Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Obama's "dog" day afternoon

Obama's "dog" day afternoon

 

It's been a rare thing lately but I thought President Barack Obama had a good day today -- although we'll see what the dreaded media spin cycle has to say about that. I thought it was a good day because a) he proposed an infrastructure plan that -- as is the case, occasionally -- would be good government if he somehow could get it past the 37 Percenters (that's how much of the U.S. is represented by the Gang of 41) and is also good politics, whether or not it passes and b) for Labor Day gave his most impassioned speech in months, so much so that when I stumbled across it on CNN on my satellite radio in the car I actually listened all the way to the end for once.

That said, I wonder if all anyone will talk about tomorrow will be this:

“They talk about me like a dog,” Obama said with a chuckle of his political opponents. “That’s not in my prepared remarks but it’s true.”

I'm starting a pool right now on which right-wing media personality (or elected official, for that matter) will be the first to point out that "dog" is a particularly biting insult in the Arabic world and thus more proof that Obama is "a secret Muslim." Regardless, the TV talking heads will probably dissect this six ways 'til Sunday, literally, and Sunday is five long days away.

It will surely divert attention from what's important:

 

President Obama, looking to stimulate a sluggish economy and create jobs, called Monday for Congress to approve major upgrades to the nation’s roads, rail lines and runways — part of a six-year plan that would cost tens of billions of dollars and create a government-run bank to finance innovative transportation projects.

With Democrats facing an increasingly bleak midterm election season, Mr. Obama used a speech at a union gathering on Labor Day, the traditional start of the campaign season, to outline his plan. It calls for a quick infusion of $50 billion in government spending that White House officials said could spur job growth as early as next year — if Congress approves.

Voters want Washington to do something about jobs, and infrastructure is the best way to go here. Most Americans have a good handle on how these type of projects create jobs for the middle class and also have seen with their own eyes how badly this nation has neglected it infrastructure for the last 40 years or so. This particularly appeals to those handful of sensible swing voters, while those who don't want Washington to spend another dime on anything are a) a vocal and large minority, but still a minority and b) people who wouldn't vote for Obama if he discovered a cure for cancer on the same day he landed a head shot on Osama bin Laden. Will the new Obama jobs program happen in gridlocked Washington? Almost certainly not, not between now and November, but there's never a bad time for a good idea.

As for Obama's style, you only had to listen to the speech for only10 seconds to learn that the guy relishes the campaign trail, and actually he was more lively than his general election speeches in the fall of '08 which seemed intentionally dulled up at times. The weird thing is that I think Obama also has passion for the task of governing -- geeky passion, at times -- but you'd think he could work a little more excitement into his speeches during the three seasons of the year not named Fall.

 

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Will Bunch
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