Obama will have the nation’s attention Thursday night when he announces a new “jobs plan.” We recognize the address for what it really is and wonder if there is anything else on TV.
The local listings suggest a rerun of Hillybilly Handfishin’ will air at 7pm Eastern Thursday night on the Animal Channel. If you prefer live TV, Central Washington will battle Humboldt State on the gridiron.
The major channels will have coverage of Obama’s national address. The trailers have been running on the campaign trail but the President promises some additional job-creating revelations on Thursday night. It’s worth noting that the speech was originally scheduled for Wednesday but it conflicted with the Republican debate. After some back and forth it was finally moved to Thursday. The bickering is almost entertaining in itself but the subject matter simply doesn’t lend itself to humor.
Let’s be honest and recognize this isn’t about jobs though. This is about politics. It was evident in the GM parking lot where Obama gave his Labor Day speech today. He held it in Detroit where jobs are hard to come by. Most Obama supporters had the day off and could stop by for the stump, chanting “four more years” before the President even started his speech. The problem is that too many in the crowd and across the nation will be off tomorrow as well.
Obama says he is putting the “finishing touches” on a plan to put America back to work. The speech sounds pretty good. I listened to it twice today. There was a key detail missing in this plan for “more than one million unemployed construction workers to get dirty right now” though. Funding. We don’t really have the funds available for a new stimulus, which in case there is any confusion, is exactly what this is.
Republicans are undoubtedly putting their own finishing touches on a response that will likely focus on the inability for previous stimulus measures to make a lasting impact on unemployment. Obama recognizes that aside from perhaps a payroll tax holiday and other fairly insignificant legislation, this “jobs plan” is going nowhere – except the campaign trail. The stage is already set to blame Republicans if the full agenda isn’t passed in short order.
The White House also knows the unemployment rate will remain elevated. Their own projections were recently revised and acknowledge that likelihood. The key is thus to find someone to blame for high unemployment before voters go to the polls in November. This speech isn’t about another stimulus package that can meaningfully reduce unemployment and provide a catalyst for a stock market rally. It is simply about political gamesmanship and finger pointing. There has to be something better on TV than that.