In a blog entry at ColorLines, editor Kai Wright discusses a post at Talking Points Memo that concludes that President Barack Obama has shifted the focus of the debate in Washington from deficit reduction to job creation. Wright says the evidence shows that the presidency is a powerful bully pulpit that can be used to force Congress into action.
Many progressive critics (yours truly included) have harangued President Obama for embracing the Republican Party’s deficit-reduction frame for both federal policy and national politics. You can’t overstate how successful they’ve been in setting up deficit-reduction as the core challenge the U.S. faces right now — or how consequential that political success has been for policymaking. And it is owing in no small part to the Obama administration’s willingness to play along with the conversation. Starting with the December 2010 deal to extend Bush-era tax cuts and running straight through to this summer’s disastrous debt deal, the president did his best to out-hawk the deficit hawks — presumably in pursuit of independent voters, who rewarded the effort by abandoning him in droves, if polls are to be believed.
The White House’s surrogates have since hit the airwaves saying the president regrets the distraction. And since late summer the president has hit the campaign trail to talk about job creation and economic equity with a fury we haven’t seen since the night before Election Day 2008. (The headline-making protests against corporate greed will hopefully force him to stay on that message.) This changed tone will mean little for policymaking in the immediate future. The president’s jobs bill never stood a chance of passing and everyone knew it …
Read Kai Wright’s entire blog entry at ColorLines.