Some Friday thoughts

1) It’s now clear that the “scheduling mix-up” was manufactured by the White House to help gin up buzz and interest in the actual speech. It’s the old Hollywood/celebrity faux scandal trick that manages to coincide exactly with the release of a new movie/book/album.

It worked.

2) The Obama jobs plan is political genius. However, I suspect virtually none of it will ever be enacted, at least not without a European collapse to force Congress to act.

That is the political brilliance of it all. The economy is likely to get worse (or stay as bad as it is) no matter what, at least for the next few years. So here are the scenarios:

a) Congress rejects the bill completely. Economy remains stagnant. Obama and Democrats blame House Republicans.

b) Congress rejects bill completely. Europe collapses. American economy begins to dive. Obama says that if Congress had passed his bill we would not be in such a free fall.

c) Congress passes only some portions of the bill. Obama vetos and tells them to send the whole thing. House refuses. Obama blames Congress when economy stays stagnant or gets worse.

d) Congress passes the whole thing. Economy stagnates, or gets worse, or gets better. Obama can campaign on passing a jobs bill. Republicans can try to say it didn’t work like the stimulus didn’t work, only this time it will be much harder to argue against it, especially since many will have to vote in favor in order for it to have passed.

There isn’t really a way for Republicans to get a political victory on this. You could see the displeasure of many House leaders during the speech. You could see that they knew they were being backed into a corner and were (justifiably, I suppose) a bit pissed.

3) The effect might not last long, but Obama woke up his base with the speech. It satisfied in three ways: it was a clear and direct enumeration of the Obama/liberal platform on jobs, it was moderately confrontation and showed Obama still has what it takes for campaign season, and (most importantly) it was a smart political move and it was obvious to anyone watching that he was smartly cornering GOP.

His base has been waiting for him to pull a move like that for a long long time.

4) Ezra Klein is changing up his blog. Jon Chait is leaving TNR. SO MANY CHANGES!

5) Bachmann is triangulating a bit on Social Security, calling Rick Perry out for using the language that he uses. The most interesting fights brewing (aka still developing) in the GOP race so far are:

#1 Ron Paul v. Rick Perry (The Paullites are livid after this event at the debate)

#2 Huntsman v. Romney (not that big right now, but growing and will continue to grow as New Hampshire comes into focus)

#3 Bachmann v. Perry (she needs to hit him hard to gain ground and become relevant again)

#4 Romney v Perry (I’m bored of this already, to be honest, but there are no other scuffles of interest beyond this)

6) The Yankees could have been up 4.5 games on the Red Sox if the Yanks hadn’t blown two late leads in the last two games. Conversely, the Red Sox could have been only a game an a half behind the Yankees if the Sox had won their last two games. Both are probably happy with the current 2.5 game spread compared to what could have been.

7) There is another GOP debate on Monday. Prepare your livers.


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