In which Beltway Bob channels Baghdad Bob. Despite a month of near-daily “Obama’s approval rating at new low” headlines and deteriorating numbers for ObamaCare itself, the spin oozes unceasingly forth, with Gibbs mindlessly asserting that the left is closer than ever to fulfilling its dream of the boondoggle to end all boondoggles. Er, closer than they were last month? Wasn’t the whole point of trying to ram a bill through Congress before the recess to avoid precisely the sort of inevitable grassroots backlash that stirred in August? I realize it’s Gibbs’s job to lie for his boss, but providing comic fodder for righty blogs with transparent garbage like this can’t be helping much.
At another point during the briefing, Tapper asked him what the big deal is about tomorrow night’s speech given that Obama’s been recycling the same rote talking points for months. Gibbs’s answer: Well, it’s a big forum. The correct answer, via Jay Cost: They’re out of moves. It’s Hail Mary time.
Why is the White House doing this? I think there are two answers that kind of relate to each other.
First, it has begun to believe its own spin that the President is good at giving game changing speeches. But he isn’t really. Nobody is. If the game could change because of a speech, the game would constantly be changing because lots of people can give a decent speech, especially when they have a TelePrompTer…
Second, it does not know what else to do. It looks like Congress is at something less than square one. There is no passable compromise that has been proposed – nothing that can win enough votes in the center without losing the left flank. But now the “Gang of Six” has basically broken up, public approval has tanked, moderates are scared, and if there isn’t bad blood on the Democratic side of the aisle there is at least a lot of finger pointing. If Humpty Dumpty breaks and you don’t know how to put him back together – why not give a speech and boldly proclaim how important it is to put him back together?
Right. Tomorrow’s speech in three words: “Do something. Anything.” The Standard’s counting heads in the House and finds 37 Democrats so far who’ve said publicly they’re opposed to the bill in its current form — which is dangerously close to the number needed to kill it. Progressives actually have 60 or so who claim they’ll vote no on any proposal that lacks a public option, but some of those are already starting to waver. Wednesday night’s message — do something, anything — is aimed squarely at them. Insofar as it’s designed to break them and force a compromise, it’ll probably be successful. Click the image to watch.