The President gave the State of the Union last night, laying out his policy goals (targeted spending, increased exporting, a five year freeze on federal discretionary spending, a defense of the health care reform bill, amongst other things), using the speech to frame the coming battle with Republicans over priorities for the next two years. The Republican response, delivered by Rep. Paul Ryan, seemed to me to suffer from the same lack of specifics that have plagued the Republicans for the last year. They will eventually have to produce a Continuing Budget Resolution for this year, since the current one expires in March. That will, along with the vote to raise the federal debt ceiling, will bring the flash point between the President and Republicans and could lead to the government shutdown I believe is coming.
The President threw out plenty for the Republicans to like, including an offer of tort reform in health care and reductions in the corporate tax rate. But the battle will be joined, even with the President moving towards the center. The Republican hard right is about to overplay, and with that overplay the President will be poised to recapture the center (and that big bloc of independent voters).