"It may be that this speech will be remembered mainly in its attempt to demonstrate through ambitious proposals the limits of the American political imagination, that it will demonstrate to the world, which already is doing a lot of what the president last night merely proposed this country should do, everything that the United States, acting through its Congress assembled, declines to do for its citizens. Because the president was right in a lot of what he said last night. Science really is important. Education really is still the silver bullet. The climate really is changing. The bridges really are crumbling. Some things really do have to be done. It is in the shaming where the president’s optimism truly shines through. It implies that there is a conscience buried somewhere in the opposition, that there were lessons learned last fall when the Republicans put their purest vision of government up for public approval and found it rejected during a weak recovery and with unemployment still edging toward eight percent. It assumes that reservoir of good faith in which he placed so much of his own faith back in 2008 is still down there somewhere, waiting to be tapped. It was a very moral speech, calling on members of Congress – some of whom got where they are by railing against lazy welfare cheats and the undeserving poor – to earn their public salaries in the face of their private financial arrangements. It is that optimism that allows him, still, to ask, not for a vote in favor of his policies but, simply, a vote on those policies, a statement of purpose on behalf of the country by its elected representatives. To borrow a phrase from old George Jones, he thinks they still care. Some day, people are going to gaze in awe."