SOTU Live-Blog IV

* Immigration rap same as in recent speech. Members from both parties generally applauding. Totally deferring to Congress at this point.

* You knew he had to take shot at House for not having passed VAWA reauthorization. Nice that he linked it to pay equity.

* Minimum wage increase proposal a bit of a surprise. Interestingly, “no working family should have to live in poverty” right out of Clinton playbook (I’d guess Bruce Reed wrote the line). Glad he mentioned indexing minimum wage, along with comparison to corporate exec pay.

* Quick reminder of nexus between middle-class initiatives and economy, and then quick jump to Afghanistan. This speech may be long, but it’s economical in its structure.

* Big anticipated applause line: troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. Boehner claps, doesn’t stand.

* Fighting terrorism “through a range of capabilities”–very veiled reference to drones. Now veil lifts a bit, with promise of transparency on counter-terrorism efforts.

* Kinda sad that he can’t talk about non-proilferation efforts without first talking about Iran.

* Cyberterrorism–which GOPers barely mentioned during Hagel hearings–gets a pretty serious treatment. But he’s on shaky ground with internet security/privacy.

* Didn’t realize we needed a free trade compact with Europe, but whatever.

* Global anti-poverty initiative will make Tea Folk crazy.

* Reference to Israel at end of Middle East section will make neocons crazy.

* Elevation of same-sex-family benefits and women-in-combat items to same stature as “strongest military in the world” will make old white conservative men crazy.

* We knew it was coming, but the election rights pitch strong until the actual proposal. Really, a bipartisan commission? That’s how we got HAVA.

* Looks like gun regulation will be the altar call. Interesting that he’s making “a vote in Congress” his demand.

* Conservative effort to shame Obama over gun violence in Chicago may have backfired.

* Wow. Calling out various gun violence victims as “deserving a vote” getting biggest applause of whole speech–but not from Boehner & Co.

* Interesting device of using “real people” at end of speech to reinforce earlier themes. 102-year-old voter hard to beat. Wish we could do more for her than bipartisan commission.

* Very subtle shaming of Republicans going on in the coda, along with communitarian theme that will make libertarians crazy.

And that’s it. Next thread will begin recap and responses.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.