The Irrelevant President

Ezra Klein calls tonight's SOTU from President Obama "the most important [speech]" of his Presidency. Perhaps so. But since the Village Dems and bloggers have declared Obama irrelevant and impotent, does tonight's speech matter to anyone but Obama? Kevin Drum writes:

[I]s President Obama going to rally the nation behind the cause of ambitious, wide-ranging healthcare reform in tonight's State of the Union address? It sure doesn't sound like it. [. . .] If Obama isn't willing to step up and take ownership of passing the current plan, what chance is there that Congress is willing to get out on a limb and take the risk itself? Not much, I'm afraid. I sure hope Obama and his advisors screw up their courage on this and do the right thing before the end of the day.

Perhaps. But it is hard to square the calls for Obama to "step up" with the earlier Village argument that Obama was a slave to the whims of the Senate.

Speaking for me only

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    'Most important' of his presidency? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:18:54 AM EST
    Well, I sure wish I had Ezra's fortune telling abilities.

    Is there anything of substance that has not already been leaked?

    But more to your point (none / 0) (#3)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:23:35 AM EST
    I heard an interesting take on things from a guest on David Sirota's radio show (unfortunately can't recall his name). He said it only plays into Obama's triangulation strategy when progressives make a lot of noise about Obama's tacks to the right, eg. the spending freeze. therefore perhaps the best thing to do is treat him as irrelevant.

    But Ezra and co. aren't disciplined enough to stick to that strategy.


    Has obama even had a Presidency of his own? (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:05:05 PM EST
    Or has it been just "more of the same"? And by "same", I mean the same "same" Obama told us we would get if a Republican President was elected in '08.

    They've really painted themselves (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:21:16 AM EST
    into a corner over there at the White House.

    It is amazing to me.

    I guess they really do not understand the difference between a campaign and governing.

    Results matter.  I get the distinct impression that they really think that all they need is affable rhetoric and what will ultimately be viewed as pyrrhic victories to maintain their power.

    Big mistake, imo, for (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:20:05 PM EST
    top guns at WH to have been top campaign people. There was an article last week linked at real clear politics by a moderate/conservative pundit who pointed out what Clinton did right as Prez that Obama might learn from; this included getting rid of his circle of insiders who told Clinton whatever they thought he wanted to hear, and bringing in "outsiders" who knew D.C. & the process to advise.

    I don't know... (none / 0) (#87)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:18:36 PM EST
    They might have made a mistake in cutting the campaign team here.  Plouffe and some other key folks were given walking papers once Obama got into office. Interestingly, in Obama's case where he won a clear majority based on his campaign promises - Clinton did not have a clear majority of the country at all - since Obama did win a clear majority based on his rhetoric, part of his problem might be that for the most part he let the people who understood what resonated with voters go.  Instead, he chose to populate his inner circle with a lot of former Clinton folks whose ideas were out of date and out of step with the current political reality.  I keep getting the impression that Rahm is fighting the battles of the 90s rather than those of the current era.  But in terms of actually running a government, it seems like there's pretty thin experience regardless of the political ideology any of these people adhere to.

    Oh (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:24:44 AM EST
    He'll get a small bump after the speech - most presidnets do.  The country feels good and the POTUS seems decisivie, and half the hall is giving him standing ovations.

    Reality will set in again next week. Unless of course, the administration thinks that outpouring of love is an affirmation that all is well.


    Unless? (none / 0) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:36:17 AM EST
    You know that they will.  

    They seem to believe their own hype which is a classic and huge mistake in politics.


    Oh I think so too (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:37:59 AM EST
    but I'm trying not to be negtive all the time where the administration is concerned.  That was my one "positive" (or at least "not negative") comment of the day.



    Results Anyone? (none / 0) (#78)
    by norris morris on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:28:44 PM EST
    Leaks have been dripping all day. And unless Obama boldly claims responsibility for an agenda he can articulate clearly, he will fail to capture the credibility he has clearly lost among the left and independent voters.

    The HC fiasco will have to be explained. Duh.

    His failure to address the economy with urgency
    must be claimed, and an  agenda put forth that isn't a little savings nibble. Like the already leaked "freeze". The freeze represents a teeny amount in a sea of economic despair and hopefully he will have more to offer.

    And, can the president show he is capable of focus? Can he take on BigPharma instead of selling out? Can and will he be able to handle the BIG issues? And does he know what these big issues are?  We need to know.

    If this is just more talk, Obama will fail to connect.     And if he blames the big bad republicans, then he's letting us know he doesn't know how to handle the heat.

    And  I hope we won't hear Bi-partisan over and over.

    I am still waiting to find out what,why, and how Obama is going to do.


    I'll be watching the Nuggets tonight (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by magster on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:38:40 AM EST
    They are trying to win their 8th straight and get within 3 games of the all of a sudden beatable Lakers for top spot in the conference.

    I am getting to the point of intolerance for the sound of Obama's voice, like I did for Bush.  How far I've come in a year...

    Agreed, the swivel-headed teleprompter reading (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:13:22 PM EST
    has become so excruciating that I rely almost solely on transcripts to find out what's he's been saying. Even that is a slog.

    Is that what it is? I thought he (3.50 / 2) (#22)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:18:18 PM EST
    was sniffing the air for the taint  of his inferiors.

    Are you saying that he's sniffing taints now? (none / 0) (#34)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:53:55 PM EST
    Whose taints?

    Maybe he'll (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:33:40 PM EST
    get one of the first Apple iPad tablets and read it off there.

    I'd rather that he just got one of those (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:14:01 PM EST
    honkin big ring binders that GW Bush used to read from - with the 20 point text and about 100 words to the page. I timed him during several speeches and he turned a page about every 30 seconds.

    Obama shifts from the left to right teleprompter every 10-15 seconds. Drinking game: take a shot at every swivel. Let's see how the speech plays in hammered time.


    Drinking game on another lib blog (none / 0) (#41)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:20:47 PM EST
    already is set up, based on a list of words we can expect to hear.

    Just words.

    And again, it is another lib blog.


    Even funnier to read (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:28:52 PM EST
    the righties suggestions for a drinking game.

    Yes, this is from Jonah Goldberg today, but it made me laugh.

    Every time Obama suggests there's a consensus among experts about a proposal when there isn't, drink. Every time he claims to be aligned with the populist backlash he created, drink. Every time he suggests that History with a capital H demands that we do whatever it is he's talking about, drink. Every time he says that he's being  "pragmatic" or "bipartisan" when he's actually being wildly ideological or partisan, drink. And so on.

    My own preference is to drink every time he says something that will obviously cost me money. If that seems like an invitation to aclohol poisoning, you could narrow it down slightly by drinking only when something will cost you money and make the economy worse at the same time.

    Me, I feel like reaching for the Absinthe (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:43:54 PM EST
    when I think about Jonah telling us that what we needed running things in Iraq was another Pinochet; and when I think about his mom Lucianne writing things like "Bill finger f*cked Chelsea".

    Goldberg's the Summers of journalism: as in, no good reason for being there.


    Come to think of it (none / 0) (#59)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:46:49 PM EST
    fetal alcohol syndrome might be the explanation for Jonah.

    He'll be FIGHTING for us! (none / 0) (#60)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:51:14 PM EST
    Over and over and over.  

    Teleprompter politics (none / 0) (#80)
    by norris morris on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:34:06 PM EST
    I too have been cringing when I've watched of late, and turn him off.

    The head swinging and neck thrusting is one thing.   Er, but the teleprompter drone is sleep inducing and mechanical.

    Perhaps some learning has occurred re: how to make the big SOTU
    speech tonight will be worth listening to.


    Me too. (none / 0) (#23)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:21:03 PM EST
    Will Melo be back?  Can Birdman play?  Will Kenyon be on his best behavior?  Will I be able to get 4 tacos for a buck (with drink purchase) on Thursday?

    All these questions and more will be answered tonight!


    Will JR shoot 2-11 and go to the lockerroom (none / 0) (#39)
    by magster on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:18:06 PM EST

    It's time to ship... (none / 0) (#43)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:26:24 PM EST
    ...JR off to greener pastures.  Trade him for a big man.  Maybe the Knicks would take him for David Lee...  

    Thank the lord... (none / 0) (#56)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:22:11 PM EST
    Isiah ain't around anymore to jump at that deal.

    Melo is out tonight (none / 0) (#42)
    by magster on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:21:06 PM EST
    a commenter on denverstiffs.com said, citing play by play announcer's twitter post.

    Not surprised... (none / 0) (#44)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:27:35 PM EST
    ...seeing the way he rolled that ankle.  Coach ought to sit him until after the All-Star break.  

    Same for me (none / 0) (#31)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:41:45 PM EST
    There is no way I will be able to watch the speech. I might start throwing things at the screen.

    Wow, I just realized that (none / 0) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 03:05:12 PM EST
    when I hear him speak now I turn away or flip the channel.  It is as if I can't hear this anymore because it will not benefit me to listen to him and then experience what happens afterwards.  That's scary, this is newly learned behavior.  I won't be watching him. I had decided that over a week ago, but I did not realize that I don't want to hear the sound of his voice anymore....it now turns me off big time.

    Bill, never did this (none / 0) (#76)
    by Salo on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:03:37 PM EST
    Always compelling speaking, from him.

    All that matters is Obama tonight (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:38:54 AM EST
    Not his handlers, not his polling experts, nobody but his lone ace in front of the nation.  In my dream, he pulls a Howard Beale and lets loose a beautiful, mad, humanely populist rant.  That I've already awakened from that slumber speaks volumes about my optimism regarding the SOTU.

    By the way, Tent (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:40:42 AM EST
    I'm due for my regular message of appreciation to you, for all the time and effort and mental energy you put into this site.  It is always appreciated.

    Much respect.


    And, of course, to Lady J as well (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:41:56 AM EST
    She's the real life force behind this site. Many thanks.

    If Obama were an impassioned humane populist (none / 0) (#19)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:09:49 PM EST
    he would be capable of pulling off a Howard Beale style "beautiful, mad, humanely populist rant".

    Unfortunately, he never was, he still isn't, and he won't ever deliver on your dream or mine.


    trying to remember (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:46:09 AM EST
    has he ever given a speech that was not "the most important [speech]" of his Presidency?

    I'm with you (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:03:17 PM EST
    He's given more speeaches and teleprompter confrences then Clinton and Bushcombined intheir 16 years of office.

    When is "the one" going to figure out the American people are tired of speeches?

    He will re-frame, for the 20th time, his proposals which will still stink and we'll all laugh and say we heard that one already.

    he will blame Bush, congress, republicans, a straw man and everyone else while taking 1% of the blame to act humble and then move right back into bashing everyone else.

    Maybe the MSM and some progressive hacks will claim it changes the game but most of us (progressive and conservative) will roll our eyes and turn the channel.


    Matthews & Olbermann Carry Water (none / 0) (#82)
    by norris morris on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:42:06 PM EST
    and I cannot watch MSNBC as it's a pathetic cheering squad for Obama without any journalistic credibility or adherence to facts.

    Both of these guys are now being trailed by Maddow who used to be able to nail it, but of late Rachel has been timid about The One.

    My how they glide over the obvious incompetence and lack of leadership.


    Reminds me of (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:10:38 PM EST
    "the Very Special Episodes" of the ABC Afterschool Specials.

    My favorite was ER (none / 0) (#50)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:45:37 PM EST
    "The most powerful and epic ER ever!!!"

    Or until next weeks episode.


    That didn't begin 'Sasha, Malia get down here!'? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Ellie on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:33:39 PM EST
    Phew, tough one.

    Voters react to current conditions, they don't (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:48:58 AM EST
    think long term. It is a leader's job to do both. This administration seems incapable of doing either.

    Reagan was able to be a "transformational" (for good or ill, depending on how you see it) president because he spoke to and took action to address the burning issue that put him into office -- raging inflation that was pushing WWII and Silent Generation voters (who were reaching their peak earning years or retirement) into higher tax brackets at the same time it was undermining their purchasing ability.

    Furthermore, he (or his handlers) intentionally and skillfully used middle class concerns and anger as an opportunity to put policies in place that would mostly serve his party's wealthy corporate and financial constituencies (and disserve the Democrats working and middle class constituencies) down the road.

    Obama may like to praise Reagan, but he seems to have absolutely no clue as to what Reagan. Or how how he used his moment of power, and an historical moment of middle class anger, to transform our economy into one that better served, not the middle class, but rather his party's wealthiest, most powerful constituencies.

    If Obama had an ounce of actual political skill, and the smarts he is credited with, or, real interest in serving the working class, poor and middle class constituencies that support his party, he would realize that the economic pain and anger the majority of Americans are experiencing at this moment provides him with an opportunity to reverse the "Reagan Revolution." To turn today's populist anger into real gains for those in the bottom 80% of the economy who have been losing ground ever since, and because of, the Reagan Revolution.

    Instead, he seems to think the way to appease today's angry voters is to offer more of the same conservative ideology that has brought us to this particular brink of disaster.  

    Hey now, you are being too rough (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:52:25 AM EST
    on Obama.

    With McCain as his economic advisor, how can he go wrong? :-)


    Right, Obama is not irrelevant. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:49:12 PM EST
    He is a diligent pilot fish to a school of sharks: war profiteers, the non-renewable energy sector, the banking industry, the health insurance complex, big pharma, and all manner of modern day robber barons,

    They [pilot fish] have nothing of harm to dread,
    But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank
    Or before his Gorgonian head;
    Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth
    In white triple tiers of glittering gates,
    And there find a haven when peril 's abroad,
    An asylum in jaws of the Fates! (Herman Milville)

    At some point the reign of this idiot elite (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:43:14 PM EST
    (who are chopping off their feet to feed their faces) will collapse.

    A few months ago I would have said I'd prefer it happen under a Republican.

    Now, I no longer believe it matters.

    Whatever comes next, for good or ill, may commandeer but won't arise from the corrupt establishment of the two major parties.  


    Obama and Reagan (none / 0) (#83)
    by norris morris on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:54:43 PM EST
    Thanks esmense.

    Reagan was a movement conservative and did exactly what you state in order to effectively enact his agenda.

    Reagan whether we liked his ideas or not [I did not] was an authentic person.  He knew who he he was and what he wanted to do and how to do it.

    He was able to communicate what he wanted to do in a way that voters listened to.

    Obama is not a movement progressive or a movement centrist.

    The problem is this: Obama is the movement. His election was all about him.

    The White House is being run by a group and the president has been in the shadows in spite of being trotted out promiscuously for speech after speech.  No one can connect with overexposure especially when nothing is being said of any relevance. It's been one photo-op and sound byte uber alles.  But no red meat.

    Obama mistakenly  and foolishly thinks of himself as a Democratic Reagan.  His allusions to Reagan do not hearten those of us who want to see an authentic president.


    Isn't every speech he gives (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:51:09 AM EST
    "the most important?"  At least that's how they always seem to be billed.

    Anyway, what we don't need from Obama is a pep rally on health care, but a demonstration of leadership; the problem is that Obama's focus, and the focus of the Obama-controlled Max Baucus, has been on insurance, and I'm pretty sure America knows that insurance does not equal care - and care is what the American people are interested in.  Affordable care.  It's hard to sell affordability with higher "cost-sharing" and the excise tax waiting in the wings.

    If the leaks are to be believed, Obama's not accepting any blame tonight for anything other than poor messaging; but fear not: the Campaign Boyz Are Back, with a brand-new message!  What are the chances that, when their ears take in the mellifluous sound of Obama's "new," back-to-the-campaign rhetoric, the Village Bloggers will forget whatever issues they have been developing about him?  Obama: The Rhetorical Mind Eraser - yeah, that's what we need!

    If anything should be obvious by now, it is that Obama is not a risk-taker; he is a conciliator who believes, always, that there is a safe middle ground where all the solutions can be found, and no one ever has to "lose."  Maybe if he really believed in something, he would have the courage to take some risks for those beliefs; how refreshing would that be?

    Tonight's speech is not going to break any new ground, or reveal Obama to be someone who fights for what he believes in; it'll be a nice boost for his possibly-bruised ego, but you and I and the rest of the nation are not going to get a whole lot out of it, except maybe a headache and some heartburn.

    It's the Steve Clemons Presidency; (none / 0) (#16)
    by observed on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:58:37 AM EST
    although, oddly, Steve is not happy with Obama either.

    JOBS. Most of the speech should (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:22:43 PM EST
    be about JOBS and the administrations (basically non existent) plan to combat unemployment. This was supposed to be the year of tackling job losses. A month into it and basically nothing.

    Americans don't want the Healthcare plan and they certainly don't want it at the expense of dealing with JOBS. This is beyond ridiculous.

    Do you think they want an executive order (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:28:39 PM EST
    establishing what I call the Cut and Gut Commission that the Senate rejected yesterday?

    From the NYT:

    Advocates of more aggressive steps to address the national debt failed Tuesday in their effort to create a bipartisan commission to press for tax increases and spending cuts, but President Obama now plans to establish a similar panel by executive order in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.

    The proposal for a commission died when its supporters could not muster enough votes in the Senate to push it ahead, reflecting unwillingness among many Republicans to back any move toward tax increases and objections among Democrats to the prospect of deep spending cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. While 53 senators voted for the plan and 46 against, it needed 60 votes to be approved under Senate rules.

    The alternative panel to be established by Mr. Obama will also come up with recommendations by December to reduce annual budget deficits and slow or reverse the growth of the national debt. But unlike the commission proposal killed by the Senate, Mr. Obama's executive order could not force Congress to vote on a commission's suggestions.

    The debate was just the latest demonstration of the intensity of the election-year fight shaping up over the nation's rising debt and its causes and solutions.

    I can't WAIT to hear the "message" he delivers with this news...and will eagerly await his rationale for why the defense budget is off the table.


    Voters go crazy for Commisions! (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:32:16 PM EST
    Particularly commissions created (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by cawaltz on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:37:55 PM EST
    to gut programs they have paid into under the understanding they would receive something out of it eventually.

    On the job front (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:54:41 PM EST
    Over the last few months, I began reading about the controversy over whether the Department of Defense should award a new contract to build tankers to a European company, Airbus, or to Boeing, which would design and manufacture everything here in the US (Airbus says they would create some jobs in Alabama if they get the contract, but most of the work would be done in Europe). link

    On the list of bad ideas is outsourcing government contracts to other countries. Not to mention the fact that there is a Democrat, Robin Carnahan, running for an open Senate seat in MO. If Airbus is awarded that contract by the Democrats, you can say hello to Senator Blunt.


    I don't know a family that hasn't been touched (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:40:02 PM EST
    by unemployment -- a partner, a sibling, a child.

    My own son lost his job 15 months ago, he's going back to school, writing a novel, working for us part time, and learning how to weld -- hoping something or other will pay off down the road. His roommate lost his job in September. He's back in school earning his 4th degree.

    My best friend's son has just gone from full time employee to consultant for the firm he's work for for 15 years, and her son-in-law, an architect and software specialist, has been unemployed for a year (but may, we hope, be going back to work soon).

    All of these people are highly educated and skilled. None of them are confident in what their future may hold.


    "Learning to weld"... (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 03:10:46 PM EST
    smart move...that's basically what I'm telling my 17 year old nephew who is still figuring things out for himself and his future and isn't sure if college is for him...become an apprentice and learn a trade, paper pushin' corporate jobs are feast or famine, yet somebody always needs the services of a skilled tradesman...now more than ever after a generation of pushing kids into business school for the big bucks.

    His grandfather, my dad, was a welder, (none / 0) (#66)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 04:04:23 PM EST
    pipefitter, plumbler, steamfitter. He worked all over the world on all kinds of projects. He taught me that the one thing capitalism can never guarantee you is a job. You can't ever stop learning, expanding and polishing your skills, being prepared to change direction or leave some things you care about behind. He also taught me that survival means first and foremost being loyal to the quality of your work -- not your boss, not the company, not the money or the status.

    His vision of a capitalist economy was a fairly cruel one, I guess. But I've always thought his clear eyed view of how our economy works held me in good stead, and, frankly, gave me an advantage over some of my much more naive contemporaries.


    I hear that.... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 05:16:10 PM EST
    my old man was a machinist, and a damn good one so I'm told.  Big on taking pride in your work, and thats the only motivation I really got at cube-jockey work:)

    His survival tips for a capitalist economy also included "if ya can't afford it, ya don't need it" & "don't bet what ya can't afford to lose"  

    Those have served me pretty well so far as well...


    Also on the job front (none / 0) (#40)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:18:36 PM EST
    ...I was thinking that the can-do-no-wrong-best-car evah Toyota debacle might do Detroit some good, esp. Ford. They are already adding factory jobs at three (?) sites in the US

    that should read he seems to have no clue (none / 0) (#13)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:50:10 AM EST
    as to what Reagan did.

    It's important to me (none / 0) (#17)
    by RickTaylor on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:00:06 PM EST
    I've been shaken by his hands off approach to health care reform even as it seems to be in danger of falling apart, and by announcements he's going to propose a budget freeze. I'll be listening carefully to what he has to say.

    Digby made a list of things Wall Street is hoping to hear; I'm making a point of comparing what he says to the list.


    Obama needs to deal with (none / 0) (#25)
    by MyLeftMind on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:25:53 PM EST
    the fact that many voters are disappointed and disaffected with the lack of support for middle and working class Americans. People are p!ssed off that we're suffering while banksters and insurance industry CEOs are raking in record profits. Worse, our tax dollars have been used to fuel their greed. Hence the Republican win in Massachusetts. It's one thing when a Republican administration facilitates wealth redistribution to the superrich, but it's a whole `nother thing when the People's Hero does the same thing.

    I think Obama's going to come down hard in his speech on the big bad CEOs, while trying to convince us his new plans to support the middle class will make up for the theft we've experienced in his first year. Unfortunately, he's surrounded himself with policy makers from the industries that own our government (cough, Geithner), and his next three years won't be any different. Tonight's speech will allow some of us to pretend he's still on our side, but reality will set in eventually. We're screwed unless we take action ourselves to change our government and force support for the majority of citizens instead of the elite rich.

    Why voters are angry (5.00 / 5) (#53)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:03:25 PM EST
    Obama says Americans were understandably upset by the backroom dealmaking that he called ugly. In a cruel twist, the reaction helped elect a Republican senator in Massachusetts last week, putting the health legislation in peril.
    We've got to get rid of that Nebraska stuff, we've got to get rid of the Louisiana stuff," Clyburn said, referring to provisions inserted to help secure the votes of holdout Democratic senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

    Obama, speaking to ABC News this week, said, "I didn't make a bunch of deals." But he acknowledged making "a legitimate mistake" by letting White House and congressional negotiators include the items during last month's closed-door negotiations. link

    The deals Nelson and Landrieu made are chump change compared to the deals the that Obama made with pharma. Now that was ugly. To bad that deal didn't generate the public outrage that the Nelson deal did.


    Again, he thinks we're stupid! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 03:03:20 PM EST
    I am sick to death of his blame game!  He's got nothing to do with nothing, according to him!  How stupid does he think we are?  Of course he's made deals, LOTS of them with at least half the lobbyists in Washington.  

    And now he's suddenly realized that the economy is in the crapper and people really care about JOBS!  What a revelation!  So tonight, with head held HIGH in the air, he'll tell us how he feels our pain and is going to get on that job thing, as soon as a commission, or study, or committee, gets back to him with a  report.  In the meantime, he's FIGHTING for us.  Whatever that means.  Not much apparently.


    2/3 of speech will be about (none / 0) (#67)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 04:33:49 PM EST
    jobs and the economy

    The president will spend about two-thirds of the 9 p.m. EST speech on the economy, emphasizing his ideas, some new but mostly old and explained anew, for restoring job growth, taming budget deficits and changing Washington's ways. These concerns are at the roots of voter emotions that once drove supporters to Obama but now are turning on him as he governs.

    To address economic fears, Obama will prod Congress to enact a second, debt-financed stimulus bill and to provide new financial relief for the middle class. To acknowledge frustration at the government's habit of spending more than it has, he will seek a three-year freeze on some domestic spending (while proposing a 6.2 percent increase in the popular arena of education) and announce he's creating a bipartisan deficit-reduction task force. To tackle the capital's polarized atmosphere, he will call on Republicans and Democrats alike to redouble efforts at cooperation.

    Throughout, Obama aims to show he understands Americans' struggles to pay the bills while big banks get bailouts and bonuses. Trying to position himself as a fighter for the regular guy, he'll urge Congress to blunt the impact of last week's Supreme Court decision handing corporations greater influence over elections.

    Good. But it better be better (none / 0) (#69)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 04:42:31 PM EST
    than what my gov, also a Dem, said yesterday in his state-of-the-state speech.  He said that now is the time for him to create jobs.

    NOW is the time, I said to my radio?  NOW?  In one of the states that is one of the worst, getting worse by the day (we lost a lot, lot more jobs last month again, against the trend for most of the country)?  

    That's the job we elected you to do years ago, I said to my radio -- working on the state's economy, which always means creating jobs, because some job loss always happens.  And especially in Rustbelt states.  Jeesh, creating jobs has been the agenda here for decades.

    Somehow, I fear I will hear more of the same and have the same reaction to what we hear tonight:  NOW you get it?  What you got the job for in the first place?


    I expect Obama (none / 0) (#30)
    by robotalk on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:39:44 PM EST
    will use very general language saying comprehensive HCR is needed, with no specifics as to how or what.

    He's always acted like he had no power (unless there is a bill passed, for which he will take total credit) on this issue and will offer nothing but platitudes tonite.  

    Hehehee (none / 0) (#32)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:44:29 PM EST
    good for you for calling them out on this.

    And I am hopeful that this speech will be the reclaiming of the bully pulpit.  I liked the parts Anne linked before:

    As Mr. Obama navigates a crossroads of his presidency, a moment when he signals what lessons he has drawn from his first year in office, the public posture of the White House is that any shortcomings are the result of failing to explain effectively what they were doing -- and why. He will acknowledge making mistakes in pursuit of his agenda, aides said, but will not toss the agenda overboard in search of a more popular one.

    Well I hope so.  Although this from the same article is straight up stupid:

    Still undecided, advisers said, was how much of the address would be devoted to health care as the prospects of finding a lifeline for the legislation seemed to be diminishing. A discussion was under way among the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress whether Mr. Obama would call for a scaled-down version of the legislation that has been the centerpiece of his domestic agenda.

    so maybe I should be worried.

    I don't understand how the quoted (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:07:16 PM EST
    section is indicative of Obama reclaiming - or even claiming - the bully pulpit.

    You do realize that he's saying that he isn't going to do health care the way we want it, but the way he wants it, even though his way - the "unpopular" way - is the one that is least likely to expand access to and affordability of care, and most likely to maintain the stranglehold the insurance companies have on us.

    I guess I don't take well to that kind of "bullying."


    I am talking about this (none / 0) (#48)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:41:26 PM EST
    the public posture of the White House is that any shortcomings are the result of failing to explain effectively what they were doing -- and why

    If they are attributing the healthcare struggles so far to their very very bad political messaging, then I think things are looking up for Obama.

    I believe Obama's inability to use the bully pulpit this year contributed greatly to the weakening of the health bill.  Hopefully it's not too little too late on that but it probably is.  We'll be better off on climate change and other issues if he learns how to successfully use the bully pulpit though.

    You can argue about whether the bill is any good or not but we could potentially hear about a rather big evolution in the WH's political style tonight.


    A new political style is not going to (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:56:41 PM EST
    transform a crappy bill into something we can all get behind.  

    Laying the problems with reform off on bad messaging seems like a losing strategy to me; and even if he explains it better, it isn't going to make the bill better.


    Style is not substance! (none / 0) (#84)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:55:24 PM EST
    Evidently, some people continue to believe that the substance of Obama's political vision is inherently progressive and concerned with the public good. Ergo, Obama's inability to effect his political vision is due to his ineffectual style: his poor bargaining skills, his 'post-partisan' fixation, his lack of procedural finesse, etc.

    So, why is it that Obama is perfectly capable of using Presidential power when it comes to cutting deals with big pharma; escalating war and ramming through war-funding bills; bailing out Wall Street at the expense of Main Street;  defending, sustaining and ramping up Bush-era misconduct on the world stage while further eroding domestic civil liberties?  

    Why is it still not clear that the primary problem with Obama is that he simply does not share the grass-roots progressive ideals of the people who went to the polls last year and pulled the lever for the Democratic party?


    And most likely to add to the (none / 0) (#81)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:35:00 PM EST
    debit side of the U.S. balance sheet.

    Don't promote too much! (none / 0) (#47)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:36:50 PM EST
    Seeing that he didn't get a lot accomplished when he had the best opportunity, he shouldn't add to the list of unfulfilled promises tonight.

    A good point. The usual pundits (none / 0) (#51)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:52:53 PM EST
    have been buying the hype and helping to hype it.  If they expect to feel tingles again, and to hear the hallelujah chorus from the heavens opening on high again . . . well, that's not going to happen again.  The media worms have turned.

    The few thoughtful voices I have heard among them get their very, very serious faces when they say that this is a make-or-break night for Obama about the economy.  He had better be brilliant for them.  (As for me, I don't expect it; I don't see how someone who didn't get it a week ago suddenly would see the light, suddenly would listen to the pain all across the land that has been there for a long time -- as he said he heard it more than a year ago, in his convention acceptance speech.  So he stopped listening.  Or, more likely, he never heard it himself, and it was because the campaign speechwriters got to Washington and lost touch with reality.)


    SOTU listed on ABC, CBS, BET, FOX but not NBC (none / 0) (#54)
    by Ellie on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:09:29 PM EST
    ...  however, TCM is showing a McCarthy era "Aaiiieee! The Commies!" double bill of My Son John and I Was a Communist for the FBI. ["I had to sell out my own girl -- so would you!"]

    As I can no longer distinguish incidental flotsam from planted mayhem, I'll probably do the sensible thing and catch the SOTU on replay if there's anything interesting in it or the fallout, read the transcript otherwise.

    Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 02:19:26 PM EST
    Listed on my TV on the NBC channel.  Also Univision, PBS, CSPAN, and CNBC.

    Clairvoyant? (none / 0) (#64)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 03:29:06 PM EST

    text here (none / 0) (#65)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 03:30:26 PM EST
    So Obama is similarly incompetent (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 04:58:25 PM EST

    at working with Congress?  That's really what you're saying?  Then -- we're really screwed for the next four years, either way.  Think about it......

    emphasis mine.  


    Ha. Yeh, and my crystal ball (none / 0) (#68)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 04:37:01 PM EST
    has good news for you.  Now it's down to three years.

    That is, unless President B+ decides to go for an A for a change -- a real change.  Then he may get seven more years.  But his line this week about the number of terms was another weird one.

    So I'm thinking that maybe he wants to find a different internship after this one.  I swear, so much of what he says sounds like an intern, a junior not sweating it yet about senior year.


    I say two termer (none / 0) (#70)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 04:48:01 PM EST
    Job creation will happen in 2011 and 2012.  It worked for Reagan.

    Better than nothin' (none / 0) (#72)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 04:59:54 PM EST
    but I have to hope that it's sooner, as our kids just can't wait that long for a glimmer of hope.  And that's the generation that went big for Obama -- but also a generation with the attention span of gnats.  Not brand-loyal to any party yet. . . .

    clients are saying (none / 0) (#75)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:47:05 PM EST
    they are planning late 3rd early 4th for hiring not constrained to strategic hiring.  Of course my med clients have never stopped but slowed considerably.  

    I am also seeing friends and former clients starting to land at a decent pace after prolonged unemployment some greater than a year.  

    I have not met with one board member in any of the industries that we serve who feels any different. And truth be told 3rd early 4th is speculative at best.....


    Evidence? (none / 0) (#71)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 04:58:32 PM EST
    Most economists say there's no chance of significant job recovery for the next several years unless we enact a huge job-creation stimulus.

    It's wishful thinking. We're at Depression-level problems without Depression-era solutions.

    House passed a $154 billion jobs bill (none / 0) (#74)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 06:35:30 PM EST
    Senate thinks $85 billion, mostly in tax cuts, is sufficient.

    What does that tell you about job creation efforts?


    Senate scaling back on that fast (none / 0) (#79)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 07:30:00 PM EST
    so check again -- per my comment in another thread that the latest is down to $37 billion.  And that's all within hours.  By next week, it'll be $37.

    Dear Gawd (none / 0) (#86)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:10:11 PM EST
    Dems do want desperately to become the minority party in 2010.

    Let's be perfectly clear (none / 0) (#85)
    by pluege on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:07:26 PM EST
    since the Village Dems and bloggers have declared Obama irrelevant and impotent,

    it was obama and NOONE else that declared obama irrelevant and impotent, and continues to to this very day.

    leadership walks and quacks like a duck and noone, NOONE ain't seen no ducks in the past year.