* Relief among liberals and Democrats: The mood among liberals and Dems in the wake of Obama’s jobs speech is primarily one of relief — he offered the big and bold indictment of the conservative economic vision they’d been hoping to see, after months and months of inexplicably battling it out on GOP turf. It’s also one of cautious optimism — all indications are that the speech was a tone-setter, the jumping off point for a newly aggressive approach to reflexive GOP opposition to everything he proposes. E. J. Dionne sums it up:
This speech won’t solve Obama’s problems. Only a persistent, disciplined and focused effort to advance this proposal and the ideas behind it can begin to do that. And to put it charitably, follow-through has not always been this administration’s long suit. Still, the nature of this speech suggests Obama knows that what he had been doing wasn’t working. That’s a good sign.
* Republicans strike cooperative tone: House GOPers say they will peel off parts of Obama’s proposal and pass them separately. Eric Cantor’s reaction was particularly interesting:
“The message was: either accept my package as it is, or I will take it to the American people. I would say that that’s the wrong approach. What we’re here to do is try to transcend differences, not let them get in the way in the areas we can make progress on.”
Glenn Thrush notes that this amounts to an acknowledgment that Obama’s hard shift to jobs carries political peril for Republicans, arguing that their reaction is an effort to “quickly defuse the political impact of Obama’s new focus.”
* Obama’s speech well received by swing voters? Pollster Geoff Garin convened a dial session during Obama’s speech last night with some 32 swing voters in Eric Cantor’s district, and according to the release, here’s what he found:
Prior to the speech, fewer than half of the respondents felt that Obama had the better approach to jobs than the Republicans in Congress. After the speech, close to three-quarters said they trust Obama more than the Republicans on the jobs issue...Many respondents came into the room feeling discouraged, dispirited, and disappointed, but in last night’s speech they saw the Barack Obama they had hoped they were electing in 2008. Their simple message to President Obama is: Keep it up...these voters were glad to hear the President say that he would take the case for his jobs legislation directly to the American people.
Caveat: The dial session was conducted for Priorities USA, the Dem group allied with the president. The thing to watch for is what national polls show about the reaction among independents and swing voters to Obama’s vow to fight to get the bill passed.
* Obama to hit the road to sell jobs plan: Yes, Obama has given speeches before, only to disappoint later, but Jonathan Capehart says this time things will be different, because Obama has clearly signaled that Republicans have a fight on their hands and that Obama will follow through.
Obama’s next stops are in the backyards of Cantor and john Boehner, and Capehart adds this: “A senior administration official tells me that he’s going to keep it up until the American Jobs Act is passed.”
The good news in all this is that by going bigger and bolder than expected, Mr. Obama may finally have set the stage for a political debate about job creation. For, in the end, nothing will be done until the American people demand action.
It all depends on Obama’s follow-through, and by all indications, the White House knows this.
* No more austerity economics? Ari Berman on how this represents a belated but welcome shift away from the austerity economics Obama and Dems had embraced.
* Obama’s jobs plan just what the economists ordered? Jonathan Cohn, who’s been talking to economists about what Obama’s jobs plan needs to accomplish, says the propsal unveiled last night meets their critera in the all-important categories of size and speed.
* But not all economists are persuaded: According to other experts, the jobs plan may not be quite enough to lift the economy out of the doldrums, though economists say the jobs-creation measures should not be minimized.
* Size of plan could make passage more difficult: An extensive roundup of reactions from economists is right here; the consensus is that while they were pleasantly surprised by the size of the proposal, that only makes it harder to get it past Republicans in Congress.
* A Congressional race worth watching: Taegan Goddard hears that new polling in the increasingly intense special election for Anthony Weiner’s seat will show that Dems are in trouble — and a loss here would be a real blow to Dems, given the complexion of this New York district.
Another sign Dems are nervous: The DCCC is going up with a half-million ad buy in the district, a place where national Dems were certainly not expecting to have to spend big money.
* The incredible shrinking Glenn Beck? Maybe, maybe not. Devin Leonard has an interesting look at his new effort to reinvent himself, post-Fox.
* And maybe nominating someone who calls Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” isn’t the best idea? GOP strategists and establishment types are deeply alarmed by Rick Perry’s refusal to back off his characterization of the popular entitlement program, and they think it gives Mitt Romney an opening to persuade Republicans he’s unelectable.
And get this: It turns out Social Security is popular, even among GOP primary voters!
What else is happening?