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Obama’s Jobs Speech: Did It Hit Home?

Posted on the 09 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Obama’s jobs speech: Did it hit home?

President Barack Obama. Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

all-time lowfiery speech

This time, Obama’s focus was on job creation (it sounds less scary to Republicans than ‘stimulus,’ which is what he was proposing by another name). As The New York Times reported, Obama “ticked off a list of measures” – including a $447 billion package of tax cuts and government spending – “that he emphasized had been supported by both Republicans and Democrats in the past.” It may sound reasonable, but of course ultra-partisan US politics is anything but, so opinion is divided as to how successful Obama’s latest proposals will be.

  • Yes we can. There was plenty of praise for the speech. Harold Meyerson at The Washington Post called it a “good plan, good vision, good politics.” He was impressed with the ambition of the proposals, claiming that their scope gave “Obama and his party the ability not only to rally many of his disenchanted core supporters but to reach out to voters in the middle of the political spectrum.” Looking ahead, Meyerson also saw the speech as a successful stage-setter for next year’s presidential campaign, in which Obama “will contrast his vision for economic revival with the Republicans’ Ayn-Randian mumbo-jumbo.” According to Meyerson, in that debate “Obama has the more compelling and plausible message.” There was enthusiasm too from Andrew Sullivan, live-blogging the speech at The Daily Beast. “Wow,” gushed a breathless Sullivan. “A threat to take this vision across the country if the GOP doesn’t cooperate now. That’s Truman-speak.” He called the speech “a blunt, confident attempt to win back the hearts of a disillusioned base,” and predicted that it contained many elements “Republicans may feel a little leery of rejecting.”
  • Or maybe we can’t. Sullivan’s colleague Zachary Karabell was less effusive in his praise. Karabell argued that not much in the speech was really new, saying it was “a challenge” to see how the proposals would “change the employment landscape.” Saying that “We needed more” from the president, Kabarell concluded that each of Obama’s suggestions “may or may not be worthy, but for employment, they are all largely incidental.” In The New York Times, Binyamin Applebaum reflected this pessimistic view, saying the proposals had “modest ambitions.” In a detailed survey of economists’ responses to the speech, Applebaum commented that most saw Obama’s plans as “helpful but not sufficient to lift the economy from its malaise.”

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