I was en route to Braum’s Ice Cream Parlor when the President started speaking, so I listened over the car radio. I have no idea how things looked on television. But he sounded great. I liked the substance of the proposals, for the most part. I think he did what he needed to do to defuse criticism he’s been getting from the left — which, I am beginning to discover, now seems to include me now. (Strange world.) If he hangs in there and pushes hard on Congress, he’ll have a good chance of wrapping his proposal around the
pencil sausage necks of those Tea Party creeps who would rather see the country destroyed than compromise an inch. I think the chances that anything truly useful will pass are zilch. But the speech — particularly the infrastructure-building projects and his unabashed defense of the “in this country we help each other” social compact — is good enough for me. So I’m back on board. This is a marked change in my views, as you can see from my email to the White House in July.
A better, and certainly funnier, take on the speech is John Cole’s, which he put up on Balloon Juice before the President started speaking. Cole’s blog is rated R for language, so if you’re sensitive about that sort of thing, you should probably move along to this cute video about yodeling cats. (Note to my nephew, D, of tender age: you should definitely stop reading.) For the rest of you, here’s John Cole:
I gotta admit, I have no desire to watch Obama speak tonight. Not because I don’t like him, but because I’m just feeling sort of fatalistic today and not really sure anything can be done to solve this crisis that has been developing for 3-4 decades. Plus, he’s not crazy, and will give a sober, rational speech, so there won’t be that train wreck in the waiting effect that you get with the GOP. Besides, we already know what is going to happen.
Obama will propose something moderate and completely reasonable, but we all know it is not going to be enough to get us out of this mess, and that assumes we can even get it past the teahadist House (we won’t- they are in full on tilt mode). He’ll get flayed alive by the usual suspects on the left, Paul Krugman will be mainlining thorazine by the end of the speech, and someone at FDL [Firedog Lake] will call for a primary or impeachment.
The right, of course, will ignore everything he said and scream about the program costing too much, and trumpet deregulation, offshore drilling, claim Obama is over his head while making teleprompter jokes, and then go back to wailing for tax cuts and screaming Obama is doing nothing about jobs.
The media will spend the night focusing on how many Republicans refused to clap, or comparing Obama to Perry, insinuating that Perry is manly and Obama is a pussy, Maureen Down will write another column calling him a wimp, and we’ll have a rogues gallery of rightwing dickheads from Ed Rollins to Mark Halperin to whomever the Politico sh*ts up spewing bullsh*t on every channel. Each network will be sure to include one milquetoast corporatist Democrat like Evan Bayh for balance, because all the left’s effective communicators are busy sending pics [of their manly parts] to random women on twitter or lunching at AIPAC. Glenn Kessler will find one minor mistake in grammar and give him four pinnochios.
In the long term, assuming a plan gets through the House (it won’t), then we get to go through our usual drama of the blue dogs from Red States (Manchin, Nelson, Landrieu, McCaskill, etc.), Lieberman just so he can continue to be the world’s preeminent douchenozzle, and some others I am sure I am missing. They’ll [block] it on the Senate side, moaning about the program being a deficit buster while conveniently ignoring the fact that each one of them represents a welfare state sucking at the federal teat. Finally, at the 11th hour, Snowe and Collins will swoop in and offer tax cuts for the ultra-rich as a sweetener and they will support it. At this point, Bernie Sanders or whatever progressive hero of the moment will claim he can’t support anything with tax cuts for the rich in it. This will bring things to a standstill for a couple more weeks until another shitty jobs report comes out, and the Senate, acting in the fierce urgency of when-the-f*ck-ever will pass some piece of sh*t that is too small, unfocused, and does nothing other than provide the left with another opportunity to fracture and start flinging sh*t at each other. Republicans will have spent the entire time using procedural tricks to slow things down while having [Republican pollster] Frank Luntz work on the framing of the issue so that by the time it is about to hit the President’s desk, they will already have a cute name, the talking points will be distributed, and we’ll all be hearing about the new “Porkulus” or “Obamacare” or whatever … childish name they come up with. In three months time, when employment hasn’t picked up because we are actually in the same goddam depression we’ve been in since 2007, Rick Perry can claim that Keynesian ideology has once again been disproven. Because everyone hates the bill, Friedman, Brooks, and other members of the Centrist jihad will claim this as proof that the bill is great. . . .
Etc. Made me laugh out loud. Your mileage may vary.