Obama’s best chance yet at leaving a positive foreign policy legacy.
The other global issues Obama catalogued in his speech were largely about avoiding the worst: North Korea, cyber threats, Iran, Syria and other Middle Eastern upheavals. Achieving what Obama called “a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” however, has all the makings of grand strategy.
from The Great Debate:
More than 25 years ago, Representative Jack Kemp told me, “In the past, the left had a thesis: spending, redistribution of wealth and deficits. Republicans were the antithesis: spending is bad.”
He went on to explain, “Ronald Reagan represented a breakthrough for our party. We could talk about lower taxes and more growth. We didn't have to spend all our time preaching austerity and spending cuts. The question now is: Do we take our thesis and move it further, or do we revert to an anti-spending party?”
from The Great Debate:
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama talked about the importance of upgrading America’s aging infrastructure. He told the story of how our company, Siemens, recently created hundreds of manufacturing jobs in North Carolina. He quoted our U.S. CEO as saying that if America upgrades its infrastructure, we’ll bring even more jobs.
But there’s another important reason we chose North Carolina, along with more than 100 other manufacturing sites in this country. By manufacturing in the U.S., we get proximity to our largest market; highly skilled workers and crucial software engineers in the Research Triangle, educated at some of the world’s best universities; ready access to ports for export, and cutting-edge innovation that we can link directly to our manufacturing sites. All in a business-friendly atmosphere.
from The Edgy Optimist:
President Barack Obama made the middle class the focus of his State of the Union address on Tuesday. He was lauded by some as fighting for jobs and opportunity, and even for launching a “war on inequality” equivalent to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1960s War on Poverty. He was assailed by others for showing his true colors as a man of big government and wealth redistribution.
Yet the initiatives Obama proposed are striking not for their sweep but for their limited scope. That reflects both pragmatism and realism: Not only is the age of big government really over, so is the age of government as the transformative force in American society. And that is all for the best.
from Chrystia Freeland:
President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech this week confirmed it: The pre-eminent political and economic challenge in the industrialized democracies is how to make capitalism work for the middle class.
There is nothing mysterious about that. The most important fact about the United States in this century is that middle-class incomes are stagnating. The financial crisis has revealed an equally stark structural problem in much of Europe.
An increase in the minimum wage and universal pre-kindergarten education were part of the centerpiece of Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this week. These proposals address both income inequality and low academic achievement. Expanding pre-k education would benefit all states that would be willing to participate. According to the Council of State Governments:
Today, 39 states provide funding for 4-year-old kindergarten. Nine states plus the District of Columbia offer pre-K to all 4-year-olds. No state provides universal pre-K programs for 3-year-olds, although 26 states provide pre-K for some 3-year-olds, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research.
from David Rohde:
He quoted Jack Kennedy but sounded more like Lyndon Johnson.
In an audacious State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama made sweeping proposals to reduce poverty, revive the middle class and increase taxes on the “well off.” While careful to not declare it outright, an emboldened second-term president laid out an agenda that could be called a “war on inequality.”
“There are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead,” Obama declared in a blunt attack one a core conservative credo. “And that’s why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.”
from Mark Leonard:
Children grow up learning that politics is the “art of persuasion.” Ideas, arguments and facts can clash through debate and lead to policy choices. Although Barack Obama’s prodigious oratorical skills recall politicians of centuries past, the purpose of his rhetoric is different. His goal is not to change minds but to identify all the people who already agree with him and painstakingly craft a governing majority out of their atomized preferences.
With his State of the Union address, President Obama combined the two most powerful tactics of modern politics – big speeches and big data – to spur political action.
from Front Row Washington:
If the State of the Union speech is the artisanal homebrew of the political year, State of the State addresses are buying tall boys in bulk.
History suggests that President Obama will deliver 7,000-odd words in his address. So far in 2013, governors in 44 states have laid out nearly 200,000 words of State of the State stock-taking. Carving this rhetorical thicket into what's relevant to national politics and what's not provides a survey of support for current policies, a sense of how new proposals may be received and a reminder that states churn with concerns far beyond the issues that will be wedged into primetime TV.