First, Dahlia Lithwick has nice take on Justice Alito's now infamous head-nod:
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the president’s criticism of the court’s decision, although as Linda Greenhouse points out, he was less than precise in his description of the holding. But there was also absolutely nothing inappropriate about the justice’s reaction to him. Both the president and the justices are political actors, and all are entitled to screw up their faces and grumble in public as they see fit. Anyone who’s watched Alito at oral argument at the high court knows that he screws up his face and mutters to himself all the time. The suggestion that he was showboating or grandstanding last night is spectacularly unfair. Unlike several of his colleagues, Alito is meticulously polite, balanced, and measured on the bench, and goes out of his way to shun big drama. I’m sure if Alito could take it back this morning he would. I’m equally sure that if he attends the next SOTU at all, he won’t move so much as a muscle.Second, Ilyad Somin has a great post over at Volokh, attacking the idea that the Bush administration pursued free-market reforms:
In the State of the Union, Obama continued to blame Bush and the Republicans for our current economic problems. This is understandable for two reasons. First, the GOP does deserve a good deal of blame, though my list of their misdeeds would probably look different from Obama’s. Second, pretty much any president in Obama’s position would do the same thing.
Much less defensible is Obama’s attempt to claim that the Republicans purused free market policies during the last eight years, and thereby caused the economic crisis:
"From some on the right, I expect we’ll hear a different argument — that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts including those for the wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is that’s what we did for eight years. That’s what helped us into this crisis. It’s what helped lead to these deficits. We can’t do it again."
In reality, of course, the Bush-era GOP greatly expanded government control of the economy, including major increases in spending, regulation, and federal “investment” in education. I discussed this at some length here, here, and here. Far from “maintain[ing] the status quo in health care,” Bush established the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the biggest new government program since the 1960s. Ironically, Obama referred to the prescription drug program and other Bush-era spending increases as contributing to the deficit earlier in this very same speech.