This is what happens when you go on offense
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")
I'm not going to go into too much detail on Obama's jobs speech. It was a very good speech in terms of the rhetoric, though it lacked a bit in terms of policies proposed. Even so, I do understand and sympathize with the argument that with the economy on the precipice of "another" recession (though for most of America's workforce, we never really left the last one), it matters most that something be able realistically to be passed.
But what I do want to focus on is the direct result of taking a bold and more aggressive rhetorical approach: you get good media coverage. Consider the New York Times at this moment.
Editorial: An aggressive Obama challenges Congress to reignite the economy:
With more than 14 million people out of work and all Americans fearing a double-dip recession, President Obama stood face to face Thursday night with a Congress that has perversely resisted lifting a finger to help. Some Republicans refused to even sit and listen. But those Americans who did heard him unveil an ambitious proposal — more robust and far-reaching than expected — that may be the first crucial step in reigniting the economy.
Paul Krugman has nice things to say. Turns out you can please an "emoprog" after all, just by showing a hint of fighting spirit:
First things first: I was favorably surprised by the new Obama jobs plan, which is significantly bolder and better than I expected. It’s not nearly as bold as the plan I’d want in an ideal world. But if it actually became law, it would probably make a significant dent in unemployment.
Even David Brooks (!) is impressed:
This is the problem the Obama administration is facing. Like everybody else, it has seen a sluggish economy come grinding to a halt. There is clearly now a significant risk of a double-dip recession. That would be terrible for America’s workers, fiscal situation and psyche. This prospect is enough to shock even us stimulus skeptics out of our long-term focus. It’s enough to force us to contemplate the possibility of another stimulus package.
The next question is this: Does the administration have any stimulus ideas that could actually stimulate? Thursday night the president gave one of the most forceful and compelling domestic policy speeches of his presidency.
Brooks is still an insufferable fool and reading his column makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a fork. But it's inarguable that Obama is getting positive coverage both from Brooks, the Times' biggest conservative clown, and from Paul Krugman, whom many of the President's most ardent supporters had given up for lost.
The Washington Post is also filled with positive vibes. Dan Balz has says Obama works to seize the initiative. Chris Cillizza says that the rhetoric forms an aggressive stance. And Zachary Goldfarb's main topline headline quotes Obama saying "You should pass this jobs plan right away."
And for what it's worth, the President has also won won positive coverage on this and other progressive blogs normally fairly critical of the Administration's approach.
Compare this sort of glowing press and blog coverage to the bashing he took from both sides during the lead-up to the debt ceiling fight.
This is what happens when you go on offense. Even conservatives have been waiting for the President to punch back. They count on Democrats doing their best to uphold the economic order and keep the middle class going even as conservatives steal everything they can for their corporate friends.
Hopefully the President puts some of the fight that went into the speech, into his negotiation tactics when it comes to the jobs bill itself. If he does, he's likely to get even more positive coverage. That would be nice, for a change, and heck--it might even help him with independents. It would certainly help more than the weak attempts at compromise with an insatiable foe he's been making for the last many moons.
It's nice to be on offense for a change.