Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama's big speech: A call for responsibility?

He's been too somber, some say. Too dire. "Yes, we can" is now "Yes, we're in deep trouble."

Of the criticisms Barack Obama has faced early in his presidency, one constant is tone. In warning Congress and the rest of us about the necessity of stimulus and rescue plans, he has fatigued many Americans who already are fretted, who already feel the weight of our uncertain future.

Tomorrow night, in what is effectively his first State of the Union address, Obama faces a prime-time challenge. How firmly does he continue to shake our shoulders with the truly significant troubles this economy is facing? How does he turn our vision forward - not with the sunny sentence or two that he's offered in some speeches, but a full accounting of where he is pointing us, and why that will work?

(Update: One clue, from the Associated Press: Obama pledged today to cut the budget deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. The promise accomplishes at least two things. It attempts to answer fears and criticisms that his stimulus and rescue plans will leave us with overwhelming debt. It also previews a possible theme for tomorrow - that if his administration is willing to make hard choices and sacrifices, we should be ready to do the same.)

(Update N0. 2: Our political professor, Wake Forest's Allan Louden, says Obama should stick with the steady and sober.

Louden, a renowned political communications scholar, says:

Obama’s speech tonight, while not a formal State-of-the-Union, is taking on the trappings of the formal address. A joint session of Congress will gather tonight, pay homage, and go about their business shortly after the president departs the hall.

Obama’s reason for addressing congress, like most modern day State-of-the-Union speeches, is not to address congress but rather to pressure lawmakers by “Going Public,” If congress were the direct target there are more direct lines of communication, less fraught with expectations and opposition ammunition.

“Going Public” can delineate the civic debate, but also can be overdone. Effective presidential speech making seemingly has the greatest sway when the speech wakes-up latent public concern. A breakthrough speech usually assumes the need to refresh public response; a megaphone calling out a dormant citizenry. But that is not the world Obama encounters tonight.

Currently we have a media saturated political culture, a public already at full attention to economic crisis, and a president who seemingly speaks daily to the people. The risk for tonight’s speech is one of overexposure. Pundits are lining up proclaiming what Obama much accomplish tonight, while the reality is the speech will likely be forgotten in the next news cycle.

Obama is better off reinforcing a sober reassuring, albeit dull, speech. His steadiness is a more central message than fulfilling short term political expectations.

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What do you want to hear tomorrow night. What balance do you want of hopeful and sober, itemized and inspirational? Tell us here or in the comments.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I QUIT!

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear Obama say, "No, I can't", then resign.

Greeko said...

Isn't it ironic that Reagan spoke about lowering taxes, cutting spending all as a means of reversing what Carter(or as it will be known to history Obama1)had done. The negativity and outright lies he has told in this first month are beyond anything I could have even imagined. What started out as creating 3 million jobs he changed to preserving 3 million jobs and the media never said a word. Wake up and pay attention America. This smoking mirrors game is going to crash soon.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear him say I was mistaken when I heard that part of the banks bailout money MUST go to new home loans for people who can't afford to pay the money back - I thought the subprime mess is what started this. And, since he received more that any other member of Congress from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I'd like to hear him say he was sorry for becoming their (Freddie and Fannie) paid lobbist for the terribly bad legislation that caused this mess.

Anonymous said...

Please people...don't be ridiculous...quit?!?! The man has barely been in office for a month and got handed a HUGE MESS thanks in part to 8 years of Bush. Be patient and patriotic and give him a chance!! We don't need anger and whiners....

Anonymous said...

Some of you posters are ridiculous. It's not as if McCain would be in a better situation right now. Please!!! It's only been a month. Give the man a chance. He has inherited bad, bad news everywhere thanks to Bush. I bet many of you were the same ones who re-elected Bush in 2004. You make me sick.

Anonymous said...

11:40am, 12:01pm, Greeko and 12:13pm...I bet you were the same ones who voted for Bush to get re-elected in 2004....sad, sad. Give President Obama and time and respect he deserves. You certainly were patient in allowing Bush 8 years to drive our country to the ground.

Anonymous said...

The author appears to suggest that Obama should have a "one-size fits all" speech to allay the fears of the weak and impressionable who need their hands held throughout this crisis, and those of us who expect the best but are prepared for the worse, whatever it might be. This is a feat that Obama, nor anyone else can achieve. This is an unprecedented economy crisis, the likes of which no one foresaw or was prepared for. Obama will not be able to wave a magic wand, and make thing better, instantly. How many times does he have to say this? Just give it and him a chance to work through this mess.

Anonymous said...

Read this:

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=320027936229029

Anonymous said...

His whole presidency was supposed to be to end the bogus Iraq and Afghan wars wasnt it? Thats all he talked about for over a year and half and the war crimes of the Bush neocon administration yet he suddenly did a Uturn flip flop as soon as he was elected. Why? What about torture? Big oil taxation? We have barely heard about stem cell research.
Bush clearly was worried and bent over backward when Obama came to the WH.

Two weeks ago on Lincolns 200th birthday Obama made a weird comparison speech saying since Lincoln or the north didnt punish the "confederates" after the war he wouldnt punish anyone either. Huh?

So what Barry was trying to do in illogical logic was somehow compare the Lincoln war with the Iraq war? The only problem with that is that Iraq did not premeptively attack America and the south did not preemptively attack the north.

Ron Paul stated it best saying no other nation ended slavery with a war except for American under Lincoln and he didnt issue the emancipation proclamation until after 3 yrs later or until he knew the north would win.

What Obama was trying to do was make some off handed point using the north/south war of 145 yrs ago and that he would not punish Bush or his lying neocons who began this bogus war that was another Uturn flip flop 180 from his campaign rants.

This is a crock. Lying Bush and his lying neocons fabricated WMD lies and used their mouthpiece Powell to start a 2nd Iraq war against Saddam who hated AlQuida and had nothing to do with 911.

Saddam trying to spare millions of deaths maimings and trillions in destruction even challenged Bush to a duel and of course Bush chickened and ignored.

Obama has weasiled out of punishing lying Bush and his neocons who are 100% responsible for the destruction to the American and world economy also since neocon Greenspan dropped rates to 1% and Bush encouranges home ownership and this forclosures and economy bank Wall St bust.

If Obama was any kind of decent leader of integrity instead of slickster Chicago politican who stood behind his word he would have Bush and his neocon all arrested and jailed and put in a Neurenberg type trial.

War criminals liars torturers spyers maimers murderers destroyers who waste trillions on bogus wars of choice should not go unpunished.

Do the right thing Obama. Arrest these lying Bush criminals now. This is why we are in such bad shape. Dont reward evil. No man is above the law.

Anonymous said...

First tar, then feathers, then we play PiƱata until our arms are too tired to swing. Then we sing camp fire songs until the noose is ready for stuffing. Lastly, we smoke the meat indirectly by setting flames to the tree and then we wait for the blue bird of Paradise for further instructions.

Anonymous said...

Yea, cut out the Bailout for Bums and tell your new coward AG Holder to apologize and stick a sock in it and use the position only for what it was intended and not a race card bully pupit.

Anonymous said...

Just look at a 10 year chart of the DOW.

https://www.etrade.wallst.com/v1/stocks/charts/charts.asp?symbol=DJIND

See if you can pick out the Bush years, then pick out when BHO appeared to take over as the candidate elect.

Anonymous said...

So, I suppose you would like the Commander in Chief to go back to painting a rosy and happy picture so that we do not have to think about the gloom and doom of our financial situation. Well, it just isn't so. The lending institutions of this country have gotten away with murder with shoddy lending practices. These practices have now come back to haunt them, and instead of owning up to their greed, they are now standing at the head of the line with their hands out. And let's not forget about the shareholders of these institutions. They are the ones that have approved merger after merger because they have been told their investment will grow and dividends will flow like water. GREED!!!! Let me guess, those of you that want Obama to quit are the very ones that get food stamps, welfare and government health care?? If you don't like the way that the President is handling the situation, then maybe it is time for you to get off your lazy backside and offer solutions (real solutions). The President has already said that it will take all of us helping to solve this problem, and the problem will not be solved overnight or in a month.

chupacabra said...

I want to hear him say that he’s starting a truth commission to let we the people know what all the Bush administration was doing behind the scenes all these years when people were being flown to random countries to be tortured, Americans were being wire tapped, and the Constitution was being trampled under the guise of keeping the country safe.

In regard to the economy, I really think it’s a no win for him. Either he treats us like adults and tells us the truth and gets accused of being pessimistic or he candy coats everything and gets accused of having his head in the sand mission accomplished style.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear him announce the arrests of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, for their criminal negligence and complicity in the events leading up to the financial collapse. Until then, it'll be impossible to accept anything else he says at face value.

Anonymous said...

Okay let me get this right-The man hasn't been in office for a month, inhereted a deficit over a trillion dolars and people are asking him to "quit"? What are you guys smoking? Give him time he can't wave a magic wand, it's going to take time but he's the "RIGHT-MAN" for the job!!!

Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter what Barry says, the stock market will continue to go down every time he speaks. We messed up by putting this moron in office to begin with. I just wish I could take back my vote. BHO sux.

Anonymous said...

To the person who posted the following: "This is an unprecedented economy crisis, the likes of which no one foresaw"
Get your head out of the hole in the ground and learn the truth. Bush warned Congress in BOTH 2005 and 2007 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were heading down the exact road that they inevitably went down. But thanks to the likes of Dems. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, they convinced Congress that they were just fine and that nothing needed to be done. Now, all of a sudden, the Dems. have inherited this mess (like they had no part in any of this) and their answer is to increase welfare (by reversing recent welfare reform legislation, as this bill has done) and by rewarding irresponsible home buyers (if your house payment is less than 31% of your income, you're screwed, you don't qualify for assistance under the new spending .... oh, sorry, "RESCUE" package. Yeah.... right. Give Obama a chance ... and he'll run this country into the ground.

Anonymous said...

to all of 'Bush got us into this mess, now let's BHO a chance to get us out' posters - get real, it was a combination of a legislature controlled by Dems and a Bush inability to gain partisan support. Imagine this, we now have a prez unable to get partisan support and unable to execute on most other near term promises (can anyone say lobbyists in the cabinet).

Anonymous said...

It's so easy for Democrats to point to "the last 8 years" and dump everything on Bush. Go ahead and use him for a whipping boy, while letting Clinton off scott free. Don't do any research as to when the legislation was started to "give a mortgage to anyone who wants one" so they could keep the housing going, driving the ecconomy. Ok, blame it on Bush for Chris Dodd and Barney Frank blocking investigation into Fannie and Freddie while they and Obama reaped huge $$$ from both. Blinded by the glamor and pazazz that is Barack Obama, while overlooking his ties to Illinois and Chicago politics...It's ok, it's all Bush's fault....

Anonymous said...

What do I want to hear? The truth. And the truth is, things ARE dire. We were lied to for 8 years. Bush only admitted that we MAY be headed for a recession AFTER THE ELECTION! McCain said in September that the economy was basically strong. TAX CUT HAVE NOT WORKED PEOPLE. And McCain would be facing the same problems, only he wouldn't have a clue as to what's to do about it. Give it time. Things will turn around.

Anonymous said...

He has been in office for a month....RELAX! He is in this mess because of Bush and anyone who says it was not Bush's fault has been living under a rock. Anyone with a brain knows there is no magic wand to fix this mess. It has taken 16 months to get really in to the recession and it is going to take at least 12-16 to get out of it.

Anonymous said...

Going back and forth about who created this mess is not going to get us nowhere. The past make no deifference the present and future does...now is the time for something to be done. President Obama has not had a chance to really accomplish anyhting he has only been in office for a month. This country is in a mess and instead of people coming together to make a difference we have people being nasty, hateful and down right mean. Where does that get these people NO WHERE! Be a part of the solution not a part of the problems. If you can't be nice then don't say anyhting at all.

Anonymous said...

McCain in office would have gotten us a tax refund check to jump start the economy. Instead, I'm getting an extra $13.00 each paycheck. Woohoo! Thanks Obama!

Anonymous said...

It would be great for him to say, "Look, uh, I am, uh, a, uh, Socialist....aaannd..I have been fooling you Kool Aid drinkin' suckers all this time..aaaannd..I'm, uh, going to, uh, fix this problem by nationilizing everything...aaannd...by the way, uh, there will be no more elections."

Community Reinvestment Act said...

I've been living under a rock!

Anonymous said...

I want him to tell me when I get my new kitchen.

But seriously. He's been in office for just a month and he came up with the porkulus bill. The only thing guaranteed by the spending stimulus is more national debt. One stroke of the presidential pen has now increased it by $800 billion. Democrats recently screamed about W-era profligacy. On July 28, 2008, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Chair of the Senate Budget Committee declared, "If they gave out Olympic medals for fiscal irresponsibility, President Bush would take the gold, silver and bronze. With his eight years in office, he will have had the five highest deficits ever recorded. And the highest of those deficits is now projected to come in 2009, as he leaves office."

Kent Conrad was right. The projected 2009 deficit then stood at $482 billion. In January it was forecast by the Congressional Budget Office at $1.2 trillion. Pres. Obama’s new plan now ups that to $1.7 trillion. If W got the gold, the new Administration has landed the Platinum in just its qualifying heat.

If historic U.S. budget deficits are any indication, the economy is already “stimulated.” The predicted 2009 federal deficit stood at 8.3% of GDP before Obama’s package sent it to about 12%. This is a stunning level of debt, double the previous post WWII high when Reagan’s 1983 budget deficit amounted to 6% of GDP.

Anonymous said...

Go help your neighbor or volunteer somewhere - it's way better for your mind then sitting here reading about something you have absolutely no control over.....by the way - this isn't about Obama, this isn't about Bush - this is about YOU AND ME.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but it is SO much about Obama and the Democratic controlled Congress...

Anonymous said...

That he is installing term limits on all people in congress, barring all lobbyists forever,taking his corrupt cabinet and himself out of office and AND taking ACORN,Barney Frank,Harry Reid,Pelosi,Spector,Snow and Collins with him!!!!

Anonymous said...

Be a good start if he actually required the members of his administration to pay taxes, interest and penalties, starting with Mr. Emanuel. Then he should just shut up, his obvious ineptitude is killing us, but that is of course exactly what his handlers were counting on when they selected him.

Anonymous said...

"The President has already said that it will take all of us helping to solve this problem.." What a joke.

All of "us"? Define "us". According to stats 90% of responsible honest homeowners didnt lie steal or cheat to get their loans and never have plus pay on time monthly without exception.

So "us" are supposed to help the sorry 10% bums who lied to get home loans they couldnt afford?

Who cares what Obama says. We know the bums are 100% thrilled that Obama will use other good peoples tax dollars to pay for their bad lies and failure to live up to their mortgage payment.

You dont punish good people for the crimes of bad people. This turns the system of justice upside down on its head. We already pay with our taxes many trillions and have been for ages to lowlife sorry welfare bums who cheat the system.

During Katrina FEMA stupidly issued credit cards and discovered these same people were using it for prostitutes alcohol drugs etc. But then again they caught cops stealing cars and looting stores too.

This is not a socialist society yet and even socialist nations like the former USSR or China do not abuse like this or they would vanish.

No this is not "us". This is "them". Big difference. Everyone is not the same. There is good and bad, hot and cold, left and right, up and down etc. Dont get this confused.

Obama blames Bush for all this and he is correct but then again he planned to do this socialist crapola anyway.

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear him say the following: "Through hard work and scientific pursuits, we have discovered away to clone humans. Thanks to carefully preserved DNA of past presidents, we were able to clone Ronald Reagan. I therefore step down to allow President Reagan to take office effective immediately. President Reagan, the podium is yours. Thank you."

A boy can dream, can't he?

Anonymous said...

That he will flush all of the corrupt politicians out of Washington. Goodbye to many, including himself. Lessen welfare, WIC and gov't housing. Harsher laws for illegals, and NO benefits for illegals and people who milk federal aid.

Greeko said...

This crisis started almost 30 years ago but everyone thinks it started in the last 8. What makes no sense to me is congress started this mess and for some reason they think they are going to fix it. Remember what Reagan said "The scariest thing you will ever hear is "I'm from the goverment and I'm here to help"

chupacabra said...

"Be a good start if he actually required the members of his administration to pay taxes..."

Right and Palin as well.

Anonymous said...

Obama please resign!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of this nasty partisanship. No, Bush shouldn't take all the blame. No, Obama doesn't have many answers. Aren't we all in this together? Around the country, Republicans and Democrats are being laid off in equal proportions.

Anonymous said...

If Congressional leaders dont meet the deficit reduction goal, Ill eat their livers with some fatha beans and a nice kiante...fff ffffff ffffff fff

Anonymous said...

I want Obama to explain two things.
Why is BOA still buying Mortgage Backed Securities (20 billion worth in the 4th quarter according to their webiste) and why are home loans still balloon interest loans. Even fixed rate loans pay the lender first and the actual loan last. Most 30 year home loans take over 20 years to pay half the principle. It should take 15, no more no less.