So FEMA wasn't in any real danger of running out of funds, apparently.
Interesting. So what possible purpose was served by introducing this bill and making a stink over it?
There's only one answer that makes sense. This is "another day."
You noted over the weekend that Barack Obama stepped up his rhetoric about the Republican presidential contenders. He also took a hunk out of his base's complacency, too, and in the one forum he could do it where he knew he'd get unconditional support: at the Congressional Black Caucus conference.
Bear with me a moment, before you jump ugly. Let's take the attack on his supporters first.
President Obama said, "Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin'. Stop grumblin'. Stop cryin'. We are going to press on. We have work to do."
He intended for it to get out to a larger audience, which is why I think his language was so raw and his delivery so...street. It was a brilliant piece of political theatre. It pissed the left off (except me, who was expecting it at some point) but it also reminded us that he is alone down there, save for Harry Reid's Senators, in terms of the chess pieces he can play. Say what you will about opportunities squandered, this is the world we live in now, and we need to do something.
People got pissed about this, thinking it was a campaign strategy. And to a degree, a large degree, it is. But...
It's also a call to action for the immediate battle he's about to engage with Republicans in Congress. I expect we'll see a far more combative President in the coming weeks and months, calling out Congress even as his agenda sits still in the hoppers of the House. And therein lies the battle.
As it was with the FEMA bill, this speech, which also highlighted the grotesqueries of the Republican audiences at the recent debates, as well as the shortcomings of some of the candidates, was designed to elicit a response from the GOP in the legislature as well as on the campaign trail.
He's picking his fights, in other words. He's drawing out boundaries of his re-election campaign, true, but he's also highlighting the legislative weaknesses of a party who grabbed the House back with a promise to lower taxes, cut spending, and generally muck the nation up.
And he's showing to what extremes these folks are willing to go. It may look like the President and the Dems have blinked, but in point of fact, the Republicans have glared menacingly into the camera.
And cameras never blink.
Next up will be Obama's jobs plan. You may recall that speech. In effect, he put a wooden board on his shoulder and dared the GOP to knock it off. Sure enough, that bill has languished in the hopper as Republican after Republican has chided the bill as something other than what it is: an attempt to get 14 million people back to work and soon.
His cutting edge line was "Americans can't wait 14 months," a direct slash at people like Mitch McConnell, who insisted that no legislation will ever be passed so that Obama will be a one-term President. As much as people may dislike Obama, for whatever reason, he has the ring of truth on his side in this one. There are 14 million people out of work who can't afford to wait until the Republicans concede they can't beat the President head-to-head and so give in on the jobs bill. They need help now, and every one of those people knows enough people who are on the fence about 2012 that they will influence their votes greatly.
I mean, really, who would you vote for? The guy who made an honest and concerted effort to lead the nation out of this depression it's in, or the asshat who sat by his pool, sipping martinis?
The gloves are off. It's about time.