by Jack Landsman, Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 10:23:47 PM EDT
One of Jon Stewart’s most outstanding moments during the Bush administration was a 2006 segment—they called it “Rambling Man”—in which he dutifully displayed the 43rd president’s hapless and constant speechifying in response to violent events in Iraq that had spiraled out of his control and the resultant collapse of his popularity. In the interest of fairness and journalistic integrity—two things are no doubt synonymous with the awesome Daily Show—Mr. Stewart has now given the 44th president the very same treatment. The result: Escapist hilarity followed by a depressing comedown.
If Barack Obama’s personal and much-publicized attack on incoming House speaker John Boehner is any indication, we can assume the White House has finally caught up to what is certain to be the ugly result of the upcoming elections. This, Dear Readers, is what both people like me (self-aware employers of clichés) and the president (as a basketball enthusiast) must recognize as running out the clock.
The president journeyed to someplace known as Parma, Ohio, to tout three new economic initiatives. Since we know for certain that the demonstrable failure of already-implemented policies aren’t to blame for Democratic electoral woes, many in the Washington chattering class have been hectoring him to make a “hard pivot”—i.e. renewed speechifying and feckless stop-gap measures—to economic issues to shore up support for the party.
POLITICO has some salient details:
Touting his own economic plans, Obama alluded to three new proposals to jolt the struggling economy: a $50 billion federal investment to overhaul the nation’s railroads, highways and runways; a big tax break for businesses that conduct research and experimentation; and tax write-offs for companies’ expenditures on hiring, equipment and expansion.
Those measures carry a $180 billion price tag; Obama was careful to avoid calling it an economic stimulus plan, given the current national mood against government spending and the massive national debt. Republicans have nevertheless hammered the president, comparing his plan to the $814 billion emergency spending package he pushed through Congress last year – a measure the GOP leadership has declared a failure.