Obama’s job speech: will it put an end to political gamesmanship?
Between the Lines
After the August employment report came and it showed the economy flatlining (at least for a month) on new jobs, President Obama’s jobs plan is coming right on time. Lazy ass Congress is back at work, after a summer of political gamesmanship, and we will now see if all the “big talk” will turn to action. Or will it be more of the ideological bickering that led to gridlock the past year, and the whining of Democrats that the president is not fighting hard enough.
Me, myself, I want to see if the mighty-mouthed Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is going to continue to get punked and their butts kicked by the Tea Partiers some more, or if they are going to stand up for their constituents’ interests like the Tea Party throws down for theirs. It’s one thing to call for a trillion-dollar jobs package, it’s another thing to pass one. They want the president to put the “bully” back into the bully pulpit. What’s Congress putting up …besides some more rhetoric. That’s what we need to watch for in the president’s job speech. Is the gamesmanship going to continue?
Everybody appears to be emboldened during this period of employment desperation. It’s opened the door for the noise and noisemakers to create the same illusions and delusions ideologues have become known for.
Republicans think government can’t save us and new taxes will bury us. The Democrats think government, namely the president, can make industry create work for a segment that has been discriminated against forever. I’d be curious to find out how many people were hired from the CBC job fairs around the country. Or was it another “smoke and mirrors” engagement to make politicians look good. Industry will always show up. They don’t always hire.
The job fairs were a demonstration showing the level of frustration out there. It was great theater, and it pandered to a most desperate base, Black people. But as one curtain comes down, and another one goes up, does everybody know their cues? I’m sure the Republicans know theirs. They continue to frustrate the process, as Boehner showed in not deferring to the president’s wish to speak to Congress a day earlier. They continue to tap his chest and knock the chip off his shoulder.
And certainly less sophisticated players would be in a fight by now. I know I would. But it’s the same strategy Obama used to get elected president.
The president loses control in an all-out-fight, and it reduces the political landscape to “politics as usual,” which is what the Republicans want. They want him to use old tactics to fight this politic of obstructionism and gamesmanship. What are the Democrats in Congress doing to deflect that? What is the CBC doing to deflect the obstructionism, other than become a part of the rhetorical gamesmanship? We’ll see.
Those Democrats on the schoolyard yelling “fight, fight, fight,” were quiet as church mice during the debt ceiling debate. But got brave during the summer vacation. Now that they’re back in school, they’re the ones calling for the president to fight harder. It seems they are quicker to push somebody else into a fight than fight themselves. Let’s see if they can get a trillion-dollar jobs package through Congress, even if the president doesn’t propose it. You bad! Go ahead, do something, besides talk.
This is going to be an interesting session of Congress, because we’re getting ready to see if the Democrats really know how to fight. Yeah, we’ll be watching the president squabble, but will it be 218 against 218, or will it be one against 435? Is the CBC just looking to push the president into a fight? Or is it willing to push the Democrats in Congress to fight? We’ll see where the rhetoric meets the road, very soon.
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the upcoming book, “Real Eyez: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture.” He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.
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