Obama, a president who gets a lift from supporters outside the Beltway and wilts in the D.C. hothouse, is hitting the road for all the expected second-term reasons: to regain his slipping leverage over Republicans ahead of the looming debt ceiling battle this fall, and to refocus his oft-meandering message back on the economy, which is all voters really care about.
Yet as much as anything, Obama has embarked on this week’s series of policy speeches to improve his own ambiguous frame of mind and take a comforting spin in the way-back machine, like a veteran chart-topper revisiting smaller, friendlier haunts on a comeback tour.
Obama. Britney Spears. What is the difference, really?
That approach risks his embodying the Republican caricature of him as a rhetoric addict who schedules a speech anytime he can’t think of anything better to do — but his team is willing to risk the ridicule to change the Obama in decline narrative.
We’re four grafs in. Spot any actual facts yet? Tell me more about the Republican caricature, though, guys, because that’s a real thing, as is “risking the ridicule.” That’s on par with any actual stuff the president of the UNITED STATES OF JESUS GODDAMN TITS AMERICA might do.
Aides describe Obama as basically upbeat but restless, eager to try any approach to break the logjam that is threatening to grind his second-term agenda to dust.
Somebody went to journalism school for like a hundred years to get the chance to ask a White House aide, on condition of anonymity no doubt, what the president’s mood was like. Imagine that person for a moment. Then feel better about the contributions you are making to society.
But first, they said, he needed to clarify that agenda ahead of what promises to be a groundhog-day autumn of partisan warfare over the debt ceiling and deficits after months of lurching from what one West Wing ally called “Scandal-abra” — the Internal Revenue Service, National Security Agency and Benghazi controversies — to stalled policy pushes like the unsuccessful post-Newtown gun control push and the ongoing bipartisan immigration reform efforts.
Controversies. None of which, again, are actual things, but look at the way we presume Republican hissyfits are real, because controversies.
And whatever attention-whoring West Wing “ally” is lending credence to this shitpile, please fire yourself from humanity.
The most important message Obama sent to Republicans, said Goolsbee, was that times have changed: “We’re already cutting faster than we’ve ever cut before. The deficit is going down faster than it’s ever gone down. Do you really think that all we need is just more cutting?”
Getting voters to absorb that message will be a challenge.
Especially with journalism like this.
The staid stagecraft of Obama events — a guy with a tie standing in front of woo-hooing fans on a riser — gave the Knox College event a generic, perfunctory feeling on the cable networks that carried it.
POLITICO DEMAND BALLOONS! POLITICO BORED! POLITICO WANT DANCING GIRLS!
It doesn’t help that Obama’s team has opted for speeches, as opposed to the town halls he favored early in his presidency, to keep off-key audience members from hijacking the day’s message.
The chosen milieu tends to bring out Obama’s listen-to-his-own-voice tendencies, Democrats groused, and the Galesburg speech — while enthusiastically received — clocked in at an epic 66 minutes.
What Democrats were grousing? We never do find out. And did you just say the speech was enthusiastically received? Because a graf ago it was staid and not pleasing to your eye.
As to the headline, how does one measure presidential “grooviness,” anyway? Is there a poll taken, or do we just ask Bill Clinton, yet another guy in a tie who talked long at podiums?