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You Shall Not Leave This Unpassed

by on October 5, 2011

In a kind of amalgamation of Uncle Money Bags giving out money for passing go, Gandalf fighting a balrog, and Aragorn rallying troops, President Obama gave a stump speech a month ago in front of congress demanding and cajoling that they pass the American Jobs Act – now!  It left me wondering why President Obama planned the speech at a time when I had other commitments. It reminded me, as happens every time I listen to Obama – and it reminded several million others – why we voted for Obama.  It left Howard Fineman wondering “where has that Barack Obama been?”.

This classic Obama campaign-speech-in-the-hall-of-Congress was a month ago.  The bill has not been passed – in fact, it hasn’t been voted on or scheduled for a vote.  Just like Gandalf demanding that the balrog not pass, Obama, in demanding that the bill pass, has not succeeded.  President Obama hasn’t yet been dragged to the depths of the Earth, transformed from the Gray Rider to the White Wizard.  If that’s what it takes for a bill to pass Congress, something is seriously wrong.

Just after the speech, a prescient blog by Kevin Drum saw there was no “legislative road to passage here. The incentive for Republicans to obstruct everything that comes from the White House remains the same as it’s ever been, and it remains as strong as it’s ever been. Helping the economy helps Obama’s reelection, and that’s no good for Republicans. And making sure that everyone in America hates ‘Washington’ is good for Republicans.”

Meanwhile, PM Carpenter mused that Obama “sounded rather done with the preposterous business of bipartisanship, at least with these particular boys and girls.”  He has indeed sounded the horn of action, demanding that congress pass a bill to create jobs.  Andrew Sullivan knew who Obama was addressing. “This was a blunt, potent, confident attempt to win back the hearts of a disillusioned base, while appealing to the center in ways Republicans may feel a little leery of rejecting, given their already deep reputation for obstructionism.”  That was written just after the speech, and should be forgiven for having hope that the Republicans would at least vote.  There has been no vote to “pass this bill!” which is stupid of the Republicans on at least two fronts.  People know which party doesn’t want the bill to pass (and has said that there will be no vote on it); this will not win Republicans an election in 2012, if that is their goal.  If the usual ‘drive the bums out’ mentality prevails on a dissatisfied electorate, guess which party is in power to be driven out.  That would be the Republicans: the party that ran in 2010 on turning the economy around.  An issue they refuse to vote on.

So it turns out, as someone wrote, that “[Obama] really did have a plan. The contrast between this and the pleading speeches and press conferences he gave around the debt ceiling debate is incredible. He ate his Wheaties this morning.”

And as he said at a fundraiser in Los Angeles: “if this is what class warfare is, count me in!”

From → Economy, US Politics

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