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I was fairly pleased with the jobs speech last night, as I suspect the bulk of this community was as well.  I also like what appears to be a tougher more pugnacious Obama 2.0.  Hopefully he sustains it and I sincerely hope it works.  He has a history of digging a hole and then extracting himself from it late-ish in the game.  Look at his campaign as of September 14, 2008, the health care bill's passage, the lame duck negotiations.  The outcomes on the latter two weren't great but they were fine, not real pretty to look at the process, but ok in the end.  Can't say, though, that there wasn't a foreboding that the worst was yet to come.  

Then came the debt ceiling fiasco. A real big hole.  Now maybe the jobs speech and the American Jobs Act is the first step towards digging out of this hole, but Digby has a
great post from Friday afternoon that is very smart and very ominous.  She explores how really deep the hole is.  

If you want, you can skip my inadequate commentary and just go ahead and link to Digby's post.


But if you want, indulge me for a minute.  Digby linked to a Charlie Cook item  that discusses this 36 page power point from a Republican pollster named Bill McInturff.  McInturff's work is pretty sensible, as both Cook and Digby observe, and really offers a lot to think about.  He recaps a lot of surveys about how repulsive the public found the debt ceiling negotiations, and conducted focus groups that reinforced these findings:

People report a deep sense of gloom about the economy.The absence of hope the economy might get better drives the sense of despair they are feeling about what is ahead.

Not pretty.  McInturff thinks that the debt ceiling ugliness is an inflection point (he calls it a "signal event") that will leave a real lasting impact.  Cook agrees -- and stresses McInturff's conclusion that this whole process led to a collapse in confidence in both the president and congress and their ability to get anything done.  Cook wrote this before the jobs speech and asked his readers to look at McInturff's work after hearing the jobs speech, and evaluate whether anything has changed.  

Ever the optimist, I think that the jobs speech shows at least that the President gets it. Brilliant analyst and observer that she is, Digby draws much much more from all this.  She quotes McInturff's conclusion and captures every bit of gloom in it

Historically, though, this type of deep voter anger, unease, and economic pessimism leads to unstable and unpredictable political outcomes

She rehashes what happened to cause this and has a great insight about the "lost moment" during the lame duck when he failed to nail down a debt ceiling deal.  She thinks that the president didn't want to make a deal then:

However, it seemed clear to me from January on, when Cantor famously said the debt ceiling was a "leverage" moment, that the administration had decided that was their opportunity to pass the Grand Bargain. The debacle that followed was, in my view, mostly a result of that quixotic desire.

She goes on to capture the essence of what was so wrong:  "What's more frightening than watching someone negotiate with terrorists -- and lose."  So that's how big a hole he's dug himself in.  Reading all these pieces makes me really nervous about what's ahead.  But maybe the debt ceiling stuff was the presidential campaign as of September 14, 2008, and the jobs speech (with the actions that hopefully will follow) will mirror how well he and the campaign seized the moment after McCain's gaffe and rode it to victory.  

We have ample reason to be pessimistic, but hopefully this time it's different.  Krugman revealed that the administration gave him an advance copy of the speech, evidently not for his approval, but just because they wanted to accomodate his travel schedule and give him a chance to write his Friday column about the speech.  The column was pretty, pretty positive.  Maybe I'm naive to Washington's ways, but I don't think the administration would have been as accomodating to Krugman if they were going to give a weak tea jobs speech.   Like I said, hopefully this time it's different.  Otherwise we're looking at some really "unstable and unpredictable political outcomes."

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Comment Preferences

  •  I heard he was inspiring. (6+ / 0-)

    Just like in 2008.

    Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" was one of the last great melodies in music history before all possible good melodies apparently got exhausted in the late 80s.

    by dov12348 on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:16:44 AM PDT

  •  I'm less concerned with Obama's campaigning... (7+ / 0-)

    I'd rather see him fix stuff.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:20:26 AM PDT

    •  He Can't Fix Anything, Campaigning is the Sole (7+ / 0-)

      thing he has under his control after last November.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:30:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Profoundly defeatist and decidedly untrue. (0+ / 0-)

        It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

        by Murphoney on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:33:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No- it's very true. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "I'm not scared of anyone or anything, Angie. Isn't that the way life should be?" Jack Hawksmoor

          by skyounkin on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:41:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There are many things he has influence over (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But many things he does not. On the whole, he became less powerful due to the November elections.

          In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

          by blue aardvark on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:46:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  His job became harder, yes, and the prospects for (5+ / 0-)

            Democratic agenda, which were pathetic and unreasonably weak before Nov'10, were weakened further and forced into the light -- undoubtedly.

            But, as far as I can tell, the extent to which the President and the Presidency itself 'is less powerful' since the last election has been due largely to his choices and by his choosing.

            It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

            by Murphoney on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:23:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I must disagree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Congress matters a very great deal, by design of the Constitution. Do you not remember "checks and balances" from HS Government?

              The transfer of power in the House from Democrat to Republican matters a very great deal to the legislation which Obama can hope to pass. To say that Speaker Pelosi and President Obama would have arrived at the same debt ceiling deal as Speaker Boehner and President Obama did is utter madness.

              In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

              by blue aardvark on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:31:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think you are using the Republican obstacle as (4+ / 0-)

                a de facto excuse for the President's lack of effort.  As I see it: just as additional weights added to the bar do not make the man weaker, neither do additional obstacles -- even supposedly insurmountable ones -- make the President less powerful.

                This is not a matter of 'checks and balances' any less than it is a matter of 'co-equal branches'.  Where the House holds the purse strings, the President has the option of tugging the Nation's ear until it bleeds.  He has a bully pulpit to use for leverage if he ever chose to lean on this one political party he nominally leads or even that other party of his obstructors who could be made to feel the heat of their own friction.

                I don't see the House as the President's undoing, I see it as his challenge and responsibility. He still needs to deal with it because he has not done so as of yet.

                It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

                by Murphoney on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:47:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  To use your analogy (0+ / 0-)

                  A House run by John Boehner is a weight of 200,000 tons on the bar.

                  But you still expect Obama to lift it using the special "bully pulpit" technique.

                  Have you not noticed how many times polls show that the Democratic position is more popular than the Republican one, and how infrequently Republicans care? They don't answer to popular will, and they still win elections because the system is not responsive to popular will.

                  In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                  by blue aardvark on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:01:05 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have no forgiveness for the President whose job (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    shaharazade, Russgirl

                    is hard -- if he tries everything, he needs none; if he doesn't, it won't help.  The job was hard before took it and it still will be, later.

                    With regard to heavy things -- the "b.p." technique is actually leverage -- tip them over until they are standing on their heads.

                    With regard to public polling -- where it says one thing while the House does another, I have seen the White House do little and say less.  That's the problem.

                    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

                    by Murphoney on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:21:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Then you are not rational (0+ / 0-)

                      He lacks all power, including any and all conceivable uses of the bully pulpit, to make the House do any single thing.

                      If you can't deal with that, you are making excuses for the Republicans being assholes, and that does not sit well with me. Their evil unpatriotic obstruction matters. Blaming Obama for not somehow overcoming the Republicans is illogical, counter-productive, and amoral.

                      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                      by blue aardvark on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:30:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Needless to say, you have not made your case. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

                        by Murphoney on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:37:54 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  He has a voice he only uses to campaign. (0+ / 0-)

                        Dems are also pretty silent - as all we hear are rude crazies from the Right.

                        No one knows what the Dems stand for as they are too busy gathering CASH for their next election... .03% own 84% of wealth in Amerika... that is WHO pols listen to... not the broke, tired, frustrated public who actually believe in democracy!

                        Words are cheap - by not going after the banksters and the criminal Cheney/Bush Cabal... we continue sliding backwards, per their plan.

                        Easier to control, n/t.

      •  From Yesterday's Daily Kos (9+ / 0-)
        "Hundreds of ideas on how the executive branch can create jobs without congressional action"

        Now, admittedly, a portion of the ideas in that diary DO need Congress.

        but there really are a ton of things Obama could do with just the executive branch that could help a lot.

      •  He could use signing statements... (0+ / 0-)

        "In signing this bill renaming the following Post Offices, I would like to indicate that I believe my clear Constitutional duty as President is to rebuild the transportation infrastructure connecting them to the tune of $450 billion dollars over the next 18 months."


        If GWB can do that, I don't see why Obama can't too.

    •  Ditto. Been waiting a few years now. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
  •  Well It Took a Democrat to Set Up the Entire (13+ / 0-)

    population to get used to underfunding their Social Security.

    If that part goes through, they'll end up in 10 years with the votes to cut it back severely for the people on it now.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:31:27 AM PDT

  •  Tipped & Rec'd ...Mainly For Digby In Title (6+ / 0-)

    She is indispensable for anyone trying make sense of the political discourse. I am not in agreement with her often, but when she nails it, it rings very true.

    Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

    by frandor55 on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:37:39 AM PDT

  •  So...using the hypothesis in the article, one can (5+ / 0-)

    infer a couple of things.

    1.  There will be another "moment" in the time between now and the election.

    2.  Perhaps this anger is deliberately created.  You create the anger, and then you use it as a weapon against the other guy.  The American people are angry about the economy.  They are angry because they don't have jobs.  Harness that anger and use it to pass a jobs plan, and oppose those who block said jobs plan.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:41:23 AM PDT

    •  Agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't know if the jobs plan strategy is eleven dimensional, but it could easily work out the way you've descirbed it.  Like I said, they've managed to screw things up royally in the past, but hopefully this is a way to start clawing back.

  •  President started at the end, not the beginning. (11+ / 0-)

    Like all the previous major negotiations the administration has been involved in, the jobs proposal is where we should end up, not where we should begin.  Get ready for another disappointment.

    Proposing more than 50% of the bill as tax cuts plays right into the hands of the Republicans.  They will of course accept all or most of the tax cuts and probably propose additional tax cuts.  By excepting the Republican false premise that tax cuts will stimulate job growth, the administration has put itself in the corner.  How can they possibly respond when the Republicans come back with a bigger tax cut proposal?  The administration continues to help the Republicans "Starve the beast" and we will get unimaginable cuts in very needed government programs because of it.

    •  yup (6+ / 0-)

      if you described this proposal as "mostly tax cuts followed by giant spending cuts", you would be correct.

      there are some great things in the bill (UI extensions and infrastructure spending, for example).

      Unfortunately, they are only small portions of the proposal.

      •  the trade deals suck (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jeopardydd, Russgirl, Murphoney

        as 'job creators' so do the cuts and so called tax breaks for small businesses. People are broke business is bad because no one has money to spend. How can you hire people when your revenue is down. The jobs bill seems to me to be another free trade/free market double down.

        It is another attempt to spin out of control crisis capitalism as a solution. Reminds me of healthcare reform where they blew off the public option even though it was popular across the board. Even my 'conservative' son liked it. Instead of reform his insurance plan was deem a Cadillac, and he now pays more for less.

        The job bill is ass backward in that it still revolves around trickle down voodoo economics. Good speech however and maybe it will help 'confidence', but confidence doesn't put food on your table or pay your mortgage. It's still unhinged from the real economy.

        As for the executive having no power what a lame excuse. The Democrat's had a majority and a public ready for change. They blew it off with procedural rules bi-partisan (complicit) dirty backroom deals and unbelievable kabuki including hostage taking. The unitary executive concept is alive and growing just look at what this administration is doing via the courts to normalize Bushes abuses.

        The Democratic Party either fight's for the people or it will lose. They have already made it quite clear to every one that they are not willing to as they are the new Democrat's the ones who represent the Democratic version of the theory and practice of oligarchical collectivism. This jobs plan will not work as it leaves the banksters and assorted pillagers in charge and looks at our economy as nothing more then an impediment to free market global ism.

        What to do with the losers said Obama in 2006 at the Hamilton Project launch. Looks like we the people are all the losers and were being 'sacrificed' to  failed unfettered capitalism. Obama is good at rhetoric and selling, but at a time like this I can't see how the victims are going to line up and vote for some more of what's killing the economy. Bait and switch is hard to pull off when you have the head of the Third Way as a CoS and you refuse to implement policy that reins this mess in.

        digby rocks.    

    •  The payroll tax cuts (0+ / 0-)

      are not as GOP leaning as other types -- more middle class friendly because they increase the paycheck on day one.  They'll put money in people's pockets, but whether people spend it is another question.  One thing that's better than the last time they did the payroll cuts, is that they are at least letting the world know about it.  When they did it before during the lame duck, they didn't publicize well, so the right wing noise machine convinced people that their taxes were still high.

      Regarding your main point, though, Benen had a good post yesterday that this time they may have learned the lessons of pre-emptive concessions.  I know tha there's a lot of bad precedents from this crew, but I'm hoping it's different this time.  But what do I know, I'm a Democrat.

      •  The Payroll tax cuts are not good (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bronte17, means are the ends, liberte

        What will you do with the extra money?  Some will pay debt (no demand there), some will save it (same problem), some will buy toys like a boat, snowmobile, jet ski (that's counter to the industries America needs for it's future), others will buy big screen TV's, other electronic gadgets (that helps China far more than us).

        No, the government could FAR better use the money on building the Alternative Energy infrastructure that is absolutely critical to America's future.

        The government CAN and MUST spend money on the jobs that will build America's future, not let the general public piss it away on the senseless stuff that grows China's economy and makes a workable future for America nearly impossible.

        •  The cuts are positioned to put it in Congress's (0+ / 0-)

          lap.  Entirely agree that spending $447bn on infrastructure would be most stimulative, but it would be DOA in this environment.  I'm comparing the payroll tax cuts as being superior to GOP pet cuts like estate tax reduction, corp tax cuts, upper income tax cuts.  

          I look at the tax cut portion of the Jobs bill (1/2 of the package) as part of the strategy show that this bill should be attainable/passable in this congress.

      •  Then Pay For Them Elsewhere (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Pay for them directly from the general fund rather than have Social Security increase the deficit because it's income stream is being choked off.

      •  If eating the seed corn is middle class friendly, (0+ / 0-)

        then yes.

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam - Washington isn't broken -- it's fixed.

        by chuckvw on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 09:14:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Financing Jobs Bill by Cutting Safety Net (10+ / 0-)

    Will make the deep hole even deeper.  Raising the bar for Medicare to 67 will really kill people and devastate their finances.  They won't ever forget that.  Does Obama think we are fools?

  •  I'm hoping he has seen the light but am (6+ / 0-)

    very afraid he will decide to make "entitlement" cuts as part of his way to pay for the Jobs Act.  I just hope he gets good advice and leaves this issue alone.

  •  I'll make the sacrifice (6+ / 0-)
    Krugman revealed that the administration gave him an advance copy of the speech

    Dare I say it:  The professional left.  

    There, I threw my first bomb.  

    Back to being serious.  If the president understands the hole he is in AND takes concrete steps towards the left side of his party, he'll win reelection.  

    The left side of the Democratic party is where you find the policies mainstream America supports overwhelmingly.  

    If the president "stays the course" of appealing to the center, he will lose.  

    Truman said it best:  "If you give the people a choice between a watered-down Republican and a Republican, they will choose the real thing every time."

    I also thank the one who rearranged deck chairs on the Titanic so those on board ship could get a better view of the iceberg.

    by NyteByrd1954 on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:26:37 AM PDT

    •  Not only are they mainstream policies (6+ / 0-)

      THEY WORK!  Look at the economic turmoil throughout the world.  It is ALL caused because governments implemented the anti-government, anti-regulations, pro-corporation policies of conservatives.  Those countries, some northern European, that actually stuck to a liberal philosophy of we're all in this together and government needs to guard against the religion of uncontrolled "free market capitalism", have done much better than those that let the banks run the country.

  •  Well.... (0+ / 0-)

    The rethugs wanted to discredit the President and they have succeeded way beyond their wildest dreams.  But, in the process, they have also pointed out how horrible they are for the people of this nation.

    Heckofajob Brownie!

    But, for us?  Where does that leave us?  What part of our system functions at all?  What part WILL be functioning in the years to come?

    What will the people's response be if the jobs bill doesn't pass?

    Over 50% now have $26M or less income.  The insecurity is upped by threatening SS and medicare. I am planning on going to October 2011 action

    Regardless I don't think we have the luxury of a year and 1/2 to wait for the rethug mentality to finally come to grips with the enormity of the results of their actions.

    What say you?

    We have a generation of leaders – Merkel, Sarkozy, Obama, Cameron – who don't seem to have the faintest idea of what they're doing. Politics is now nothing more than people saying hopeful things with their fingers crossed... - David Hare

    by glitterscale on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 11:02:21 AM PDT

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