17 times he said it in his speech this week. 17 times he said it.
17 times he repeated some variation of the need to "Pass this bill now, Pass this bill, Pass this bill right away, Pass this bill immediately."
He referred to it as "his" bill, or rather, "the bill that he would be sending to Congress." Of course this implies that President Obama had indeed written a bill, and would thereby be... um... sending it to Congress.
He was so excited at the possibility of passing the bill that the day after he said it 17 times, he jumped on Air-Force One and starting saying it again in other parts of the nation.
Now never mind the fact that what he said this bill would do, was almost exactly what he said his stimulus bill would do in 2009. Never mind the fact that when he then asked for nearly $800 billion in stimulus monies that he pledged unemployment would be kept at under 8%. Never mind the fact that since passage of that first stimulus package the unemployment number has been between 9-10% for 26 of 28 months. And certainly never mind the fact that even though he claimed in his speech this week that this bill would already be paid for.
There is I suppose the little matter of the Associated Press scoring the fact check on the President's speech and that on four of it's most important ideas they claimed he was being untruthful. But how would anyone even know?
"Pass this bill right away," it bellowed out repeatedly some seventeen times in the halls of Congress, and across network airwaves who saw their ratings take on some resemblance of an EKG reading of someone who was in cardiac arrest.
"Pass this bill," we were told, if we cared about teachers losing their jobs, infrastructure developments that need to be completed immediately, and the idea that people would be put back to work.
Pardon my diversion here, but didn't we hear that the first stimulus "saved or created" some 389,000 teachers' jobs in California? Weren't we already told that, "infrastructural development" jobs (they were called "shovel ready projects" previously) were awaiting, only to have the President himself candidly admit that, "shovel ready" wasn't exactly, "shovel ready?"
"Pass this bill now," we have been commanded, if we want to see unemployment benefits be extended from 99 weeks to 144 weeks. That's 2 years to 3 years as the now standard length of time someone could go without working and not need to?
It must have been important for the President to say 17 times that his bill needed to be passed, and passed post haste.
Except for the one tiny little detail. That one almost completely insignificant little speck of a thing.
Evidently there is no bill.
At some point in the near future, no doubt after a solemn weekend, when Americans can and should be united in their efforts to remember our loss on 9.11.2001, that President Obama will return from his travels, only to remember that he forgot something.
But for now we've been told, we've been commanded, we've been instructed, and we've been charged, "Pass this bill now!"
Then again how big of a step is it from passing a bill to find out what's in it, by finally getting to read it, and passing a bill only to find out how to write it.
Perhaps former Speaker Pelosi could lend her help to the White House?
Or maybe he could revisit School House Rock? They've got a really educational little ditty called, "How a bill becomes a law!"
Maybe he should watch it 17 times.