Obama’s Jobs Speech: Prepare to Be Underwhelmed

obamas and fireworks

Official White House photo: Pete Souza

President Obama’s much anticipated speech outlining his jobs agenda for the 2012 election year will sound a lot like a tiny mouse trying to make a loud roar. Instead of clarity, we’ll get hedging; instead of “bold,” we’ll get wishy-washy. The principal aim of the speech will be to divert attention away from his administration’s failure to hold to account the Wall Street perpetrators of the housing bubble/mortgage scam that ransacked the middle class.

One big idea that’s been kicking around is a payroll tax holiday. That action might mollify some Republicans and put some chump change in people’s pockets but it will also drain cash out of Social Security thereby giving Pete Peterson and his anti-New Deal chorus more ammunition in their decades-old project of tearing apart the social contract. Besides, how can Obama repeat the Republican mantra that deficits are akin to Armageddon only to turn around and offer up a tax “holiday?” He’s probably going to say anything the average Ohio “swing” voter wants to hear. He’ll offer more poll-tested boilerplate (and unattainable boilerplate given the hostility of Congress). He won’t come out definitively in favor of the workers who are fighting for their lives in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere.

The president has already shown that his administration will offer little help to the 14.6 million Americans who’ve been stuck with mortgages based on fraudulent real estate prices. His administration’s attempts to stymie New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s efforts to go after mortgage fraud is just more evidence that Obama is not serious about addressing the crisis. Schneiderman represents the last hope that some of the crooks on Wall Street might at long last be confronted. He believes the current deal the Obama Justice Department and other state attorneys general are working out with the giant banks is far too generous and gives up far too much, (which pretty much sums up Obama’s “negotiating” style). The Obama “deal” allows the most corrupt banks to purchase immunity from prosecution.

The Democrats have an invertebrate as their leader. Or maybe he desired this outcome from the start, an elaborate hoax designed to channel the populist anger away from his patrons on Wall Street.

The heroic efforts of progressives in Wisconsin and Ohio are getting little more than lip service from the Obama administration which is intent on coddling banks and speculators even in the face of mounting evidence from whistle blowers, reporters, and even members of Congress that the criminality on Wall Street is far more pervasive than previously imagined. The mortgage fraud crisis must be staunched before there can be any serious “jobs” program. But Obama won’t go there. He wants Wall Street’s campaign cash and thinks his soft touch toward the banks will shake it loose.

Obama spent most of 2010 either capitulating to the Republicans or beating down his own base. Now he appears surprised when millions of his supporters are less than enthusiastic. Calling on progressives to “grow up” and accept Obama’s jellyfish leadership, as CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently did, is a one-dimensional and elitist take on the current political context, which is (of course) naturally considered “conventional wisdom” inside the Beltway.

Even when most Americans agree with the views of Obama’s progressive base, such as not cutting Social Security and Medicare, taxing the rich and corporations, and shutting down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he distances himself from those who played the biggest role in electing him.

People were not “naïve” to think that Obama was going to do something for ripped-off mortgage holders given his rhetorical flourishes during the 2008 campaign. But since he already elevated his rhetoric to the stratosphere in 2008, the 2012 election is shaping up to be a Jerry Seinfeld election about nothing, even with all of the suffering out there.

Even if Obama manages to squeak out a second term we can expect more of the same: “tough” talk followed by caving in to Republican demands. If you think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was bad, just wait until he’s the Majority Leader. Obama’s second term will look more like George W. Bush’s third term.

The hottest places in hell are reserved for politicians who come on like gangbusters when they want to be elected only to throw their followers over the cliff after attaining their goal of winning.

Obama can’t really do anything about jobs with a hostile Congress, but he could at least draw stark contrasts with his Republican opponents. The world’s largest economy sits dead in the water awaiting a failed (yet lauded) private sector to save us — kind of like an abused spouse cringing in the bathroom hoping (and waiting passively) for the abuser to stop drinking and turn a new leaf.

Joseph PalermoObama has already surrendered the narrative to the Republicans by

  • Embracing their views on debt and deficits; and
  • Capitulating to their every demand. When will the free ride of the Wall Street banks at the country’s expense be over?

Joseph Palermo
Joseph Palermo’s Blog


  1. says

    If you guys keep attacking our President you may just get an extremist right wing republican head of state–is that what you want? You are falling into the republican game plan–“Look–even the Democrats don’t want him.” I mean he became President under dire world economic conditions much of which was caused by republican policies.He was immediately beset by an opposition that wouldn’t give him an inch in the interest of our Nation. We have been in the throes of world-wide recession This is terrible stuff and your negativity may defeat liberal policies that go back to FDR. Are you paid to support the establishment of a complete oligarchy or something? Support the President and hold on against the republicans–they are crazier, greedier, and more evil than you can imagine in your worst nightmares.

    • MyLeftMind says

      Baloney. Obama is complicit with the plutocrats who own our government and who are in the process of destroying our middle class. He’s either a stealth Republican, or he’s completely over his head and therefore ineffective as president.

      Obama’s Republican policies are not recognized for what they truly are: Republican policies. At least with a Republican president, the people would rise up against the Republican policies being snuck through by this turncoat president who sneakily helps the rich every chance he gets.

  2. Val Eisman says

    Yesterday I followed a Facebook thread of people’s comments were outraged about Obama’s suggestion that businesses should hire workers who then should work for free during the so-called “training period”. People commented that in every business there is a so-called “learning curve” for workers. Several stated that asking people to work for free amounts to slavery.

    Therefore, I wouldn’t call Obama’s program “wishy-washy”, I’d call it downright reactionary. As for his suggestion, I suggest we withhold his salary and he return it to the people as his so-called “learning curve” in his job as been an extremely long one, and he has still not learned how to do it–follow the 70% of Americans who say pull out of Afghanistan.

  3. Black Beauty says


    How do you know what he will say?

    Do you have access to the speech?

    Did you read it?

    Are you a mind reader?

    Do you have solid solutions on how to get Americans back to work?

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