Obama did not mention Amy Chua in his State of the Union.

But the Tiger Mother, who is everywhere these days, was hovering over his speech like Banquo’s ghost.

He mentioned China four times in the speech.
  • Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world.
  • Just recently, China became the home to the world's largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer.
  • China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation's infrastructure, they gave us a "D."
  • Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs here in the United States.
The implication was clear. Even as he talked about the “Sputnik” moment, he was really saying America,this is the “Tiger Mommy” moment, wake up, because a “D” is NOT an acceptable grade.

He wrapped his speech in a nostalgic paean to American exceptionalism – the nation founded on an idea, the one that went to the moon. He laid out the American dream - the chicken in every pot became the car in every driveway. But that was then. Now a la Tiger Mommy he was laying out the battle plan.
  • Raise expectations for every child.
  • Prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.
  • And the coup de grace: We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.

Because China is doing just that. Last week a local Indian weekly in California was trumpeting about 7 Indian American semi-finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search and that was just from Northern California. Semi-finalists!

China and India have “started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science.”

The hidden fear embedded in all the brouhaha about Amy Chua’s memoir (even as she insists it’s not a parenting guide) is  not that she is bringing up her children with the so-called tough love of the Chinese method. It’s that, as Nina Martin wrote on New America Media that those children will compete for places at Harvard and MIT with other Americans, the ones who “wasted” their childhood having sleepovers and only two hours of trumpet practice.

Obama was spelling out the same bogeyman, except unlike traditional bogeymen this one aces math tests. The Asians are coming. They are making chop suey out of our apple pie.

China has faster trains and computers. South Korea has greater Internet access. India has learned to compete in the new world.

Already America owes jobs to the Asian tigers. Obama's trade deals with China and India will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States he said. The deal with South Korea will support 70,000 American jobs.

Speaking of jobs, notice how many times he mentioned "joblessness", "unemployment", or "unemployed".

Zero.

Note how many times he mentioned foreclosures.

Zero.

China: 4, Joblessness: 0.  How's that for the new math?