The government shutdown crisis was an example of a Xanatos gambit - "Don't choose one road to victory; choose so all roads lead to victory". The Republicans were left with a choice between giving in without achieving any of their demands or carrying on with the shutdown and making themselves even more unpopular.

Obama's speech is setting up his next Xanatos gambit. Listing some reasonable targets that could be achieved by December 13; publicising them; building expectations for what congress could and should be doing over the next 2 months.

Either he gets that legislation passed - and he gets the credit as a competent leader who proposed this in the first place - or it doesn't get passed - and the Republicans get the blame - making it more likely that the democrats will win back congress next year.

The republicans can be reasonable and let the democrats get their program into law or they can be unreasonable and lose the election and see the program made into law by a democratic congress.

The job of congress is to troll the republicans at every turn - seem reasonable and agreeable while picking at those tender spots that will make the tea party crazy.

* Agree the deficit is important and claim victory because Obama has managed to make progress in reducing it.
* Agree the deficit is important and that is why we have to make cuts in welfare for farmers and coal and oil and finance companies
* Agree the deficit is important and that we need to increase taxes on the rich in this emergency

* Agree that terrorism is a problem and that is why we must cut spending on ships, planes and tanks (none of which are any use against terrorists) and focus military spending on smaller, more professional forces, able to help with nation building.
* Agree that terrorism is a problem and that is why we need to spend more on primary schools for girls everywhere.

* Agree that abortion is a problem and that is why we need to make contraception and women's health clinics more easily available to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
* Agree the lives of unborn children are important and that is why we need to help pregnant mothers with more time off and free medical care and a special welfare payment. If an employer can't offer pregnant women a sitting down job then they should get paid leave.

Make them own their policies which increase the deficit and undermine security and hurt mothers and babies.

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