The White House’s disdain is palpable and so is the attempt to build a narrative:
The speech will fall on the same night Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes his debut on the GOP 2012 debate stage. The Republican presidential field is set to take part in a debate, also scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
Asked whether the speech was purposefully scheduled the same night as the Republican debate, White House press secretary Jay Carney said “of course not.”
“It is coincidental,” said Carney, who explained that a number of considerations were taken into account when Obama settled on Sept. 7.
The WH clearly thinks this is a win-win of political spin. If Speaker Boehner agrees to the address, the White House gets to re-assert its primacy and Obama gets to seem presidential**. If Boehner says no, the Obama gets to say “see, the GOP won’t put country before party! They won’t work with me! They won’t work for you!”
Legal Insurrection writes that Boehner should say no to this transparently political maneuver:
I assume that protocol is that a President gets to give a speech to a Joint Session of Congress whenever he wants, but this is abusive and purely political.
Just say No
I’m not sure I agree. I think Boehner should say, “by all means, Mr. President; we’re so anxious to hear your jobs plan that we’ll be glad to put off our debate by a few hours. Our candidates should have a chance to hear your ideas, so they can include them within the context of their own ideas about job creation. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our stark distinctions.”
That sort of response disarms Obama, who then won’t be able to crow “they don’t care about jobs” and it arms the debate participants, who will be able to go into their debate with Obama’s plans ripe for deconstruction.
What the GOP needs to remember is that the Democrats no longer govern; they just maneuver, and they do it brilliantly. The GOP needs to learn how to do it. It’s actually a bit of an art
By putting his jobs speech into the context of historical presidential addresses, Obama is setting a high bar on expectations for his new plan. If all he delivers is the same speeded-up infrastructure spending, gimmicky tax breaks, and social-engineering subsidies for Democratic hobby-horse industries, then he’s risking a spectacular failure — and even more questions about his political and economic competence.
I wonder if Obama will attempt to triangulate the issue. I’m sure the President puts enormous stock in the power of his rhetoric. If rhetoric is all he’ll have to offer, along with the usual straw men, false choices and determined increase in spending, it will be spectacular only for its tone-deafness and its utter inability to understand how business, especially job-creating small business, feels confident enough to expand and hire.
**To my way of thinking, if Obama really wants to look presidential and put “country before party” he’d publicly correct this guy for “acting stupidly”
UPDATE: Ace writes:
Boehner should just say no, or propose that it comes earlier. That would be the smartest play– for Boehner say “There must be no delay, let’s do this sooner, not later.” I think.
Andrew McCarthy: There is no reason why Obama needs to make his announcement before a joint session of Congress — any more than there was any reason why, if he really has a cure for what ails us, he needed to delay it for a couple of weeks while he went on his Martha’s Vineyard vacation. He could have announced it on the 18th hole.