Sep 9, 2011

Obama’s jobs plan: stimulus is still a four-letter word

There’s a rare and genuine sense of hope in Washington tonight since nobody shouted "You Lie!" or walked out of the Barack Obama’s much anticipated jobs speech to a joint session of Congress.

There’s a rare and genuine sense of hope in Washington tonight since nobody shouted “You Lie!” or walked out of the Barack Obama’s much anticipated jobs speech to a joint session of Congress. There was even slight praise from the Republican side that some of the proposals had “merit”. At last it might be political dysfunction, rather than the economy, than it is in decline in America.

Wonk-speak was banned from the unusually populist speech as the president abandoned his lofty style in favour of the language and disgust that Americans have for Washington right now. He calling out the Congress for hosting a “political circus” and claimed the unemployed shouldn’t have to wait another 14 months for politicians to take their responsibilities seriously.

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6 thoughts on “Obama’s jobs plan: stimulus is still a four-letter word

  1. William Fettes

    I’d like a source for the claim that Republicans won Congress based on jobs please? There’s not a scintilla of evidence for it IMO. The Republicans certainly won on incumbent dissatisfaction, general economic malaise and indicia of big government like bailouts and high deficits. But jobs had nothing to do with it, except if you use a bending over backwards gymnastic interpretation of austerity rhetoric.

  2. Michael James

    “The implications of that gesture cannot be overstated when trenchant Republicans nearly brought the US to bankruptcy just last month…”

    Funny, it takes both sides to craft a compromise, and Obama wasn’t prepared to do so.

    It took Pelosi and Reid sitting down with the Republicans to craft a compromise which ensured that while neither side got all they wanted, both got something they could agree to.

    Obama apparently wasn’t prpared to compromise, and faced with an entrenched Presidential position, the Republican’s saw no reason to give an inch in return.

    When the matter was taken out of the White House’s purview a result was agreed.

  3. William Fettes

    Mr James, Obama is a serial compromiser and regardless of how tough and unreasonable Republicans act, he treats them with unwarranted comity and collegiality.

    Though it’s certainly true that he is often too disengaged and aloof from the public and the necessary wheeling and dealing that it takes to achieve legislative objectives, he is certainly not been tough with Republicans in any sense of the term. Your attempt to characterise his approach as winner-takes-all does not accord with any recognisable reality.

    Pick any major legislative fight, including the Health Insurance Reform, the extension of the Bush tax cuts, or the debt ceiling debacle and it’s exactly the same story. Before you can blink, he’s offered up some huge concession to the conservative side before the real bargaining begins, he never throws a real punch, and he treats the slash and burn zero-sum game being played by Republicans as if they were reasonable negotiation tactics. I mean, it’s so ridiculous that a recent poll showed the unprecedented sentiment that even registered Republican votes believe Obama should do more to stand up to their own party!

  4. michael r james

    Indeed, it is a big criticism that “Obama is a serial compromise”. It is this that may well lose him the election because nothing he does will win a Tea Party vote, but he has lost some of his base that would like him to stand up as a democrat. Allowing the Bush tax cuts to roll over (for the richest few percent of Americans) and the weak health insurance reforms are two big ones.

    After the recent 5.8 level earthquake on the US east coast there was a joke circulating inside the Beltway: “Obama wanted a level 3.2, but the Republicans wanted a 5.8 so Obama compromised on a 5.8.”

    Without this characteristic of Obama this would hardly be a joke. So who knows how my namesake (at 2:51 pm) comes to his weird observation.

  5. Harley Dennett

    Even my tea party friends recognise that Obama (and Senate Democrats) were working from a starting point of compromise versus their own principled position. Actually they would phrase it more that the Democrats had realised their policies were a failure.

    On which issue won the House for Republicans in the mid-terms, the public polling put jobs as the number one issue. One thing to remember is that candidates who joined the tea party caucus were only half the pick ups in the House. The Republican’s main platform, that Boehner campaigned exclusively on, was ‘jobs jobs jobs’. Boehner himself credited the win immediately after the election to that platform. He had a mandate. Later they pivoted to a balanced budget amendment and the Paul Ryan budget.

  6. AR

    A stray line in the speech ought to be tattooed on Abbott’s forehead so that Gillard could see each question time – “we will implement the policies the people who sent us here wanted”. The similarities between Obama & Krudd are astonishing – both came to office with huge majorities leaving the other side is deserved disarray following years on disastrous decisions, wars, vast deficits, economic partisanship producing falling real wages for the average worker and then ushering in the GFC, which was not an aberration but an inevitable, predictable result of such policies.
    To hell with the pre-emptive buckle, pick an issue, push the reasons why it is sensible and legislate. Stop trying to reason with the unreasonable.

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