Pictured: a Friedmanesque metaphor.

The President, last night.

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t even there yet. NASA didn’t exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.

That sounded oddly familiar. And it was!

The New Sputnik

I believe this Chinese decision to go green is the 21st-century equivalent of the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of Sputnik — the world’s first Earth-orbiting satellite. That launch stunned us, convinced President Eisenhower that the U.S. was falling behind in missile technology and spurred America to make massive investments in science, education, infrastructure and networking — one eventual byproduct of which was the Internet.

Well, folks. Sputnik just went up again: China’s going clean-tech.

Then there was Obama’s repeated calls to do big stuff.

But we need to think bigger. [...] We do big things. [...] We do big things.

And refrain that also felt lifted from somwhere.

Bigger Is Easier

President Obama faces an enormously difficult challenge over the next few weeks.

On the one hand, this moment is ripe for fundamental change. There is a pervasive sense that the nation is at a Sputnik moment when it either rises to face the international competition or it does not. [...]

Most important, the president will probably have to take advantage of the following paradox: bigger is easier. [...] This is the opposite of triangulation. Instead of finding small compromises in the middle, it marries big ideas on the left and right. In a polarized country, it may be easier to push through big change by marrying the left and the right than by relying upon an unfortunately weak vital center.

If I were President Obama’s English professor, I would take points off for not footnoting his sources. These are guys Obama most certainly reads regularly.

Remember, the President reportedly designated Mr. McBobo the official spokesman for “enlightened America.