Sneak previews

Sneak previews

by digby

So, I've seen the talking points of the President's speech, which Greg Sargent lays out here:

The American Jobs Act is:
— based on bi-partisan ideas;
— it is fully paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share; and
— it will have an impact on job and economic growth NOW — just as soon as Congress acts.
— Every day, people in this country are working hard to meet their responsibilities. The question now is whether Washington will meet theirs.
— The time for obstruction and gridlock is over. Congress needs to put country ahead of politics.
— The American people know that the economic crisis and the deep recession weren’t created overnight and won’t be solved overnight. The economic security of the American middle class has been under attack for decades.
— That’s why President Obama believes we need to do more than just recover from this economic crisis.
— The President is rebuilding the economy the American way — based on balance, fairness and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street where hard work and responsibility pay and gaming the system is penalized.
— It’s an American economy that’s built to last and creates the jobs of the future, by forcing Washington to live within its means so we can invest in small business entrepreneurs, education, and making things the world buys, not outsourcing, loopholes and reckless financial deals that put middle class security at risk.

Ok then. And Mitch McConnell has already responded:

“Later on today, both Houses of Congress will welcome President Obama to the Capitol to speak about a very serious crisis that we face as a nation. Namely, an economic climate that is making it impossible for millions of Americans to find the work that they need to support themselves and their families.

“Now, in a two-party system like ours, it shouldn’t be surprising that there would be two very different points of view about how to solve this particular crisis. What is surprising is the President’s apparent determination to apply the same government-driven policies that have already been tried and failed. The definition of insanity, as Albert Einstein once famously put it, is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Frankly, I can’t think of a better description of anyone who thinks the solution to this problem is another Stimulus. The first Stimulus didn’t do it. Why would another one?

“This is one question that the White House and a number of Democrats clearly don’t want to answer. That’s why some of them are out there coaching people not to use the word Stimulus when describing the President’s plan. Others are accusing anybody who criticizes it of being unpatriotic or playing politics. Well, as I’ve said, there’s a much simpler reason to oppose the President’s economic policies that has nothing whatsoever to do with politics: they don’t work. Yet, by all accounts, the President’s so-called jobs plan is to try those very same policies again, and then accuse anyone who doesn’t support them this time around of being political or overly partisan, of not doing what’s needed in this moment of crisis.

“This isn’t a jobs plan. It’s a re-election plan. That’s why Republicans will continue to press for policies that empower job creators, not Washington.

“According to The Wall Street Journal, nearly a third of the unemployed have been out of work for more than a year. The average length of unemployment is now greater than 40 weeks, higher than it was even during the Great Depression. As we know, the longer you’re out of a job the harder it is to find one. That means for millions of Americans, this crisis is getting harder every day. It’s getting worse and worse.

“And we also know this: the economic policies this President has tried have not alleviated the problem.

“In many ways, in fact, they’ve made things worse. Gas prices are up. The national debt is up. Health insurance premiums are up. Homes values in most places continue to fall. And two and a half years after the President’s signature jobs bill was signed into law, 1.7 million fewer Americans have jobs.

“So, I’d say that Americans have 1.7 million reasons to oppose another Stimulus. And that’s why many of us have been calling on the President to propose something different tonight. Not because of politics. But because the kind of policies he’s proposed have failed. The problem here isn’t politics. The problem is policy.

“It’s time the President start thinking less about how to describe his policies differently and more time thinking about devising new policies. And he might start by working with Congress, instead of writing in secret, without any consultation with Republicans, a plan that the White House is calling bipartisan.

“With 14 million Americans out of work, job creation should be a no-politics zone. And Republicans stand ready to act on policies that get the private sector moving again.

"What we won’t do, however, is allow the President to put us deeper in debt to finance a collection of short-term fixes or shots-in-the-arm that might move the needle today but which deny America’s job creators the things they really need to solve this crisis: predictability, stability, fewer government burdens and less red tape. Because while this crisis may have persisted for far too long and caused far too much hardship, one thing we do have right now is the benefit of hindsight. We know what doesn’t work.

“So tonight, the President should take a different approach. He should acknowledge the failures of an economic agenda that centers on government spending and debt, and work across the aisle on a plan that puts people and businesses at the forefront of job creation.

“If the American people are going to have control over their own destiny, they need to have more control of their economy. That means shifting the center of gravity away from Washington and toward those who really create jobs. It means putting an end to the regulatory overreach that’s holding job creators back.

“It means being as bold about liberating job creators as the administration’s been about shackling them.

“It means reforming an outdated tax code and getting out of the business of picking winners and losers.

“It means lowering the U.S. corporate tax rate, which is currently the second-highest in the world.

“And it means leveling the playing field with our competitors overseas by approving free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea that have been languishing on the President’s desk for years

“Contrary to the President’s claims, this economic approach isn’t aimed at pleasing any one party or constituency. It’s aimed at giving back to the American people the tools they need to do the work that Washington has not been able to do on its own, despite its best efforts over the past few years.

“The President is free to blame his political adversaries, his predecessor, or even natural disasters for America’s economic challenges. Tonight, he may blame any future such challenges on those who choose not to rubber-stamp his latest proposals. But it should be noted that this is precisely what Democratic majorities did during the President’s first two years in office. And look where that got us.

“But here’s the bottom line: By the President’s own standards his jobs agenda has been a failure. And we can’t afford to make the same mistake twice.

“Now after the President's speech tonight calling for more stimulus spending, the Senate will vote on his request for an additional $500 billion increase in the debt ceiling. So Senators will have an opportunity to vote for or against this type of approach right away.”

There you have it.

It's very tempting to just forget about the speech and go out for dinner. But I'll watch it in the remote hope that the President uses the opportunity to tell the American people what's really happened and explains his differences with Mitch as forcefully as old Mitch explained his.

This is a campaign speech, whether we like it or not. They are not going to pass anything real, that's quite clear. So this is a rhetorical exercise and one that should be used to educate the American people about the difference between radical, right wing nihilism and liberalism. At this point I'd just like to keep liberalism alive so that it can fight another day.

I'd be a lot more hopeful about what we're going to get if the very first item in the talking points didn't stress that the plan was "bipartisan." If that's the theme then we're screwed.