Aside from the particulars of the policy proposals made by the President last night, I was happy to hear his robust defense of the role played by government at the federal level. Our ideal of a representative democracy composed of 50 states is not 300 million maverick independent contractors trying to cut in line to get the best reward. There has to be a fair balance of competition and cooperation. Some things, big things, as he said, are done best when we act together. Some things won’t get done unless we act as a majority. At large in the land is a gathering attack on the idea of governing at the federal level, of national public action funded by tax dollars. I won’t repeat Pres. Obama’s examples and exhortation to get back on the high road of responsibility and vision. I was glad to hear his words on this and his passion. There is a reason that places like Massachusetts chose the word “commonwealth” as a way to describe the organization of the state. The “United” in USA doesn’t mean that certain states share borders like Vermont and New Hampshire. The President talks often of the nation as a work-in-progress making its way to a “more perfect union.” I liked his urgency last night. I liked his faith in Americans to do five things at once. To do big things now and for the future.