With his job on the line, Obama made it clear that he will roll over Congress if it persists its toadying to corporate interests and the super-rich.
Get ready for battle, because there is little to no chance that Washington will reform itself.
It is reassuring to know that Obama is on the side of the 99 percent.
MEANWHILE IN MASSACHUSETTS
The rap against Governor Deval Patrick when he first took office was that he was too green, too idealistic to play the often secretive, always ham-fisted style of politics that define Beacon Hill. Not anymore.
Despite its admirably progressive tone, Patrick's State of the Commonwealth speech was very old-school. It is what the governor didn't say — or what he danced around — that is noteworthy.
The MBTA is in crisis. Fares will be rising, and service is going to be cut. Surely this warrants public discussion. It seems, however, that this sad situation is going to be settled in the back rooms. Maybe that's for the best, but we doubt it.
A more complicated and nuanced case is the proposed "three strikes" law, which is racist, economically punishing, and won't reduce serious crime.
Patrick says that he will sign such a law only if it is limited to truly "heinous" crimes and is linked to widespread criminal-justice reform such as abolishing mandatory minimums for most drug possession.
Despite what appears to be strong resolve on the governor's part, there is way too much wiggle room in his approach. We fear Patrick is playing chicken with justice.
The governor's proposal that the state's 15 community colleges be recalibrated to educate and train students for jobs that require more than a high-school education but less than a bachelor's degree is spot-on.
It is hard to imagine that there was not a degree of coordination with the Obama White House, which put forward the same worthy idea in the State of the Union.
What makes it frustrating to evaluate the State of the Commonwealth is that, while Massachusetts is poised to take the lead in education, it seems ready to surrender high ground in terms of public transportation and criminal justice.