The president delivered another strong speech to the Congress on Thursday and to the nation. The speech may not significantly move poll numbers however. The country has become accustomed to the president’s ability to electrify audiences as a communicator. It still remains to be seen if those soaring words can in fact produce jobs for the 14 million Americans who are unemployed.
The challenge confronting the president as he faces this jobs crisis in the waning months of his presidency is to be as skillful a deal-maker as he is communicator. And millions of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats are counting on an avalanche of new jobs in the coming weeks and months.
While many of the president’s supporters want to see him wage a fierce battle with the Republican opposition, President Obama’s best bet is to rise above the usual fray and seek to structure a jobs bill that can pass both the House and the Senate. Clearly this will call for some give and take on issues like revenues, but it is a far better alternative than not passing a bill at all.
WATCH ‘MORNING JOE’ COVERAGE OF THE PRESIDENT’S JOBS PLAN:
To blame Republican obstructionism for a failed effort might seem to be a catchy campaign battle theme, but it would be little solace to the millions of men, women and kids who are out of work and actually depending upon the President and Congress to succeed.
President Obama’s ability as a dealmaker will be on display in the coming weeks and months. Of course he will take his message on the road to parts of the country most in need of jobs. But the real test for him will be the behind the scenes dealings with key Republican and Democratic members of Congress.
This president has not had the advantage of long standing congressional relationships as did Presidents Johnson, Kennedy or Nixon. Those Presidents each had a host of strong congressional relationships from multiple term careers in Congress from which to draw in cutting legislative deals.
Nevertheless, if this president is to succeed in passing a jobs bill, he will have to work just as skillfully and effectively behind the scenes as he does before the cameras with members of both parties to craft a bill with which both sides can live.