Fighting29th.com has a post stitching together local media expectations of the president’s speech tonight. As usual, there’s nothing terribly original from local media, which takes it’s queues from the national. In fairness, I suppose we’re all guilty of that.
But what is genuinely breathtaking is the ability of the media to go from zero to one hundred in less than three seconds of self-critique. How did we go from a president of whom no one thought much and no one asked much to a president whose expected to deliver Olympic-quality oratory every single time? We just wanted something that looked kind of like a plan before, and sage talking heads would bobble up and down that yes, he kind of made sense. Now, discussion of Barack Obama’s latest speech looks like Monday Night Football pregame discussion. Bet that someone is mapping the progress of Obama’s “stats” for later discussion.
Ask and they will tell you that there’s no question about it: Barack Obama’s got a tall order ahead of him. He needs to reassure the public that he knows what’s going on and what to do next. He needs to steady panicked markets. He needs to use inclusive language to bring Republicans onboard.
But while that’s great for MSNBC’s ratings, a rational assesment of the situation doesn’t look nearly like that. The support of the public has been iron-clad so far, though in truth, the administration is new enough to be experiencing some of the forgiving nature of a public that so recently voted for him. Given his ability to speak – of hope and of challenges, both – we can be assured that Americans will largely stay put in their opinion polls.
As for the panicked markets, I’ve discussed before the fact that much of the marketplace today is absorbed in the fate of banks. They’re not going to be improving their mood while the bank situation resolves itself because no option that makes sense makes them happy. Tough shit, kiddies: you break it, the government may need to buy it.
And as for Republicans, I’m afraid its going to be up to them to get on board. Left as they are with such preposterous wingnuts, the more sensible members of that party, such as exist now, are going to need to find away to get a voice in the discussion. They’ve done OK in the Senate in terms of voting for the stimulus, but the problem on their side of the isle is largely rhetorical. It’s the kind of challenge where the most extreme elements of the party scream that day is night and the more moderate voices are forced to speak in that same language.
And to an extent, we are all stuck speaking the language of the hard right. How else could we end up talking about “nationalizing” banks and “bankruptcy” for GM as though they were two different things?