Steve Benen: My initial take…. this was an exceptional speech from President Obama. For all the talk about him being too professorial, or too cool, or too reluctant to show a willingness to fight, this was Obama circa 2008 – passion meets vision meets policy. This was, at its core, a address about a policy crisis, but Obama made an emotional appeal.

What’s more, the president’s vision, the “American Jobs Act,” happens to have some really good ideas that, as it turns out, would actually offer a significant boost to the economy.

Perhaps most importantly from a purely ideological perspective, Obama pushed back aggressively against the idea that government is and should be powerless when it comes to creating jobs and growing the economy. A significant chunk of the speech was a defense of the power of government itself to make a positive difference, and it was most welcome given the prevailing political winds.

I also like the fact that there’s going to be a bill that will be on the table …. Obama will present, in writing, a specific legislative proposal, which will reportedly total about $450 billion – bigger than rumors suggested, and much closer to what the economy needs.

….For two weeks, I’ve been urging the president to swing for the fences. Tonight, it looks to me like the ball easily cleared the center-left bleachers.

More here


Paul Krugman: First things first: I was favorably surprised by the new Obama jobs plan, which is significantly bolder and better than I expected. It’s not nearly as bold as the plan I’d want in an ideal world. But if it actually became law, it would probably make a significant dent in unemployment.

….. it calls for about $200 billion in new spending — much of it on things we need in any case, like school repair, transportation networks, and avoiding teacher layoffs — and $240 billion in tax cuts….

…. it’s much bolder and better than I expected. President Obama’s hair may not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking; clearly and gratifyingly, he does grasp how desperate the jobs situation is.

But his plan isn’t likely to become law, thanks to Republican opposition. And it’s worth noting just how much that opposition has hardened over time, even as the plight of the unemployed has worsened.

….The good news in all this is that by going bigger and bolder than expected, Mr. Obama may finally have set the stage for a political debate about job creation. For, in the end, nothing will be done until the American people demand action.

More here


Andrew Sullivan: …. My own view is that this blend of short term stimulus balanced by serious long term entitlement reform is so obviously the sanest, smartest way forward it will sink in with most Americans. And complementing it with tax reform to give taxpayers a fair shake is the icing on the cake. What’s now clear is that he is betting big in the nest year. This is more aggressive than I have seen him since he got elected. There is a steely impatience here that is obviously designed either to get something done now, or, if not, to run a Truman-style anti-Congress presidential campaign…..

….. Wow. A threat to take this vision across the country if the GOP doesn’t cooperate now. That’s Truman-speak. After months of mild attempts to get Republicans to agree, he hasn’t caved, and he hasn’t demonized them. But he has now upped the ante, and has new fire in his belly. If he can succeed in getting a bulk of the jobs bill through and if the super-committee doesn’t fail, we have a chance to turn this economy around.

It was rooted in patriotism; it was framed to portray Obama as the pragmatic centrist he actually is. And it was not dishonest – these are the choices, short-term and long-term, that we have to make. And we should not be required to wait for another year and a half for action.

More here


John Judis (TNR): Barack Obama gave the best speech of his presidency tonight. It was angry, direct, and entirely appropriate to the occasion – an “economic crisis,” which, as he said, has been made worse by a “political crisis.” He spoke to the Congress, but also over their head to their constituents, and appealed to them to put pressure on their representatives…

He eloquently defended government against those who want to dismantle it. Americans, he reminded the audience, are not just “rugged individualists” but “all connected” and “there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.” “Ask yourselves—where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges, our dams and our airports?” He made the case for government by making the case for collective action rather than for “big government.” That’s an essential distinction…..

More here


Greg Sargent (Washington Post): … Anyone who wanted Obama to show that he’s ready to mount a sustained fight to create jobs, to give an aggressive defense of the idea that government can and must act to fix the economy, to make a serious effort to break the Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop and shift the conversation to job creation, and to offer an expansive moral and big-D Democratic critique of the conservative economic vision, should be very satisfied by what they heard.

Yes, it was just a speech…. but if this is the template for what lies ahead, it’s encouraging indeed.

…. Obama didn’t just urge Congress to pass his jobs plan; he repeatedly hectored Congress to do it. He demanded that Congress pass his plan — often demanding that they do so “right away” — no less than 15 times. And he vowed to barnstorm the country if Congress doesn’t pass the plan. The tone of urgency bordered on overkill — which is a good thing: “You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.” Aides had promised he would challenge, rather than beseech, Congress to act. That turned out to be an understatement…..

More here


Jonathan Chait (TNR): He proposes a jobs plan that wins the approval of Paul Krugman and David Brooks. Feel the love!

Surfing on over to Fire Dog Lake, I wondered if Obama managed to win the hearts of his most fervent enemies. So far I see one item on it:

– So how was the speech?

– I didn’t see it, did Obama open up with a line about how many people he’s killed?

That’s about as positive as you’re going to get.



EJ Dionne: The best part of President Obama’s speech tonight was his hammering over and over the need to pass “this bill,” meaning his bill to boost the economy. It wasn’t, “we can work this out,” or, “I look forward to talking to Speaker Boehner.” No, Obama said flatly that the economy is in crisis, that action is needed right now, and that he had put together a recipe whose ingredients include many ideas Republicans had supported in the past. He didn’t say it explicitly, but he might as well have said to the Republicans, “So what’s your problem?”

More here


Eugene Robinson: President Obama raised his speechifying game Thursday night, as he had to do. Another billet doux inviting hostile congressional Republicans to please sit around the campfire and sing “Kumbaya” wouldn’t have cut it. What Obama did, instead, was issue a challenge – and, not incidentally, lay out the opening themes of his reelection campaign.

Perhaps the most significant line in Obama’s speech was his promise to take his jobs message to the people in “every corner of the country.” He told the assembled members of Congress that if they balk at passing his American Jobs Act, he will go over their heads. That answered the obvious question: What does Obama intend to do when House Republicans ball up his bill and throw it in the trash?

The measures Obama proposed are eminently reasonable……

More here


Harold Evans (Daily Beast): Has Barack Obama found his inner Harry Truman?

The parallels are eerie. Truman in 1946 lost midterm elections, just as Obama did last fall. The Republicans took the House (their first time since 1930) and the Senate. Truman’s approval ratings tanked, falling much lower, at 32 percent, than Obama’s have done. Unemployment wasn’t the issue it is today, but inflation was just as scary, and one in 10 of the labor force went on strike in 1946.

…. Then Truman found a new voice — as Obama did in his Thursday speech ordering Congress to “Pass this Act now!” Truman did it in on two whistle stop tours. He stopped his droning speeches and adopted a feisty, homey style answering questions on the tours. About this time in September 1948, he went on an epic 21,928-mile journey. Huge crowds at every whistle stop heard Truman from the back of his rail car gleefully blaming everything on the “do nothing Congress.” The cry “Give ‘em hell, Harry!” began to rise, and the delighted 33rd president would reply: “I never give anyone hell. I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”

He romped home with 303 electoral votes.

More here


Eleanor Clift (Daily Beast): If President Obama’s speech were only about economics, its proposals would pass easily in both chambers of Congress. Though bigger and bolder than expected, it is still at its core a common-sense mix of ideas that both Democrats and Republicans have supported….

…. “Pass it now… pass it right now,” is an effective refrain that Obama used to introduce the various elements of the American Jobs Act before a remarkably warm and receptive Congress. That doesn’t mean Republicans have suddenly had a change of heart, but it does mean they are feeling the heat from a public that thinks lawmakers ought to do more than throw spitballs at each other.

… Obama showed Thursday night he has a way forward, and when Republicans stayed glued to their seats when he talked about rebuilding schools, they were the ones who looked clueless.

More here

50 Responses to “reaction”

  1. September 9, 2011 at 7:32 am

    At least some people are getting it.

    • 2 Jennifer
      September 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      Great pieces. Until you read the comments. Wow, this wonderful, forceful, great, awesome (ok, no more adjectives) sure brought out the worst in people. I’ve GOT to learn to read the story and then skip the comments. Reminder to self: do not scroll down past the good stuff. The wingers are really out in force today.

  2. 3 Mary Gray
    September 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

    TODers, inj ust a little bit it will be time to pick up that telephone and start calling your congress critters, tweet them, email them. Call all of thier offices. Write a letter to your local newspaper. Put a homemade bumper sticker on your car. Put your light on a hill and let it shine.

  3. September 9, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Even the normally adversarial Krugman approved. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/opinion/setting-their-hair-on-fire.html?ref=opinion

    “First things first: I was favorably surprised by the new Obama jobs plan, which is significantly bolder and better than I expected. It’s not nearly as bold as the plan I’d want in an ideal world. But if it actually became law, it would probably make a significant dent in unemployment.#

    • 7 Ladyhawke
      September 9, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Well I guess this means we won’t be seeing Paul Krugman’s mug on the tv machine. All of the cable and network producers know he can be counted on to trash President Obama. So I don’t expect many bookings for him. His dislike for President Obama is palpable.

      For a Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul krugman does an awful lot of “political analysis”. This positive response to the speech is an anomaly, but I will take it. I don’t expect this to last long, it never does.

  4. September 9, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Fantastic! Hope more people begin to see the power of government to facilitate job growth to ease the great suffering around the country. thank you Ms Chips. When do you rest? 🙂

  5. September 9, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Good Morning TOD family. What a speech. What a night!! Our president once again proved what separates him and us from people who could give one whit about people in this country, other than protect their own wallets, and that includes the six-figure pundits yelling all day and night on TV.

    Today, I think while the iron is red hot, we should begin to let Congress hear from us. For my own part, I have an all day licensure prep course, but sure as hell on Monday, I will begin the fight.

    Please, please, today must be the first day we begin to let Congress start hearing from us. I am going to tweet as much as I can before my ride picks me up.

    Did I tell you Chips and TOD family, how much I love this place? Thanks again!!

    One more thing: Republicans think they are entitled to the White House. Did you guys hear Ron Reagan say that in the Hardball clip Chips put up with Ron, Roger Simon and Smercornish?

    Let’s work onebilliontrilliongazallion times to deny them that self-imposed entitlement.

  6. 12 Gc
    September 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

    He is simply excellent at his job.

  7. September 9, 2011 at 8:02 am

    There was a post about where to get a pass this bill sticker. Can someone post that again?

  8. 15 joyce
    September 9, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Thank God for our wonderful president. Let no weapon form against him shall prosper. Please Lord keep him protected as he travel around this country. I love you all here. You keep me sain. already donated and made some calls. Will send emails today. I’m in as always.

  9. September 9, 2011 at 8:11 am

    The president’s speech was not even one of the top 4 stories introduced at the top of the Today show, one of which was a talking dog.

    • 17 theo67
      September 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

      This is sad,but really funny.A talking dog? The mediarazzi (heard this on twitter yesterday) are really desperate. They don’t know how to answer this speech, because it’s the right thing to do, was delivered on fire, and put the GOP in a tiny little corner of hypocrisy and stupidity and greed.

  10. September 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Hey, I got a retweet from Good Morning America. They were asking if the President’s plan will work.

    GMA: Opinion: RT @liberalphenom: @BarackObama rescued econ and created 2.5m jobs after Bush trashed it. Yes, his plan will work.

  11. September 9, 2011 at 8:20 am

    From twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/RFernandez666/status/112134440494440448

    Rene Fernandez
    My supervisor, a staunch Republican just said the president was awesome and Republicans have got to stop the nonsense.

    • 22 Ladyhawke
      September 9, 2011 at 8:38 am

      I hope the Democrats will not forget to remind the American people that the republicans have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT JOB CREATION SINCE THEY TOOK THE MAJORITY IN THE CONGRESS. The MSM just refuses to report on this. Everything is President Obama’s fault. It’s as if congress doesn’t exist.

      I got a chuckle when I heard that Majority Leader Eric Cantor was going to do a jobs event today, the same day that President Obama will be in his backyard talking about The American Jobs Act. The question everyone should be asking is why it has taken 9 months for Cantor to do a jobs event. We should be asking Speaker In Name Only John Boehner why the GOP spent so much time on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

      • September 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

        I wonder if Cantor’s crowd will look like Michelle Bachman’s?

      • 24 Ladyhawke
        September 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

        I got my wish. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is on the case. It’s been 247 days and no jobs bills from the GOP majority in the House.

        Pelosi Letter Requesting Ranking Members Call for Legislative Action on President Obama’s Jobs Proposals

        September 8, 2011

        Dear Colleague:

        When President Obama speaks to a Joint Session of Congress tonight, he will present a plan for jobs and economic growth. We all look forward to the President’s proposals and share a sense of the urgency that Congress act quickly and on a bipartisan basis to support the creation of jobs.

        It is now 247 days since Republicans took control of Congress. During those eight months, the Republican majority has not brought forward a single serious plan for the creation of jobs for the American people. Democrats have offered at least ten initiatives on the House floor to generate jobs only to face unified Republican opposition that defeated each plan.

        The legislation proposed by the President comes as the deliberations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction begin. As you know, recommendations must be submitted by each House committee to the Joint Committee by October 14th.

        I am requesting that each Democratic Ranking Member write to his or her respective chairman to schedule immediate hearings and legislative action on legislation proposed by the President that lies within the jurisdiction of the committee. I am requesting that each Ranking Member send that letter by noon on Friday, September 9th.

        Thank you for your leadership.

        best wishes,

        Democratic Leader

      • 25 theo67
        September 9, 2011 at 11:37 am

        It’s actually not just 9 months that they’ve done nothing on jobs. They haven’t done anything about jobs since 2007, when the economy started faltering. They caused this mess with their deregulation and tax cuts, and they have done ZERO to fix any of it. Even now, they’re trying to find a way to pass only the parts of the bill that fit within their ideology, rather than compromise or just pass the bill. They are a do nothing Congress, and the GOP are anti-American. I said it. When they were on their feet cheering about killing people on Wednesday night, but couldn’t stand up for teachers, kids, construction workers and only grudgingly stood up for vets – that says it all. They are anti-American.

  12. September 9, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Hiya peeps!!!!! I think I got 3 hours of sleep last night. I guess I was too excited. Gonna be calling my congress critters (with the exception of DWS—she may be in congress but she sure aint no critter) in a few minutes. Ooooh! And just for good measure and cause i’m feeling spunky, I’m gonna also call Maxine Backstabbing Waters and say just two iddle, widdle words…………CHECK and MATE!!!! hahahhahhahahahhaha!!! I bet you thought I was gonna say “up yours.” tehe! Naw. As much as she disgusts me, I respect the office too much. 🙂

  13. September 9, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Hey I didn’t see her dried up mug on the teevee last night (maxine). Did anyone see her?

  14. 29 a4alice
    September 9, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I walked by the front desk this morning at work and noticed that an article (opinion page) from the WSJ was sitting up there from Shelby Steele called “Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism”. I thought, man. people are going to read this and think that this is what PBO is all about. So I quick made a copy of Steve Benen’s article “The American Jobs Act is Up to the Task” and threw it up there as well. We’ll see what happens. I hope that people are inquisitive.

    I thought it was a great speech and I am glad to hear that even economists in general are supporting this as well.

    • September 9, 2011 at 9:42 am

      Way to go, a4alice. Stay determined.

    • 31 edp4bho
      September 9, 2011 at 11:30 am

      In lieu of a like button (Chips???), here’s my LIKE !

    • 32 theo67
      September 9, 2011 at 11:50 am

      I often print good articles and leave copies around the office, on the printer, in the coffee room. We have to do everything we can. Someone at work came to see me to tell me they had seen my letter to the editor that was printed in the local paper, and he said he agreed with everything I said and had thought he was all alone in supporting the President. It all makes a difference.

  15. September 9, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Good morning everyone. It is 6 a.m. in Arizona but will the offices of all Arizona Senators and Congressman except Gabby Giffords because I know she gets it. I tweeted messages to all that were on Twitter last night. We need to melt the phone lines down today and every day.

  16. September 9, 2011 at 9:05 am

    We also need to Congress that they have only a 12% approval rating.

  17. 36 Me4obama
    September 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Morning TODvillelaners, Iam still HIGH from last Night’s Speech. I just wanted to pop in and say hello and not comment much until I come down a notch or two. Bad things happen when am this High and Excited. Don’t forget to auction off your Grandma’s Bling Bling and donate all the money to PBO. It’s money Bomb Friday baby.

  18. September 9, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I just called Speaker Boehner’s office. I was on hold for only a minute or two before I reached a male aide. That means we are not keeping the phone lines busy. Please call, call, call.

  19. 40 utaustinliberal
    September 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Interesting articles all around. Anyone who thought the speech wasn’t brilliant is out of their mind and anyone who thought this President was joking when he said he would take this plan to all corners of the country is out of their mind.

    • 41 Ladyhawke
      September 9, 2011 at 11:09 am

      ut, I saw a post that said Rachel Maddow was hurumphing about the speech. She has a thing for infrastructure, so I can’t imagine what she would be complaining about. Have you heard anything?? I peeked in to MSNBC a couple of times last night, but it was mostly unbearable. Reruns of “Criminal Minds” was must more satisfying.

      • 42 chiara
        September 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

        I watched last night and she didn’t seem to be hurumphing much in fact she seemed quite taken with how bold it was. She may have had small critiques but I don’t remember anything big or whiny. It was Lawrence who threw cold water on things by brining up all the procedural road blocks it’s going to face. He wasn’t making a comment on whether the bill was good or not he was just reverting to his days in the Senate and talking about how easily this could all get killed because it has so many committees it has to get through and many bad things can happen there. I think he really wasn’t taking into account the actual affect that having the President take his message to “every corner of the country” will have on people and how he can mobilize people.

        • 43 Ladyhawke
          September 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

          Thanks chiara. I am glad to hear she was basically pleased with the speech. Rachel can’t help herself. She just has to find something that didn’t meet with you complete approval. For someone so brilliant, she can be very petty. And you won’t be surprised to know that one of the times I switched the channel was when LO was hand wringing about process. Give me a break. Why couldn’t he just give President Obama one night without focusing on the obstacles. He really has been disappointing lately. By the way, I have given up on Tweety. i can’t stand Ed. Rev Al is great.

  20. 44 sjterrid
    September 9, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Good morning Chips and TOD family. Congratulations Chips, I noticed that you have 4m hits.

    I emailed all my reps last night. and I just called John Boehner’s office.
    I really didn’t like Krugman’s statement. Yes he said that the speech was bold, but he made it sound that the president finally realized how bad the job market was. President Obama’s has always been concerned about unemployment starting as a community organizer in Chicago.

    • September 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Four million+ hits??? Yes, she does!! (I did a quick peek 😉 ) Way to go Chips Chica!!! FELICITATIONS! 😆 😆

      (Thanks, Sjt. I wasn’t going to comment until I was all caught up reading from last night, but this needed a shout out!) 😆 😆

  21. 46 Ladyhawke
    September 9, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Obama’s speech: three reasons why this time it’s different

    By Jonathan Capehart

    The urgency in President Obama’s tone and words came through in the opening minutes of his address to a Joint Session of Congress.

    The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.

    Obama has a jobs bill he wants passed. A one-year, $450 billion measure that is filled with programs — tax cuts, infrastructure projects, help for the unemployed and returning veterans — that have had bipartisan support in the past and that he said is paid for. And he sold it hard. The refrain, “Pass this jobs bill,” went from being a repeated line in a speech to a hammer over the head of Congress.

    Obama has given this do-or-die speech before. For the stimulus package. For health care. But this time was different for three reasons.


  22. 47 Ladyhawke
    September 9, 2011 at 11:03 am

    This is just terrific feedback on The American Jobs Act speech.

    State and Local Officials Respond to the President’s Call for an American Jobs Act


    Following the President’s speech where he called on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, bi-partisan governors, mayors, and state legislators have spoken out and echoed the President’s call to put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.


  23. 48 chiara
    September 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Chips, I can’t tell you how great it is to have so much of the reaction captured in one place! Thank you so much!

  24. 49 kefauver
    September 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Wow, the folks over at FDL are as classy as usual. F@#K that place!

  25. 50 Left-Indie
    September 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Y’know, here’s the thing. The PL in general can be crazy, but there are a lot of Dems who have been begging this president to sound and act like this, to show that he knows the devils he is dealing with. People on the left who grumble at him are not all bad or all PL. They just want their fighter back, their ideology voiced by the man they help elect. (example: his defense of govt. & Unions in building America). When they get even a taste of it like we saw last night, they’re delighted and they open their wallets and they want to knock on doors. As for Rachel or Ed, I didn’t hear nothing out of line last night. In fact, I thought the speach was a hit with them. Of course, they all want more infrustracture spending, so do I and probably many of you. The PL is easy to isolate and ignore. But the president must not neglect his base. They know he’s got crazy thugs in congress, but they desperately need his strong voice. Last night was a taste.

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