The President asked to speak before a joint session of Congress so we were to believe that he had a serious and thoughtful plan for job creation and economic growth to lead us out of this mess we are in, right? So what happened?
Speech tidbits began to leak out to the press as the Obama re-election team working in the White House began to manage expectations. The important nugget emerging was that Team Obama was setting the GOP up so that if this plan isn't immediately acted upon, no matter however poorly written, then it is GOP obstructionism at work. See, Obama doesn't want politics in this thing, just his re-election.
After reading the speech transcript and listening to those pundits on panels after the speech, it is said by economists that the Obama plan might work somewhat if it was passed intact. Not enough to get the economy straightened out, though.
As Charles Krauthammer said of the speech, "This isn't a speech, it's a set up" to blame Congress - Republicans - when this fails miserably.
By Barack Obama bringing the theatrics of a joint session of Congress for this speech that could have been delivered anywhere and any time, he admits he has failed in previous stimulus actions. This will be the third round of stimulus spending. The first happened right after he took office in 2009, with a Democratically controlled House and Senate who rammed through the horrendous deficit exploding stimulus bill and then at the end of 2010 when he renewed Bush tax cuts.
Just two years ago, Barack Obama admitted that raising taxes in a recession is a really bad idea. So, Thursday night he called for raising taxes on the "millionaires and billionaires" he loves to target. He used the worn out example of Warren Buffett paying taxes at a lesser rate than does his secretary. The fact is, Buffett uses every loophole and tax shelter available just like everyone else does. If Buffett was truly serious about paying a "fairer" share of his wealth in taxes, then he can write a check any day to the U.S. Treasury, as can any taxpayer.
How about Barack Obama? He is a millionaire now and likes to say he doesn't need the tax breaks. Does he pay extra to be "more fair"? Of course not. They are huge hypocrites.
As John McCain said, "it's old wine in new bottles", this speech. And, he is making another speech in another week or so to tell us how he proposes we all pay for this agenda.
And, the White House stagecraft was magnificant - instead of a 45 minute speech which was orginally said this speech would be, the speech was only 33 minutes. The GOP didn't make a televised response to the speech, thinking that it would interfere with the beginning of the opening NFL game. No politician wants to interfere with football. So, the White House either lied about the speech length or simply manipulated the evening events so that the GOP didn't give a response. There was time, after all, for a televised GOP response before the big game.
Chicago style thuggery rears its ugly head again.
So, the venue was way too big for the substance of the speech. Some of the President's thoughts will be worked with by the GOP. The President has finally come around to the idea of extending more tax breaks to small businesses after 3 years of the GOP asking for it and they can come together on that. Everyone can agree that military veterans deserve breaks for jobs and employers should be able to hire them easily.
House Republicans have produced plans for job growth and economic recovery. Now the Senate GOP has, too. The Frontiers Plan is available. Now maybe the President will acknowledge that the GOP has been working on the economic troubles in this country all along, even as he says otherwise, and truly begin to work with them.
Otherwise it was all just another campaign speech from Barack Obama.