"Mark your calendars," we were advised last week; President Obama is set to deliver a "big" jobs speech in early September. I can hardly suppress my exuberance. Deep breaths. In advance of this latest "hard pivot" to jobs, the president and his spin-meisters are seeding a narrative they hope will sprout up and bear fruit over the next year. Namely, we could get this economy back on track if only these damned unpatriotic Congressional Republicans would just put their "country first," or something!
"The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back. That’s what we have to change."
"Are [Republicans] willing to set aside some party allegiance? Are they willing to tell the Tea Party that they're going to do what's best for the country, and not just necessarily what's best for their political party?"
"And one of the problems that I have right now is too few Republicans are willing to stand up and say to that group back off, let's do what is good for the country, let's not be so partisan, so ideology that we can't come together and solve our problems."
Out of curiosity, what -- pray tell -- are these new and exciting initiatives the president will set forth in his speech? The visonary agenda Republicans are poised to jettison in a fit of anti-American pique? Axelrod elaborates:
Well, first of all, let me say, these are not all new ideas. Some will be new, some we already talked about. There are things he has been asking congress to do for some time, and some of them -- for example, extending the unemployment -- the payroll tax cut that was passed in January for another year. That's something that is absolutely critical to do. There are basic things we need to do relative to infrastructure, rebuilding our roads and bridges, that needs to get done. So some of the things will be familiar because he has been talking about them.
Doesn't Axe's explanation whet your appetite for The One's speech all the more? Sigh. As far as the "blame Republicans!" meme goes, let's play along and pretend we've all forgotten that Democrats held absolute control of the White House, Senate, and House for two full years -- during which they could have passed anything they wanted (which, in many cases, they did). Allahpundit notes a special irony in the White House's latest round of patriotism-questioning bilge:
...what was amazing about the “don’t raise the ceiling” crowd during the debt debate is that they were prepared to absorb a ferocious backlash against their own party in the name of doing something significant, i.e. Cut Cap and Balance, to solve America’s debt crisis. Time and again they were told that the GOP would bear the brunt of public anger if we didn’t make a deal, but they preferred that outcome to a weak compromise because at least there’d be important reform as a result. I know Democrats cherish their belief that the right acts only out of personal pique, not principle — it’s all part of the delegitimization game — but the caucus really was trying to put country first in that debate. Their means and ends simply differ from Obama’s; the fact that The One interprets that the way he does says more about him than it does about them.
Come to think of it, the phrase "Country First" rings a bell for some reason...