Obama Versus The Do-Nothing Republicans

Tonight’s speech was an opening round in a new phase of Obama’s struggle to save  the economy as well as his presidency. Going into the speech, I wondered whether he would concentrate on gaining support from the  Democratic base or independents. Obama has concentrated on independents during much of his presidency, and far too often has seen independents swayed by misinformation of the right as centrist policies were called socialist.  Often going towards the center has often left Obama in an unfortunate position of losing the left  without receiving political benefit from the middle for this. It was beginning to look like perhaps Karl Rove was right and the way win most elections these days is to get out the base and ignore the middle. The problem is that the Democratic base is not large enough to win without independents.

Obama won by uniting the left and middle in 2008.  He may have now found a formula for doing this again, not accepting the choice of restoring relations with the left versus the center. He managed to come up with an approach which should both regain support from the center while also restoring support from liberals (excluding those portions of the left who have been so out of touch all along that they could not distinguish between the policies of Barack Obama and George Bush).

There is one group who Obama received little applause from–Republicans. Hasn’t Obama learned anything from the GOP debate? If he wants applause from Republicans, he must promise executions.

Obama once again directly took on the Republican idea that government should do nothing, a far better frame for the 2012 election than the short-term state of the economy. Obama remains too conciliatory to openly say in an address before Congress that Republican policies caused the recession, and in the past year Republican (along with Tea Party) actions have hindered recovery. It is clear from today’s speech that if Congress does not pass his jobs act they will pay for this next year. Not only is  Obama getting ready to go to the Harry Truman playbook and campaign against a do-nothing Congress, he is willing to take on the whole do-nothing philosophy of the right wing.

Give ’em hell, Barry

The full text of the speech is under the fold.