I literally agree with every word that Steve Benen says in his piece on the way the press is treating Obama’s pitch for a jobs bill. But I also think it’s legitimate to ask the president how the hell he thinks he’s going to get it passed. One thing that would help is if the press would accurately report, without he said/she said b.s., what’s really going on. They shouldn’t have to ask the president why he isn’t trying to make some kind of deal with the Republicans. A fairer question would be something like, “Now that you’ve given up trying to work with the Republicans, do you feel like you learned your lesson a little too late?”
I’d actually be interested to learn his thoughts on that question, because in some ways I think he did wait a little too long to pivot. I understand that the debt ceiling was a true hostage situation. But he probably played along too long with the myth that the Republicans would agree to anything. I can second guess a lot of stuff, especially in how the administration let things get out of control in the lead-up to health care vote and then the midterms. Personally, I wish he would have gone heavy on the obstruction in the Summer of 2010. Once the financial reforms bill was in the bag, he should have gotten a lot more political to try to protect his majorities.
On the other hand, he got a tremendous amount done in the lame-duck session.
In any case, he’s running against a Do-Nothing Congress because that’s exactly what they are. People are out of work and congressional Republicans are happy about it. What else can he do? If they want to do something, they’ll do something. As the president said today:
And so, Bill, the question, then, is, will Congress do something? If Congress does something, then I can’t run against a do-nothing Congress. If Congress does nothing, then it’s not a matter of me running against them; I think the American people will run them out of town, because they are frustrated, and they know we need to do something big and something bold.
The president asks a better question than any he answered this morning.