Morality drives policy. Too often, progressives have tried it the other way around, then looked on in dismay as conservatives led with their moral view and won one policy fight after another, even when polling showed most Americans disagreed with conservative policies!
On Thursday night, President Obama didn't make this mistake. Instead, he spoke to our better angels, confidently, forcefully and inclusively. He seized the moral authority with his grammar and demeanor: "Pass this jobs bill" is an imperative sentence; it attributes authority to the speaker. The repetition is a reminder of moral authority.
The speech was remarkable in many ways. It was plainspoken, Trumanesque. It focused on the progressive moral worldview that has from the beginning been the life force of American democracy. In virtually every sentence, it was a call for cooperative joint action for the benefit of all.