Free Markets, Free People

The Irrelevant President?

Dana Milbank discusses the “atmospherics” of the speech last night.  A bit of a look at how it was all perceived, regarded, treated by those in attendance.  Some nuggets:

Presidential addresses to Congress are often dramatic moments. This one felt like a sideshow. Usually, the press gallery is standing room only; this time only 26 of 90 seats were claimed by the deadline. Usually, some members arrive in the chamber hours early to score a center-aisle seat; 90 minutes before Thursday’s speech, only one Democrat was so situated.

Relevance?  When you can only inspire the filling of 26 of 90 seats in the press gallery, how relevant are you?  Or perhaps a better question is, how much news does the press think will actually be made with the speech.  If those numbers were a poll, they wouldn’t be a very favorable one.

And enthusiasm.  One Democrat arrived early to grab a coveted isle seat?  If you’ve ever watched the entrance of a president, it is clear those seats were claimed to get a little face time and flesh pressing with the President.  One Democrat was interested.

In fact, as Milbank points out, most of the empty seats (those not in the press gallery) were to be found on the Democratic side:

Almost all Republicans ignored the calls of some within their ranks to boycott the speech. In fact, the empty seats were on the Democratic side. Democrats lumbered to their feet to give the president several standing ovations, but they struggled at times to demonstrate enthusiasm. When Obama proposed payroll tax cuts for small businesses, three Democrats stood to applaud. Summer jobs for disadvantaged youth brought six Democrats to their feet, and a tax credit for hiring the long-term unemployed produced 11 standees.

Obama spoke quickly, urgently, even angrily. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) stared at the ceiling. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) scanned the gallery. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was seen reading a newspaper.

In fact, it is apparent a whole lot of folks in that chamber really didn’t want to be there. Then there’s this:

Republican leaders, having forced Obama to postpone the speech because of the GOP debate, decided they wouldn’t dignify the event by offering a formal, televised “response.” And the White House, well aware of Obama’s declining popularity, moved up the speech time to 7 p.m. so it didn’t conflict with the Packers-Saints NFL opener at 8:30.

Priorities. A presidential speech to a joint session of Congress rates lower than an NFL game (ok, given, it is the opening game of the season, but still). And the GOP waives off a rebuttal? Again, the anticipation of anything new was just not there.  And in that department, Obama did not disappoint, serving up old hash and calling it new.

And although Milbank still tries to push the “GOP forced Obama to postpone” meme, it is clear that the bloom is off the Obama rose for good.  The supposed best orator of our era has been outed.  He’s all blow and no go.  Why be enthusiastic about that?  Why even show up?

Well, most showed up because they had to or they were forced too by good old politics:

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) had planned to skip the speech to host a football party, but the Senate majority leader thwarted his plan. “Typical Harry Reid,” Vitter tweeted. “He’s now schdld votes that should’ve been this morn 4 right b4 & right AFTER prez’s speech. Pens me in 2 have 2 stay.”

Interesting when you have to go to lengths like that to assure attendance to a Presidential speech, isn’t it?  Moves like probably wouldn’t be necessary if a president was still relevant, would they?  The press gallery would be standing room only, Democrats would have arrived hours early to grab isle seats and standing ovations would have been a dozen a minute for a relevant president.

Or at least that’s what history shows us.

Respect is earned, not granted.  This president has obviously not yet earned the respect he thinks he deserves.  But he is certainly getting the level of respect he has earned.


Twitter: @McQandO

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38 Responses to The Irrelevant President?

  • You are left to wonder if Rep. Hank Johnson was on to something.
    Could DC be in danger of tipping over and capsizing ?

  • I put on my if this were a Republican hat and thought it odd that as soon as CBS had finished their “glowing” political analysis, that they cut to a report of a “credible and specific” terrorist threat.  We have already been told that when then “terminated with extreme prejudice” the leader of al Qaeda, that there were documents of chatter about an 10 year plan.  So is that the source ?
    If this were Bush, they would have called a “leak” to the press of this type pure unadulterated “Wag the Dog” stuff.
    So now we are told there are three guys with “plain names” seeking to do car bombs.  Or maybe it’s just Jimmy Hoffa and his boys.

    • I dunno.  If you ask Nanny Bloomberg, he’d probably say it was Tea Partiers against Obama’s jobs bill….

  • He’s getting angry, which I thought he would not show.  But there it is, for all to see in plain view.
    He’s beginning to lose it, and he knows
    “Pass this bill”…
    Uh, no, Mr. President.  Just “No”.

    • Some of the anger, I believe, is genuine and some of it is a sop to his base which demands that he stand up to Republicans with righteous indignation.

      • I think you’re right.  Bad Luck Barry has been criticized by lefties fr being too cool, aloof, dispassionate, uncaring.

        “This is my ‘angry’ face.  And this is my ‘angry’ voice.  Are you convinced that I’m angry?  Are you convinced that I’m serious?  That I care?”

        • Yeah.  Obama really told off those despicable Republicans.  Just like everybody told him to do it.
          You see this cat Obama is a bad mother– (Shut your mouth) But I’m talkin’ about Obama (Then we can dig it)
          Next, he will be going after them with a “wet noodle”

          • I like the calm strong way Boehner and the Reps are responding. Obama is hoping for them to overreact, so they have to thread the needle between outrage and meekness (as in McCain’s campaign). It looks like they have worked out some decent discipline.

    • And then it hit me. Obama reminded me of Ron Popeil.

  • As I note in my blog “Obama Channels Truman,” Obama’s speech last night shows why he’s going to be re-elected.  He’s set up the GOP as a ‘do nothing Congress” and is done simply trying to get compromise.   Obama’s approval ratings may be 43%, but a good 15% of those are Democrats angry that he’s veered right and has tried to make nice with Republicans.  The Republican Congress has lower ratings than Obama (even lower than the old Democratic Congress) and the tea party’s popularity has plummetted.  Obama can win back his base (his speech last night already started to — and as the campaign comes and his tone becomes more Trumanesque, they’ll be back), and the House may well be in play.   Boehner looks impotent, unable to control a party that has been taken over by extremists who are unwilling to do anything but follow a simplistic ideological mantra.  The risky move of calling Congress into session and delivering a speech on the biggest problem facing the US marks the moment when Obama took over control of the debate, framed the next election, and made the GOP look petty.   Mark my words – the political pendulum is again swinging, this time away from 2010.

    • Erb: Channeling Truman is obviously the strategy — conservative commentators have been all over that for weeks — but it doesn’t mean that it will work. The majority of Americans don’t trust Obama on the economy and this is more of the same stuff that hasn’t worked and Americans don’t trust.

      We’ll see how blaming Republicans.

      Your jazz about the GOP being taken over by extremists is just your petty temper tantrum that you repeat at every opportunity. Remember how well your keen analysis on the Tea Party worked in 2010?

      • And no matter how 2012 turns out, this imbecile will show up and crow about how he predicted it. He has an amazing ability to rearrange reality in his own mind to make himself look good to himself. Guess that’s what you get from an advanced degree in the social sciences.

        Besides, haven’t you heard? Professor Dumbass predicted 2010 correctly, he says. He predicted the Democrats would have trouble holding the House, he says. So just ignore the fact that he was shamed into admitting on a comment thread here right after the election that he got it way wrong. He has rearranged that memory so he was right. And you’ll never be able to tell him anything different.

    • Mark my words – the political pendulum is again swinging, this time away from 2010.

      >>> It’s obviously swinging towards your a**……which is also where your head resides.

    • marks the moment when Obama took over control of the debate, framed the next election, and made the GOP look petty

      >>> LOLLLLLLLLLL   Actually, it marks a moment nobody cared about, between the football game, massive power outage out west, and upcoming 9/11 events.

      • “Presidential addresses to Congress are often dramatic moments. This one felt like a sideshow. Usually, the press gallery is standing-room-only; this time, only 26 of 90 seats were claimed by the deadline. Usually, some members arrive in the chamber hours early to score a center-aisle seat; 90 minutes before Thursday’s speech, only one Democrat was so situated.”
        –Dana Millbank, headlined “The irrelevancy of the Obama presidency”

    • What a nearly perfect moron your are, Erp.
      Bad Luck Barry is channeling Ji-mah Cutter.  He is becoming a joke…a dirty, expensive joke.

    • “The Republican Congress”
      Didn’t you forget something? Like maybe the Democratic Senate?
      “his tone becomes more Trumanesque,”
      As in ‘The buck stops here’?
      All in all, a rather pathetic list of leftish cliches. You even forgot the quotation marks.

    • An example of “some people can be fooled all of the time.”

    • We’ve marked your words before and we found out something – the words are not your own, they are Democratic Party Talking Points.  You remind me of Obama, you keep saying the same thing over and over again hoping the public will catch on.  Like him, you believe you’re the smartest person in the room – You’re Not!!!  If your ideas were worth listening to then there might be some reason to listen.  Next time try and be original and write something worth reading.

    • [B]arack Obama is no Harry Truman,” Krauthammer said. It’s not that complicated. Obama is over his head. He is a great orator. He came out of nowhere. He dazzled America. He [has] never run anything. He never actually enacted anything even in the legislature. He hadn’t run a state. He hadn’t run a city. He hadn’t run a business. He is running the biggest enterprise in the world and he has not succeeded. And that is why all of these independents, all of those who believed in a soaring rhetoric, including probably a couple who swooned in the aisles as he spoke in 2008, are now waking up and realizing he is a mortal who is in over his head.”

  • It’s really sort of pathetic when you think of it: the President of the United States is becoming an object of scorn and ridicule.  I suppose that this is how the left felt about Bush.  However, I suggest a difference: Bush was hated.  Barry is dismissed.

  • “Pass this bill…er…SPEECH…”
    As in the past, there IS NO BILL.  No PLAN.
    Maybe he meant, “Pass this BULL…”???

    • White House Spokesman Jay Carney told Bill O’Reilly last night that the Obama Administration will announce how to pay for their $447 billion plan two weeks from now.

      You have to “pass the bill” to find out how they will pay the bill.

      I’ve seen this movie before.

    • My current thinking is that Obama doesn’t expect the bill, in whatever form it emerges, to pass. He is laying the groundwork for blaming the GOP in next year’s campaign.

      • Which would be more recycling of EPIC FAIL stupid.  It worked SO well in 2010, they just have to run with it again?
        Please, Jesus…let it be so…

        • That’s what a recommended diary at DKos claims:

          BRILLIANT! IDIOT GOP dives right into Obama’s trap!

          The problem is that Obama has bluffed the GOP before with his “Takin’ It to the People” shtick and come up empty-handed.

          The trick, they seem to believe, is that Republicans have voted for similar measures before and therefore will be revealed as terrible hypocrites if they refuse to this time.

          I don’t think this will work (a) because that was then this is now — the debt is much larger, (b) it didn’t create jobs before, so why will it succeed this time, (c) there is plenty of hypocrisy on Obama’s side if comes down to that kind of showdown, and (d) independents have soured on Obama and won’t leap to believe him.

          But hey, it does fire up the base and the usual “There must be a pony!” thinking.

          • ANNNND…how is “taking it to the people” going to be effected…???
            By SPEECHES…!!!
            And we KNOW that is on the down-hill slope of the “doesn’t work” end of the curve.
            People are just tuning him out.  The result of what I’ve called Obamic Tinnitus…that annoying constant buzzing in your ears.
            That LIES.

          • Given the choice between going to the center (not the same as declaiming about bipartisanship) and going to the bunker, Obama has chosen the bunker each and every time since 2009. Given who he is and his limitations as a politician and as a thinker, I don’t think he could have done otherwise at this juncture.

            But since he needs results more than rhetoric, I can’t see it working in 2012. He will still be a formidable campaigner but his record and the economy are huge lead weights holding him down from the clouds where he prefers to hold forth.

            Speeches, as you note (along with MoDo by the way), won’t suffice.

  • “Obama can win back his base”
    His base was comprised of the totally ignorant and the completely dishonest, so the vast majority haven’t gone anywhere, especially since they’ve been trained to beleive that any honest reporting is ‘extreme right’ or ‘racist’. If the the nation’s Poly-Sci and social studies teachers were minimally competant (in both their knowledge and professional integrity), that base never would have exceeded 1%.

    Sadly, there is a decent chance Obama will be re-elected, showing that a majority of American’s are either too disinterested or too intellectually poisoned to make an honest evaluation. And a do-nothing Congress would be the best thing for him, even Erb admitted, recession and recovery is part of the normal economic cycle. The two years of do-anything Congress just extended the job losses,  doing nothing may allow the economy to recover enough that the casual voter isn’t that worried about it next November.

  • As I have stated elsewhere, Obama will never achieve irrelevancy.  Disasters, manmade or otherwise, I very seldom considered irrelevant.