A personal anecdote puts President Obama’s speech on the American Jobs Act last night into proper context. A couple of weeks ago I was at a Mexican restaurant with some friends and Obama came up. A little inebriated and a little frustrated, one of my friends a 30-year-old black woman executive at a Fortune 500 company complained, “I’m so disappointed with Obama I don’t know what I’m going to do next year. I don’t even know if I’m going to vote.”
After listening for a few moments I pointed out that Obama isn’t worried about young black college-educated professionals. They’ll all get in lock-step and vote for him again next year if for no other reason than watching Perry or Romney for nine months will scare people into the voting booth. Obama’s main concern is the 43-year-old single mother of two who took her kids to the voting booth in 2008 excitedly and now she’s just not feeling the love like she used to. His speech tonight to Congress to introduce his jobs bill was for that woman, and maybe just maybe she’ll give him the time of day again.
Obama’s whole campaign for 2012 is the “Re-Seduction Tour” where he’s got to get everyone to love him again. He’s been the wayward boyfriend who swept you off your feet in 2008. Then he got busy, and the phone calls stopped coming, then you noticed he’d been getting a little too flirty with those Republicans.
See that alone wouldn’t make you fall out of love but nobody likes to see their man get punked, and the GOP has been Ashton Kutcher to Obama’sJustin Timberlake ever since re-taking the House in 2010. So the President has to win back hearts and minds.
He started that tonight with his big jobs speech, hitting that perfect pitch of don’t make me come off this podium with that smooth talking y’all know you wanna do this pitch that makes Independent voters weak in the knees and has all but the most stalwart Republicans twitching in their seats.
The substance of the speech is less important than the tone it sets so we’ll start with that. Obama not only is proposing a bill that will get Americans back to work but he said that he would basically shame Republicans into doing something by visiting all over the country (and in their districts) to push the plan. One of his killer lines was saying that though a lot of Republicans wanted to wait it out until the next election cycle the American people “can’t wait another 14 months!”
Sounding angry, and threatening to come into their home turf if he had to was exactly the kind of thing that the Democratic base wants to hear and gets independents grinning again waiting for Obama to give them a call.
Forget Whitehouse.gov — all of Obama’s speeches should be on this site, because he sounds so sexy and convincing, but in the end you’re just going to get hurt again. The speech was pretty. It was a $450 million dollar package instead of the $300 million most people were expecting. Economists estimate that it will create about 2 million jobs.
But what good is that when there are about 15 million people out of work? More specifically Obama’s plans are counter-productive and following that same Reaganomics model that has partially put us in the hole that we’re in now. The reason companies aren’t hiring is not because they’re paying too much in taxes, it’s because there are not enough sales. It’s that simple. Economists have been saying for years that many companies are simply stockpiling cash right now, and giving them a few cuts for hiring new employees is still not cheaper than simply overworking the people you have.
A few ditch-digging and road projects over the next few months is not going to be big enough or move fast enough to get Americans back to work. For that same $450 million dollars in tax cuts and projects the President could just hire 14 million people right now and put them to work in various government agencies to modernize communications, re-build decrepit infrastructure and improve efficiency. Oh wait, we tried that before, and it worked but no one has the political will to do it again. Especially when this bill must be paid for by cuts in government spending, which means thousands of more government employees are going to get laid off in order to get a couple of private companies to re-hire for pennies on the dollar.
Of course no one really cares about that, what the public cares about is the fact that President Obama sounded tough, and for once was promising to do more than initially expected. After a couple of weeks he called you back, and even though he’s still not sure about a commitment, he misses you, and wants to make it work. He totally wants to take you out next November. Besides, it’s not like the other guys are really floating your boat.