The era of no politicking is over. Tuesday’s State of the Union speech laid out a rationale for the Obama presidency that stands a chance of enduring through Election Day 2012. The choice is between backward-looking Republicans who talk grumpily about government spending and “Obamacare,” and forward-looking Obama Democrats who would use government – carefully and efficiently, of course – to restore American leadership and a humming, innovative economy.

No, E.J. Dionne, let’s not be grumpy just because we’re drowning in debt. Nobody likes a frowny face. It is the line quite a few columnists are taking: “President Makes Democrats the Party of Optimism,” says Joe Klein in Time. Look, I want to win the future and am proud that the Chilean miners were rescued using can-do technology from an American company (though I seriously  wonder if the Pennsylvania business the president extolled in his SOTU could get off the ground in today’s harsh economic climate). But this is ridiculous.

There’s optimism and then there’s mindless optimism. There’s adult optimism and then there’s the optimism of the spoiled kid who believes mom and dad will always be there to pick up the tab for reckless behavior. Joe and E.J., you gotta grow up. But Joe and E.J. aren’t the only people who think that they can trick mom and dad into writing more big checks.

The SOTU was the speech of a kid who thinks he put on the right language and charm mom and dad into the poor house. As Charles Krauthammer observed (“The Old Obama in New Clothing”):

This entire pantomime about debt reduction came after the first half of a speech devoted to, yes, new spending. One almost has to admire Obama’s defiance. His 2009 stimulus and budget-busting health-care reform are precisely what stirred the popular revolt that delivered his November shellacking. And yet he’s back for more.

Peggy Noonan also has an excellent analysis of the speech, including the president’s failure to focus on what’s really important now:

The speech was more than half over before the president got around to the spending crisis. He signaled no interest in making cuts, which suggested that he continues not to comprehend America’s central anxiety about government spending: that it will crush our children, constrict the economy in which they operate, make America poorer, lower its standing in the world, and do in the American dream. Americans are alarmed about this not because they’re cheap and selfish but because they care about the country they will leave behind when they are gone.  

But he was upbeat, Peggy!

Hotair sums up Robert Samuelson’s column on the SOTU this way: “Obama’s not really going to address the debt crisis, is he?”

The Republicans have got to take care to strike a sober but not grim attitude in the new happy talk Washington, but they have to continue to make the adult case that we can’t afford this much longer. They have got to make the case that repeal of Obamacare is not “re-litigating the past” but moving forward in the new and necessary program of cutting the government spending that has our economy frozen. But the Democrats have found their new philosophy: Don’t worry! Be happy! Keep spending!