President Barack Obama made it clear in Tuesday's State of the Union address that his campaign for a second term is going to be all about the economy, opportunity, accountability and restoring the American dream.
Exactly what that means is yet to be seen, but there is little doubt he struck a chord with a long list of objectives he intends to pursue either by executive fiat or through Congressional action. Most deal with the economy, taxes and were aimed at middle-class voters.
"Now you can call this class warfare all you want," Obama said, responding to a frequent criticism from the GOP presidential field. "But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense."
His address was heavy on goals that could, in general, appeal to voters across the political spectrum, depending on how they were enacted.
n Make it easier for Americans to refinance their homes if their interest rates are above market rates.
n Spending half the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on infrastructure projects and the other half to reduce the deficit.
n Restore an economy "where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
n Shrink the gap between rich and poor and tax the wealthy more.
n Help students afford college.
n Create tax cuts for manufacturers and lower the nation's tax on businesses.
n Warn universities they will lose federal aid if they don't stop tuition from soaring.
n Setting a new minimum tax rate of at least 30 percent on anyone making more than $1 million. Many millionaires (including Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney) pay a rate less than that (last year, Romney's rate was just over 13 percent) because they get most of their income from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate.
As Obama said, many of those initiatives will be seen as class warfare, but it can be argued that a little class warfare — at least making the tax rate fairer and reining in some Wall Street practices that helped lead to the housing meltdown that brought down the economy — can be good for everyone.
If both parties could put forth a good-faith effort toward restoring an economy where someone with a decent job can — as they have in the past — afford a house, afford health care and afford to retire at a reasonable age, we'd all be better off.
How to get there will be the question.