I would be delighted to be surprised -- but I know I won't be. President Obama talks big dreams, but gets bogged down in the daily grind of political realities. Psst, Mr. President? "Getting something done" is not the same as doing the right thing. I hope he wakes up soon:
As the White House prepares to roll out its new jobs package, President Obama is under intensifying pressure from his political base to come out with an ambitious plan that puts a real dent in the unemployment rate.
The White House prefers an approach that stands a chance of winning bipartisan support. But the left isn't persuaded by this strategy. There are two ways to sway votes on Capitol Hill: lobbying members privately behind closed doors, or shaping a bottom-up consensus in the broader electorate.
The president's base believes that a substantial jobs package – one that puts people to work right away even if it comes with a high price tag – might create a public groundswell that Congress can't ignore.
That's not how Obama has been operating over the past year. He has instead looked for elusive common ground with Republicans, putting forward ideas that square with Republicans' economic doctrine.
The reporter is too polite to say it, so I will: He's validating every damned crazy right-wing tea party fantasy. And they hate him anyway. Great strategy, huh?
Fearing that Obama will go down this road again when he delivers his jobs speech next week, his liberal base is pushing him to take a more confrontational stand. They want Obama to channel FDR, not Coolidge.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an interview that Obama needs to stand up for a jobs plan that is adequate to the moment.
Unemployment is now 9.1%. And the jobs report that comes out Friday is expected to show the U.S. didn't create enough jobs in August to keep up with population growth.
"Who knows what's politically achievable until we try?" Trumka said. "The president should articulate a solution of the size and scale necessary to solve the problem. We have a jobs crisis. … If you do only what you think the other side and the 'tea party' will agree to, then they control the agenda."