Even worse are the president’s befuddling, muddled attempts to lure Republicans into bipartisanship by negotiating with himself before even offering a proposal. Everyone in the world except Obama seems to understand what Republicans will do. They will support most of his bad ideas, then either block the good ones or bargain for even deeper concessions from Obama as the price for agreeing to a tiny fraction of his good ideas.
But Obama’s hodge-podge bipartisanship also loses the opportunity to present a coherent message that government action—emphatically including running a deficit until the economy is well on the road to recovery—is needed to boost demand for goods and services. That’s what’s needed to get big corporations to invest the trillion-plus dollars in profits they’re hoarding and hiring more employees. That means more direct government employment, contracting, investment and income support so that sales improve for private businesses that can then hire more people and feel greater confidence about the future and invest.
Instead, he presents a confused picture of what ails and what might revive a troubled economy—making unnecessary concessions to Republicans’ mistaken arguments that the problem is too much regulation, too high tax rates, or too little profit. And especially when he also continues to talk about trimming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, despite his punchy demands to “pass this jobs bill,” he has to leave a lot of the working and middle class majority wondering, “Which side is he on?”