That was one bad-ass move by President Obama. For weeks, MSNBC has been showing commercials for the first post-Labor Day presidential debate with all of the declared Republican candidates. Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. This afternoon, the White House announced the date and time when Obama would release his long-awaited jobs plan. Sept. 7 at 8 p.m.
But, wait. There’s more. Obama will do it before a joint session of Congress. While the folks onstage at the Reagan Library try to look presidential in the eyes of viewers and voters, Obama’s address in the House chamber communicates clearly, “I AM the president of the United States.” Whether intentional or not — and I agree with The Fix, coincidences don’t happen in presidential politics — it’s a go-big maneuver.
My only concern is that Obama is not going to present anything we haven’t already heard or won’t propose ideas that stretch the imagination. He must if he’s to change the course and the dynamic of the debate. We’ve heard these do-or-die speeches from Obama to Congress before. This one must not be deemed a waste of time.
[Update, 5:20 p.m.: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he move his jobs speech to Thursday, Sept. 8, at a time of his choosing. His stated concerns about time-consuming security sweeps are not entirely unreasonable, if they are to be believed. But it should not stop Obama from speaking to the nation. As much as I like the idea of the president sending a bipartisan signal by acceding to the wishes of the House speaker, this isn’t the time for compromise.
Obama was going for a dramatic setting to match the import of his long-awaited jobs plan. There’s only one other place in Washington that ranks higher than the House chamber: the Oval Office. There have been only two addresses from that august setting: the announcement of the end of the combat mission in Iraq one year ago tonight and the talk on the Gulf oil spill on June 15, 2010.
With 9.1 percent unemployment and a sputtering economic recovery, the president should deliver his speech on the day of his choosing. Ultimately, though, the setting and day of Obama’s address are not nearly as important what he has to say.
Give your speech, Mr. President. But it better be good.]