Friday, September 09, 2011

The President Stops Pleading

For anyone coming out of a two-year coma, Barack Obama’s jobs speech to a joint session of Congress may have looked like the familiar sight of an American President exhorting lawmakers to legislate solutions to a crisis.

For the rest of who have had the misfortune to be wide awake, what was striking was Obama’s discovery of the imperative mood in his address. “Pass this jobs bill,” he kept repeating like the mantra of a hypnotist trying to impose his will on assembled Tea Party naysayers.

Whatever happens to his proposal for $447 billion in tax cuts and government spending to speed up economic recovery, the President’s grammatical shift is a departure from pleading with Republicans to be reasonable, as they never were in arm-wrestling over the debt ceiling, to challenging them to act now on job creation or face the consequences next November.

“The next election is 14 months away,” he told them with sledgehammer subtlety. “And the people who sent us here--the people who hired us to work for them--they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months. Some of them are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, even day to day. They need help, and they need it now.”

Just in case some of the non-attendees missed the point, the President spelled out the message for them:

“Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we’ll have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.

“I also ask every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option. Remind us that if we act as one nation, and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.”

Nothing spectacular is likely to come out of this jobs bill, but at the very least, the President has stopped wooing Republicans and started fighting back against those who want to “just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own.”

Early signs on Twitter suggest that the President may have finally stirred up a serious conversation about creating jobs beyond the reflexive ideological responses. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

John said...

I thought it was one of his better speeches and was surprised when ABC television news affectively brushed it aside and went straight to the terrorist threat story.