Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 5, 2009

OBAMA'S OP-ED PITCH.... As part of a more aggressive public-relations push, President Obama has a 767-word op-ed in the Washington Post this morning, offering a big-picture defense of the economic stimulus package.

It's pretty consistent with the message Obama touched on yesterday, emphasizing short- and long-term investment...

That's why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending -- it's a strategy for America's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it's a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

...and the failed philosophy of those who would kill the recovery package.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We've seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

Every day, our economy gets sicker -- and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now.

The president doesn't mention the name of either party, or ideology. The word "bipartisan" isn't mentioned, either. The message is pretty straightforward: we're facing an economic calamity, this is the right approach to getting back on track, and the critics, who've already been rejected by voters, have been consistently wrong for years.

As uses of the Bully Pulpit go, this is both compelling and overdue.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Amen!

Posted by: sduffys on February 5, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

It is distressing to see the lack of any political savvy within the Democratic Party. For, at least now that they are in power with a Democratic President, they should be able to deflect the GOP shenanigans. If not for solving what is the most significant problem in decades, what is their being power good for?

Posted by: gregor on February 5, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

it feels like he pushed the train wreck a few hundred yards down the track... still, it's a train wreck.

Posted by: neill on February 5, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

It's pretty sad that the president has to be the one to defend the bill rather than those who crafted it.

Posted by: coral on February 5, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

He needs to make speeches similar to this every day until the bill passes. One thing the MSM will still do is give him air time every time he speaks, which reduces all the Repub air time and consequent attention to whatever stupid thing one of them says about this.
Keep hammering it home--Obama is the most trusted man in Washington right now.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on February 5, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, as neill said, it's still a train wreck.

So Gregg is still going to become Commerce Sec. despite not voting for the stimulus bill, which is getting weaker by the second as compromises are made with a GOP that still won't vote for it.

And I'm tired about people whining about the media and the GOP. The fault lies entirely with Obama and the Dems, who actually hold a lot of power. The GOP filled a vacuum and the media was happy to give them an empty platform. I figure it will take Obama a couple of years to fix the damage caused by this fiasco. Goodbye universal health care, goodbye tax reform.

Now I see on the news that Leon Penetta might be in trouble. It only gets worse.

Posted by: g. powell on February 5, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

As uses of the Bully Pulpit go, this is both compelling

When Obama gives speeches to huge audiences, he uses inspirational language, but the substance includes little detail. That makes sense. When he does interviews, his answers he's more specific, and often gives examples, but again not minutia. Again, good, since people tend not to absorb too many numbers and names in this setting. But in an op-ed, because it is written rather than oral, and because it reaches the most news-conscious audience, he should be offering very specific data to prove his point. In this piece, he doesn't do that. The numbers he cites are projections rather than evidence. It was fine for an arena speech, but not for an op-ed.

Posted by: Danp on February 5, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

It's pretty sad that the president has to be the one to defend the bill rather than those who crafted it.

Obama just left the Senate, he should have known that Harry Reid is nothing but a flaccid wuss. He also should have known that his popularity is his most powerful weapon and used it accordingly from the get go. I also wish he had been more involved in actually drafting the bill, but it's too late for that.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on February 5, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I said yesterday that the administration has recognized the PR problem and is now addressing it. You sometimes just have to wait for Obama to do the right thing. And here he is, on the offensive as he should be. Let's see if it continues.

Posted by: Franklin on February 5, 2009 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, he may be back on the offensive, but, he fumbled the opening kickoff, allowing the defense to score. Plus, he appears to be starting from his own two yard line.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 5, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Franklin - correct-a-mundo. Really - while I want all vestiges of Bush and his ill effect on the country gone asap; Rome was not really built in 7 days.

Posted by: sduffys on February 5, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

"And I'm tired about people whining about the media and the GOP. The fault lies entirely with Obama and the Dems, who actually hold a lot of power. The GOP filled a vacuum and the media was happy to give them an empty platform."

EXACTLY! The Democrats have themselves to blame. They once again allowed the Republicans and their mouthpieces to set the aganda and control the debate. It doesn't help that I'm getting a perception of some Democrats as jackels lurking on the sidelines to whether or not Obama faulters and make their move accordingly.

To be honest, Obama's biggest mistake so far was calling out Rush Limbaugh. He was left largely irrelevant after the 2008 elections. The President engaging Limbaugh ressusitated him as a force to be delt with. It also became a rally point for the Republicans.

Obama and the Democrats won the election. They need to start behaving as such...and they can't blame the media when they have handed the media over to the Republicans for their own play thing.

Posted by: Saint Zak on February 5, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Saint Zak,

I don't think it was a mistake to call out Rush. Knowing Rush Limbaugh proclivities, this will help him in the long run, when they are finally exposed.

Posted by: Micheline on February 5, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

EDIT
Saint Zak,

I don't think it was a mistake for Obama to call out Rush. In the long run, Obama will benefit from this, because once Rush Limbaugh's proclivities are finally exposed, the Republicans will jump ship.

Posted by: Micheline on February 5, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon, no one effin reads the post.

Posted by: MNPundit on February 5, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Waaaah. Obama doesn't do exactly what I want him to do. He doesn't get hardball politics like I do. He's not progressive like I am. Why isn't anyone listening to me?

Why doesn't politics work like I want it to? I want a pony, now. Why isn't everyone happy in the world?

Posted by: ComplainingProgressive on February 5, 2009 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

It is distressing to see the lack of any political savvy within the Democratic Party.

It is difficult to judge savvy when the playing field is not level. It is painfully apparent that they are up against the minority republicans AND the corporate media.

I am not defending the Dems, but I think people vastly underestimate (except Secularanimist) how the media controls the shaping of the message. It is an uphill battle and they make it near impossible to gain traction.

The media is a HUGE problem. They will continue to shape the message so that the Dems will seem the minority.

How to defeat that?

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on February 5, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

e henry --

The GOP has devoted a huge amount of resources to manipulating the media. The Dems can easily, and must, do the same.

But complaining about the corporate media not doing the Dems job for them -- which it is to sell their legislation -- is defeatism. The Dems have done a terrible job this week, but they are victims of their own ineptitude, not victims of the corporate media.

It's the Dems job to sell their positions, not the media's.

Posted by: g. powell on February 5, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

He needs to get on the teevee. Nobody is gonna read his WaPo editorial, outside the beltway.

He seemed to have such great instincts before...wha happened?

Posted by: Noam Sane on February 5, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm of two minds here:

1) Great article, as one would expect from Obama. He makes his points succinctly + is quite persuasive.

2) Relatively few people will read it, and, of those that do, many won't understand it.

As was said above, newspaper articles are nice, but Obama *needs* to take this to the TV + radio. That's where the most people people will actually see or hear him and begin to pressure their Reps and Senators- even Rebooblicans- to pass the legislation.

Barring that, all bets are off, eloquence or no eloquence.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on February 5, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

He needs to get on the teevee. Nobody is gonna read his WaPo editorial, outside the beltway.
He is getting on the teevee - what was it, five interviews yesterday? (and yes, he needs to do more of this.) The WaPo oped is precisely, I'm sure intentionally, aimed at the beltway/punditocracy audience.

Posted by: Ruth on February 5, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

g. powell:

I agree that it is the dems job to sell their position. But I do not agree that they have the same playing field from which to do so. I truly believe that the media deliberately slants messaging in the favor of conservatism. This has been going on for many, many years. If the media is the main lens through which we view the messaging, how is it that you know that the dems are so failing, in and by themselves?

I am not trying to lay all the problems on the door of the media. But I do recognize that whereas The GOP has devoted a huge amount of resources to manipulating the media, it is not equally doable for the dems because the compliant media, through the very ideology of their structure, lean toward the republicans.

Maybe this will change, but frankly, I don't see it.

I honestly don't know how the dems can overcome this.They don't have a vast left wing talk radio network. They have cnn, msnbc, even the network news anchorwads repeating talking points of the right, without anything more than a casual digging into the issues. Even when the dems do get air time, the media is right there next to them, blathering right talking points and ignoring anything reality based that the dems bring up. And this is what the public gets to hear.

I still believe that the media does, and has done more ill to shape public opinion then they are given...blame...for.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on February 5, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have succeeded in the short run because the 24 hour news cycle always advantages the party focused on the trees instead of the forest. The Washington media are infatuated with tactics and power, not ideology and idealism. The idea that our mainstream media is "liberally biased" is a farce and always has been. Cynical conservatives know it and employ this myth merely as a another tactic to intimidate the press in order to secure better coverage for their sacred cows. But they privately know the idea of an ideologically committed mainstream press is a sham.

Listen to the cable chatter and the talk is all about how Republicans outfoxed or out maneuvered the Democrats by securing more favorable media coverage for doing nothing more than joining hands to sit on their hands. This just goes to show that in big moments with lots on the line our media pretty much end up covering itself. The major focus of the media seems to be which side better "used" them better to advance their agenda. Republicans get the idea that "politics is just one big game, it's not serious" much more than do our ever-so-earnest Democrats.

So, Obama and his team learned a hard lesson this week. They learned that the bigger the crisis the easier it is for opponents in a 24 hour news cycle to capture the spotlight by highlighting the trivial. That may seem awfully irresponsible at a time when so many people are hurting and scared. But what can you expect from a party like the Republicans that honored the seriousness of this national moment by inviting "Joe the Plummer" to provide insight and inspiration to the GOP caucus. After Obama gets done pointing out the absurdity of Republican clownishness, perhaps he should shame the media into focusing on the larger forest for a change, because we're not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot.

Posted by: Ted Frier on February 5, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

perhaps he should shame the media

Difficult to do, considering they are shameless.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on February 5, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly