Obama speech a time machine for liberal dreams OBAMA’S SPEECH A TIME MACHINE FOR LIBERAL DREAMSNot only will this package not pass a Republican Congress, it wouldn’t have passed a Democratic Congress. Some of the items actually already got rejected by Democrats and others he would never even have proposed for fear of forcing a difficult vote for Democrats. A tax on college savings funds? An increase in the death tax? Yikes! The headlines are delicious, but the proposals are all empty calories. Even after the president gives Republicans a black eye for blocking his Robin Hood act, there’s still not political nutrition here. As we have seen in other States of the Union, the enthusiasm of January produces a bitter autumn harvest when promised results do not materialize. But because Republicans will blockade the measures, the president feels at liberty to offer pie in the sky since no vulnerable Democrat will ever be forced to vote on the issue. Remember, these are not policies that have been broadly popular in his party. Quickies - What on earth is the president going to say about national security? He can stretch out Cuba, but unless the ghost of Che Guevara is a special unannounced guest, that’s pretty small beer. As surveys show, Americans are increasingly worried about the threat from Islamist militants and terrorism. The president doesn’t have much good to say on that front. And the magnum opus of his foreign policy – a deal setting parameters for Iran’s nuclear program – is looking very shaky today with word of a new Russo-Iranian military pact. The president may look to make good for his no-show in Paris with a little français from the podium, but foreign policy references will be hard to come by. What liberals dream may come - While even the president’s staunchest defenders acknowledge that the president’s proposals are irrelevant from the perspective of governance, the hope on the left is that the economic policy will become a new litmus test for candidates of both parties and leave a lasting legacy for the president. John Cassidy captures the vibe, writing “Simply advocating tax cuts for the masses will reshape the politics of the next couple of years, and, particularly, the 2016 Presidential election.” How it would come to pass that this medium-bore version of the president’s ever-present economic policy would become the gold standard for both parties next year is a mystery not even Nero Wolfe could solve. But in order for the speech to be more than self-congratulation for the president, there’s got to be more than just hot air. The legacy bit will be ringing in the ears of every viewer of every establishment outlet. Baier Tracks: The state of the State of the Union… - “President Obama is clearly not acting like a man whose party suffered historic losses in a midterm election, and he hasn’t from the first day after the November blowout. Now, with an improving economy that he will attempt to take credit for, low gas prices that are helping fuel optimism and spending and at least one new poll putting him back up to 50 percent job approval he will, in his words, go ‘on offense’ against Republicans in Congress. That may cheer up his supporters after a painful 2014, but what we haven’t heard much about is where the president is willing to negotiate to advance key issues this year. Maybe this address will lay out his areas for potential compromise, but so far we’ve been left to wonder. The president will likely spend a lot more time on domestic issues than on foreign policy -- barring, we expect, a significant chunk on his executive actions on Cuba. He is known for his preference for domestic issues over international ones, but there is another reason the president may stay focused on the domestic front. His foreign policy portfolio currently has a lot of holes in it, especially given growing public concerns about the rise of Islamist militancy around the globe and new concerns about terrorism. Recent polls show public approval for the president’s foreign policy lagging his overall performance by nearly 10 points. State of the Union speeches are usually shopping lists for what a president is trying to pick up in the aisles of Congress’ policy superstore. But this president doesn’t have a lot of buying power. So what we may be seeing is his wish for what he hopes will be the political future for his party after he has left office. We’ll see.” – Bret Baier. Ernst’s big night - With Iowa Senator Joni Ernst set to deliver the GOP rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address, the Des Moines Registeranalyzes the makings of a good rebuttal and the three ways to assess her response including: what she says, how she says it and how it plays nationally as this will be the first glimpse of the freshman senator for most of America. House GOP beefs up real-time response - Check out the House Republicans’ live feed here with fact checks, responses and some behind-the-scenes moments. The accounts @SpeakerBoehner and @HouseGOP will also be in full effect. The House Republican Conference will follow that up with a radio blitz on Wednesday to discuss the address. Upton calls for Obama to back medical technology - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton can boast one of the few areas to have seen bipartisan breakthroughs in a gridlocked Washington. The 21stCentury Cures initiative for spurring medical advances has been a hit on both sides of the aisle. Ahead of the speech, Upton and his Democratic counterpart Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., are calling on the president to make it part of his 2015 agenda.