Well the old Obama inspirational rhetoric was on full display last night as the president delivered an address before a joint session of Congress focusing on an economic stimulus plan for the nation.
Acknowledging the "political prism" his speech would be viewed in, he urged Congress to end its "political circus" and help reduce the nations' economic hardship.
He called for a $447 billion stimulus package which included "tax cuts for working families and small businesses and spending to rebuild infrastructure".
Speaking directly to those members seated before him he said, "Millions of Americans who are watching right now don't care about politics. They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we'll meet ours."
It seemed reminiscent of his campaign for the presidency in 2008.
Unfortunately, this is September, 2011 and the president's poll numbers have fallen precipitously and languish in the high 30's. Yesterday's appeal from the bully pulpit for the people to get behind his plan should have happened in the early days of his administration. Back then the overwhelming majority of the electorate was behind him, the country and the people were in the depths of the great recession, there were Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress and bold legislative action to really stimulate the economy would have easily been enacted despite any Republican opposition or obstructionism.
That was then; this is now.
The Republicans control the House and the "tea party" reactionaries in that body call the shots.
Despite the president stating his proposed economic stimulus package wouldn't add to the deficit, (Republicans current obsession) saying it would be paid for by corresponding cuts (which he didn't specify) in Medicare and Medicaid, (fine with the Repubs but totally objectionable to the Dems), it seems unimaginable for this group of Republicans to agree on this proposal.
And why should they? Regarding their obstructionism these past 2 years and 9 months, on any measures this president has proposed, he hasn't just compromised with them, he has all but placated and appeased them giving them everything they want.
From here, the presidents' proposal is dead in the water. And it's hard not to be cynical with him as if he didn't already know this going in. The speech was just a re-election ploy for him to say "Look I tried, they shot it down. They're to blame for not helping to get the economy back on its feet."
The hard truth is everything from here on out is strictly about next years presidential election and who is to blame for the state of the economy and the high unemployment numbers that are sure to linger through November, 2012.
Last night wasn't really about helping the people (despite the renewed Obama inspirational rhetoric). That should have come about in bold legislation passed in the first 100 days of 2009 (instead of the paltry stimulus package that was enacted).
Other than for Obama's true believers, last night was just political grandstanding.