President Obama is Back In Campaign Mode
Big jobs speech showed a newly fired up President Obama
There was plenty of doubt before the big jobs speech last week that President Obama had it in him to take it to Republicans over the next 14 months. All doubt should now be gone.
President Obama is fired up. At some moments, during his speech he even sounded a little ticked off. And he should be. The political stalemate in Washington right now is hindering any movement towards rebounding from the Great Recession.
The urgency of the bleak economic situation could not be made more evident by the tone of his voice. “Americans have real life concerns,” he quipped, “We are tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been."
President Obama knows that in this political environment he describes, the chance of The American Jobs Act passing is about zero. The Republican controlled House will never pass it and overcoming a Republican filibuster in the Senate make this bill most certainly DOA.
The difference between the White House strategy for this new fight is that it doesn’t matter if the bill will pass. The White House is looking towards 2012. The House of Representatives are also looking towards 2012. The upcoming elections are putting pressure on both political parties to act on the number one issue of the day: jobs. With unemployment stuck at 9%, both sides need to at least appear as though the economy, and not politics, is the number one thing on their minds.
Another difference between the way in which the White House rolled out the American Jobs Act and past initiatives is they have thus far given away nothing. The normal approach of this White House has been to look like the “adult” in the room and give away too much to reach a deal with Republicans. Not this time.
The White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told MSNBC, “The president said it 16 times, I’ll say it a 17th time today. He wants them to pass the American Jobs Act. That’s the piece of legislation he’s sending up. It’s a simple thing. Puts the Americans back to work and puts more money into the pockets of working families. Our belief is that everything in this bill is reasonable. Everything in the bill has bipartisan support. Everything will have an effect right now. And so we want them to pass it.”
Remember the chance that the American Jobs Act will pass in its entirety is a little above zero. So the White House position is to pass the entire bill, which they are officially sending to Congress tonight, and when it’s predictably rejected by Congress they have a campaign issue to run on over the next year with Congress as enemy #1. Congress has their lowest ever approval rating in the history of AP polling, so while all the focus is on the President’s poll numbers, he’s at least the more popular of the two.
It is important to note that the American Jobs Act includes many ideas that critics of this administration have been pushing. Part of the legislation offered by the Congressional Black Caucus is included, as well as provisions for women, and the middle and working class.
President Obama sent a clear message to not only Congress but to the American people, "[n]o single individual built America on their own. We built it together,” so let’s fix it together. While governing has not allowed President Obama to mobilize his supporters as effectively as he did in 2008, with this speech and a flurry of stops giving the same message all over the country over the next few months, the president is clearly back in campaign mode.