I had only one thought as I drifted in and out of sleep while listening to President Obama's non-State of the Union -- he really is the second coming of Ronald Reagan. I mean that in both good and bad ways.
Obama, like Reagan, has figured out how to drive the opposition party completely nuts without compromising his ability to govern. Like Reagan, Obama is able to communicate effectively directly with the American people. I suspect his "going public" strategy will net him significant legislative accomplishments.
However, Reagan was elected on a platform of massive tax cuts, massive increases in defense spending, and balancing the federal budget. Older readers of danieldrezner.com might recall that he was never able to reconcile all of these aims, and as a result the budget deficit ballooned.
After listening to Obama's speech, I find it utterly implausible that the United States can fund energy alternatives, impose a "market-based cap" on carbon emissions, engage in comprehensive health care reform, and institute massive education subsidies, while also halving the federal budget deficit in four years.
Seriously, am I missing something? How does that circle get squared?
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.