The president should also have trotted out a message that was big, bold, and positive. The reason he didn't is because raising taxes on the wealthiest in our country isn't any of those things. It won't create growth.
The president chose not to talk about reforming Social Security, except to say that we'll do it later, or about raising the retirement age for Medicare. Instead, he issued a veto threat for any legislation that reforms Medicare without raising taxes on the affluent. Doing so made him look negative, petty, and preachy. The left loved it.
Here are some of the words the president didn't say last week: American dream. Entrepreneur. Private sector. Productivity. Certainty. Success. Happiness. Hope. He didn't speak to "the better angels of our nature," as Abraham Lincoln once put it. He didn't call us to greatness. Instead, he made us resent the other guy.
Time is running out for the president. Historically high numbers of Americans continue to think we're on the wrong track, unemployment stays stubbornly high, and consumer confidence is abysmal. He's blown opportunity after opportunity to draw the country together, to make the moral case for his cause, to bring out the best in all of us.
I keep asking myself: Whatever happened to "Yes We Can"?