* Obama team torn over big jobs speech? This big New York Times piece will drive some discussion on the left today. It reports that Obama and his team are frustrated over how to recapture the aura that enabled him to get elected in 2008, and suggests tension between two conflicting impulses: Drawing a sharp and feisty contrast with conservatives, and striving to project a willingness to compromise with Republicans, even though they’re trying to destroy his presidency.
Seemingly in service of the latter goal, the piece reports that Obama’s team is discussing a a moratorium on some regulations, supporting the idea that government is stifling the economy:
The frustration has led to internal divisions among some advisers over the scope of his economic address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. The president intends to offer at least some progressive proposals to help regain a fighting posture that he has not had since the health care debate, but a provision is also being discussed to place a new moratorium on some regulations that affect the economy, excluding health care and financial rules. The proposals are likely to infuriate an already unhappy Democratic base.
“He’s erred on the side of trying to reason with unreasonable people, which seems to be the wrong strategy,” said Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union.
This is likely to anger the left, which will see this as yet another attempt to reach for the mythical “center” by validating the conservative economic and anti-regulatory worldview. But I would urge a bit of caution. The White House has long insisted that reports on internal divisions and Obama’s “repositioning” are overstated. Whether that’s true or not, I hope folks will wait to see the details of Obama’s speech before reaching any conclusions about an impending “sellout,” particularly since most signs suggest Obama’s team is eager to draw a sharp contrast with the GOP on jobs this fall. In the wake of Obama’s move on the EPA, the worry is understandable, but this is crying out for less reacting and more reporting.
* Obama to replay 2008 push for stimulus spending: Indeed, Zachary Goldfarb reports that Obama’s speech will sound like a rerun of his 2008 campaign push for more spending to boost the economy, and advisers are insisting that his posture on the economy hasn’t changed.
* Obama mulling introduction of a jobs bill? Buried in this Politico story about Obama’s political travails is a key nugget of news: Obama is considering introducing the jobs plan he will unveil Thursday as an actual jobs bill.
The report doesn’t have any details, but a jobs bill is something lefty commentators have been pushing for in the belief that it may be the only way to capture public attention and shift the conversation in Washington towards jobs.
* The next big labor brawl: The Communications Workers of America continues to pound away at Delta Airlines with a new Web video vowing victory in the fight over House GOP efforts to insert into the long-term FAA reauthorization a provision making it harder to organize airline and railway workers:
This fight will erupt later this month when the FAA reauthorization comes up again, and labor — which is badly in need of a victory and is currently mulling how much energy to put into the 2012 elections — will be watching to see if national Dems stand firm.
* Obama jobs speech must swing for the fences: Good advice from Bernie Sanders:
“The president has to bring forward a bold proposal. He can’t start the process by negotiating with himself. He needs to say, ‘If we do A, B and C, we can create millions of new jobs,’ and take it to the American people.”
* Obama’s base deserting him? New numbers from this week’s Post poll suggest some cause for worry:
Just 69 percent of liberals say they approve of the president’s performance, while 47 percent of 18-to-29 year olds do. Those are also new lows, and it’s the first time the youngest demographic has dipped below 50 percent approval for Obama.
* Romney touts alternative energy agency that Obama funded: Obama’s reelection team is circulating this new USA Today story reporting that Romney’s just-released economic plan criticizes Obama’s alternative energy policies by calling for investment in an agency created by George W. Bush — an agency that Obama himself is the only president to fund.
Expect Dems to use this one to argue — in advance of tonight’s GOP debate — that Romney and Obama are in sync on the issue, just as Romneycare revealed the similarities in their approaches to health reform.
* Republicans faced heat from constituents in August: The labor-backed Americans United for Change has produced an interactive map detailing the town hall heat progressives successfully organized during the recess against House Republicans over their fiscal policies. The scope and reach are interesting, though lefty groups were unable to create a sense that Republicans faced town hall rage akin to that faced by Dems in 2009, as they’d hoped.
* And Dems try tying GOP to Tea Party — again: With the GOP presidential debate set for tonight, the DNC is out with a new preemptive memo making an extensive case that the GOP presidential nominees have all embraced an economic philosophy — with a Balanced Budget Amendment at its center — that reveals them to be helpless hostages to Tea Party extremism.
The extensive Dem use of this strategy during the 2010 elections failed pretty badly, but it appears Dems are going to use this playbook once again. Will things be any different this time, now that Americans have turned on the Tea Party after seeing what happened when it was given a seat at the governing table?