Already frustrated with Washington, many Americans threw up their hands in disgust this week when President Obama got into a pissing match with House Speaker John Boehner over the date for a speech ostensibly about creating jobs.
The "deeply ridiculous fight over exactly when President Obama might address a joint session of Congress…reaffirmed what everyone knows: Current political leadership is incapable of getting anything significant done and the nation will have to wait at least through 2012 to find any clear direction," writes Politico's Ben White.
"Significant or insignificant," quips Alex Burns, Politico's national political reporter. "The President is going to give speech supposedly on how he's going to create 1 million jobs. But it doesn't exactly instill confidence he'll get that through Congress if they can't schedule the speech itself without difficulty."
Indeed, while myriad trial balloons are being floated Burns sees extremely low odds that anything of "real scale" can make it through Congress, which makes him wonder: "Is this speech about creating jobs, about turning around the economy? Or is about re-framing the national conversation in a way that's more favorable to the President?"
Given the political realities, Burns says a "win" for the President will be a "if he comes out something he can credibly call a common sense, mainstream job creation package that will fail in Congress and then Pres can blame Congress for that failure"
In sum, the brouhaha over the timing of Obama's speech — now slated for Sept. 8, but before kickoff of the NFL opener — is insignificant in itself, but symbolic of the incredible level of dysfunction in Washington.
"It's one more thing on top of a pile of very discouraging incidents this year," Burns says.
- House Speaker John Boehner
- joint session of Congress