There’s a lot of talk right now that the Citizens (!) United decision and the Scott Brown victory might give the Administration the perfect opportunity (or kick in the pants if you prefer) to summon that long lost populist voice, which has been suffering from a bit of laryngitis for the last year or so, to finally sing an aria to the little guy. A musical number or two certainly would make sense at this point. We’ve been hearing “We’d Like to Thank, You Herbert Hoover” in our heads for so long, we can’t remember what “Tomorrow” even sounds like. So, not unlike his predecessor, Obama has decided that a stroll into the footlights is what is needed; but seems to forget, as Bush always did, that the songs have to connect to what is happening onstage. Musical numbers are great, but there is also a plot involved, and the administration, just like the last one, has failed utterly to advance it. ”Tomorrow” must forever be in the next Act, as nearly as I can tell.
Nonetheless, the administration has made a “bold” shuffling maneuver in its staff, which essentially amounts to making up a new fake title for David Plouffe to come in and be the vocal coach and choreographer, reprising the role he played so brilliantly, so long ago and far away, in 2008. They’re going to need a serious orchestra, and maybe the Rockettes, to sell this number. Here’s Plouffe:
– We need to show that we not just are focused on jobs but also create them. Even without a difficult fiscal situation, the government can have only so much direct impact on job creation, on top of the millions of jobs created by the president’s early efforts to restart the economy. There are some terrific ideas that we can implement, from tax credits for small businesses to more incentives for green jobs, but full recovery will happen only when the private sector begins hiring in earnest. That’s why Democrats must create a strong foundation for long-term growth by addressing health care, energy and education reform. We must also show real leadership by passing some politically difficult measures to help stabilize the economy in the short term. Voters are always smarter than they are given credit for. We need to make our case on the economy and jobs — and yes, we can remind voters where Republican policies led us — and if we do, without apology and with force, it will have impact.
I mean, really. Here we have depression-level unemployment and poverty, which is the main reason Obama and the Democrats suddenly fear oblivion in November, and the “new, improved,” Plouffe has come up with a plan for it that makes Clinton’s school uniforms idea look consequential. Never mind that the myriad failures and capitulations in nearly every other area important to liberals and ordinary Americans have whittled away the Democratic base to a point where it would fit in a phone booth, these guys are proudly announcing that double digit unemployment is like the weather; you can talk about it, but that’s about it. Then you change the subject, “Can we talk about three vaguely related other things we haven’t (yet) fucked up quite as badly?” It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic, and harmful to real people, not just the bunch of tone-deaf actors putting on a Presidency made for television, who deserve what they get for their clunker of a show. Rotten tomatoes incoming.
Increasingly, I feel as though I’m watching a thrown game. The really big issues that were supposed to differentiate this administration from the last were casually tossed aside with surprisingly little anger: FISA, Guantanamo, indefinite detentions, both wars, torture, bailouts, and on and on, and I guess they’ve decided that if people will put up with that, why not Hoovervilles, too? Well, Mr. Plouffe, if you’ll remember, Hoover was a Republican, and things ended badly for him. FDR was the Democrat, and he didn’t waste everyone’s time talking about tax credits for small business. He actually did things, something this administration seems to regard as viscerally indecent.
The only hope of restoring American jobs is to wind down the military adventurism, restore regulations of the financial sector, repeal ruinous “free trade” agreements, and eliminate the Bush tax cuts. None of these things, though many songs have been sung about them, have happened or will happen, at the rate they’re going, in time for November, and if they even did by 2012 I’d be more than a little surprised. Americans can put up with a lot of things, as they demonstrated so well for the last ten years: pointless wars, corruption, crimes against humanity, and widening gaps between rich and poor. What they won’t put up with is living under bridges, and it doesn’t take a Harvard Law graduate to figure that out.
If Plouffe’s statement is any indication, I can only conclude that they want to lose. He might as well have promised a (salmonella-laced) chicken in every pot.