It's been a rollercoaster week in the political world, beginning with Hillary Clinton shifting the gears of her campaign by holding her first big rally, which was immediately followed by the man we're going to call "Jeb! Bush!" finally officially announcing his own candidacy.
Trade deals are one subject (one of the very few left) which do not break down on party line. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are split over the issue, so it's not a repeat of the usual partisan battle lines. But it is a clear defeat for Obama, who lobbied hard to very little effect.
We're going to begin today with a rather loaded question: How much attention do you think the media should be paying towards a presidential nominee who is right now getting 13 to 15 percent support in public opinion polls of their party's voters?
Jeb Bush, in case you haven't heard, spent the entire week coming up with a believable answer to one question After watching Bush twist in the wind this week, we can't help but wonder if the 2016 Republican nomination race is going to closely resemble the 2008 Democratic nomination fight.
When it comes to the 2016 field of Republican presidential candidates, the rule of thumb this time around is obviously going to be "the more, the merrier!" The number of officially-announced Republican candidates actually doubled this week.
Bernie Sanders deserves the Most Impressive Democrat award this week, because he threw his hat in the ring. No, he is not Elizabeth Warren. But, more importantly, he is running to become president, which she is not.
Strange but true, the "Scooby van" is now part of our political lexicon. Hillary Clinton herself is apparently to blame for this one, as this was the playful name she came up with for the van she used to get from New York to Iowa this week.
You can tell it's been a slow week in politics, when we're wasting paragraphs on such trivia. But that's life here at the meager beginnings of the 2016 campaign trail. It's April, after all, and we've only got two announced candidacies, officially.
A few months back, he announced a major shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba, ending a half-century of frostiness, and this week the outlines of a deal to avoid a war with Iran were unveiled, thawing a relationship that froze over back in 1979.
Before we get on with all the politics, we have two unrelated announcements. The first is tomorrow's quirk in the calendar. Actually, today is quirky as well, if you're a friggatriskaidekaphobe, since it's Friday the 13th.
Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. is this week's Most Impressive Democrat of the Week award-winner, for doing a much better job arguing the case for President Obama's interpretation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court than he did the last time around.
Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington D.C., deserves at least an honorable mention, for standing strong in the face of threats of jail time from House Republicans, for allowing the will of the voters (70 percent of them) to become law this week.
The GOP wasted no time in creating yet another self-induced government shutdown showdown. Not even two full months into their control of Congress, and they are pushing a critical federal department towards shutting down, all in an effort to make a political point.
Barack Obama is the second Honorable Mention recipient this week, for his impressive public opinion polling on job approval in January. He had his best month (measured by month-to-month improvement) of his entire second term, and the fourth-best month he's ever had as president.
Most of our article today is going to deal with Obama and his speech, ending with the snappiest portions as this week's talking points. But before we get to that, let's take a quick look at what the Republicans have been up to, as well as some other minor political news of the week.
This was a busy week in politics, as the Republicans in the new Congress began a bout of legislating and President Obama ramped up his agenda in preparation for next Tuesday's big speech to Congress and the country.
Je suis Charlie Hebdo. In fact, let's go even further: Nous sommes Charlie Hebdo. Because we are all Charlie, this week. However, most of the American media cravenly allowed the terrorists to dictate their editorial policy this week, which is truly disappointing.
How do bad laws get made? Quickly, for the most part. No, that's not a joke. The worst laws nearly all have one thing in common: They are rushed through very quickly, usually because Congress is facing some self-imposed deadline.
It's that magical time of year when the wee folk of Capitol Hill actually get something done. These brief bursts of activity only happen very rarely, of course, and always immediately proceed another one of the many, many long vacations Congress takes during the year.
When Congress wouldn't pass a bill, the president had to act on immigration and deportation policy, to keep families intact -- a measure that affected 40 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Many are now pointing out that Warren's elevation pretty much assures she won't be running for president in 2016, but then we never really believed she would run in the first place. At this point, she'll be much more effective within the Senate Democrats.
Republicans in Congress just won a smashing electoral success by essentially doing nothing but mercilessly block Obama's agenda. That, to put it another way, is a winning formula for them with their base voters.