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Posted at 08:47 PM ET, 09/08/2011

What should we pass, President Obama? When?


It’s on the tip of my tongue. (Toni L. Sandys - WASHINGTON POST)
What should we pass? This jobs bill!

When should we pass it? Now!

If President Obama doesn’t make it to a second term, he’s got a great future ahead in pep rallies!

In the immortal words of Obama tonight, from which I have subtracted a little but added nothing: “... You should pass this jobs plan right away. ... Pass this jobs bill ... Pass this jobs bill. ... You should pass it right away. Pass this jobs bill. ... You should pass it right away. Pass this jobs bill. ... Pass this jobs bill. ... Pass this jobs bill. ... Pass this bill. ... Pass this jobs bill. ... You should pass it again — right away. Pass this jobs bill. ... You should pass this bill right away. ... This is simple math. ... This plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it.”

I’m sorry, what should we pass? When? I’m confused. But I’m sure Biden will explain it later, more folksily.

This was a good night for people who worried the speech might conflict with tonight’s football, but a terrible night for anyone who picked the phrase “Pass This Jobs Bill” as basis for his Presidential Address drinking game. (Steve, you are in my prayers.)

Some suggest that, at a loss for other strategies, the president hoped to invoke a congressional urban legend that the ghost of John Quincy Adams will require the House to pass anything if you ask them 21 times. Unfortunately he only managed to ask 15 times, by my count, and so John Quincy Adams’s spirit will remain trapped underground for another 14 months.

Alternatively, this could be the result of losing a bet of some kind, say with Michelle. “If I win, you have to tell Congress to ‘pass this jobs bill’ 15 times!” “If I win, you have to tell America that ketchup is a vegetable!”

The president also noted that the initiatives in his bill were ideas supported by both Democrats and Republicans “in the past,” making me worry that the Republicans who supported these initiatives were all from the Coolidge era.

He did not allay these concerns by invoking Abraham Lincoln and his commitment to build a transcontinental railroad. Disappointingly, the bill does not appear to include any provisions for another transcontinental railroad, but maybe Congress can fix this in committee.

But how sanguine was the president, really, in spite of all that insistence that Congress pass — I forget what exactly.

He almost seemed resigned. If that bill doesn’t pass, it certainly won’t be because he didn’t ask enough times. It’ll be because, as he noted: “Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences.”

Already?

Nonsense. It took me at least 15 minutes.

But it’s a curiously easy path out.

For someone who says so often that he wants this bill to pass, it seems almost as though he’s protesting too much.

Or maybe it wasn’t enough. After all, House Speaker John A. Boehner has already noted that the plan “merits consideration,” which doesn’t exactly sound as though he remembers what Obama asked him to do a mere 18 minutes ago.

Pass what? When?

If only he’d said it another six times.

By  |  08:47 PM ET, 09/08/2011

Tags:  Obama, Congress, jobs

 
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