When the Soviet Union lurched ahead of us in the space race, America's leaders launched a national effort to surpass the Soviets. For Obama, by analogy, the federal government has to be the prime mover in leading and catalyzing America's comeback in education and in economic growth. We cannot understand Obama without recognizing that he believes the private sector can't create or innovate without paternalistic direction and googobs of money from the wiser beings in Washington.
"We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time," he said. "The first step ... is encouraging American innovation." Note that he didn't mean "encourage" in the sense of getting government off businesses' and people's backs. He means the federal government should proactively prod, direct and lead us into the promised land of economic growth.
He credited government for providing money for "basic research" and "cutting-edge scientists and inventors" throughout history, without which the hand of the free market would have been not only invisible but also impotent. As a result, he pledged from his command-control perch to "invest in biomedical research, information technology and especially clean energy technology" (that PC token can never be omitted) -- "an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet and create countless new jobs for our people." So far, they've been "countless" indeed. This is just one example. Read the transcript and you'll see that throughout he betrays his blind faith in the indispensability of government action to job growth.
It would be bad enough if Obama's ideas merely retarded their stated goal of restoring job growth. But they necessarily involve Keynesian prescriptions of throwing obscene and budget-busting amounts of federal money at this ephemeral solution. Even if Obama wanted to reduce the deficit and debt, his economic philosophy would compel him always to spend more and would prevent fiscal responsibility.
If you listened to the speech and came away believing Obama is receptive to moving to the center, then you didn't hear or understand him. For the GOP to make headway on restoring fiscal sanity to this nation, it must first understand him. Then it must oppose and reverse him.