3:39PM Get ready for Jobs Bill Kabuki! Here’s how it goes.
The President will ask for a jillion dollars in continued tax breaks and goodies for Democrat constituents.
Congress will say, “We can extend the tax cuts.”
Obama will sign the tax cut extensions, all the while complaining that the economy won’t get better unless his constituents get their goodies, like they got with the 2009 stimulus that didn’t stimulate.
The President will then run against the “do-nothing” Congress.
3:42PM I have CNN and a vodka tonic without the tonic.
In case you’re wondering, it’s CNN and something in a rocks glass for Joint Session addresses. State of the Union address are more formal, and require snifters of brandy and C-SPAN. Republican debates need MSNBC and martinis. For Democratic debates, you should serve up Fox News with a single-malt scotch and perhaps heroin.
3:45PM I’m not sure who he’s seeing now, but Harry Reid looks incredibly lifelike.
3:46PM I’m getting paid real American dollars to watch Boehner and Biden talk about their golf scores.
No wonder the dollar isn’t worth anything anymore.
3:47PM Watching the members stroll in, it’s like a parade of all the kids you couldn’t stand in high school.
3:49PM Wolf Blitzer is so bored, he’s asking people to wave at the camera — which apparently isn’t allowed by House (security?) rules.
3:50PM John King is saying this is the low point of Obama’s administration.
He ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
3:52PM Surprise! The Ds and Rs aren’t going to mingle their seats tonight, like they did for January’s SOTU.
And I apologize for having put the image in your head of members of Congress mingling their seats.
3:53PM They keep saying “infrastructure bank.” I keep hearing “slush fund.”
3:57PM I go into tonight’s event with a heavy heart, knowing there’s no way I’ll top last night’s Rachel Maddow gag.
3:59PM Now we’re hearing $450 billion — a 50% increase from yesterday morning. All I can say is: Typical.
3:59PM That thing I said about watching Congress file in? That goes double for the cabinet, only it’s the chess club.
4:01PM Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Theatre of the Absurd.
It’s my beat. I do with it what I can.
4:02PM Americans — by wide margins — didn’t even want the debt ceiling raised one single dime. How, exactly, will Obama sell us on another $450 billion in spending? Will it all come out of the Pentagon’s hide?
4:04PM The President is four minutes late by my watch. If this were Twitter, I’d tag this with #Respect.
4:06PM They’re cheering Obama like he just won a war. Instead of, you know, the persistently high unemployment he can’t seem to fight.
4:07PM We are we applauding the unemployment?
4:08PM If the Capitol gets nuked, we’re stuck with Arne Dunkan. So, heads up.
4:08PM Here we go…
4:09PM I swear he just looked at the Stage Left prompter before returning Boehner’s greeting.
4:09PM “Tonight we meet at an urgent time…”
4:10PM “The political crisis has made things worse.”
4:10PM He’s going with the Reaganesque, lighter tone.
4:11PM Clintonesque with the “and does their fair share.”
4:11PM We’re all victims. Happy, hardworking victims looking to Obama for help.
4:12PM Jeebus — he got his health care bill and Dodd-Frank and and Porkulus already. He unleashed the NLRB and the EPA and DOJ. What ELSE could he want to do to help?
4:12PM Oh. The American Jobs Act.
4:13PM “Everything in this bill will be paid for.”
Tempting to tell Congress to pass it as is.
4:13PM That’s a lot of tax breaks.
4:14PM I’m thinking of Tom Waits’s “Step Right Up.” Google the lyric.
4:14PM “Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will see a tax break…”
4:15PM “You should pass it right away.”
Specifics, please. Specifics!
4:15PM Here comes the infrastructure bank. This part is shovel-ready, I tell ya.
4:16PM High speed rail! Because the Chinese are taking our high speed rail!
4:16PM He just got a standing O from Dems on the high speed rail thing.
4:16PM Rand Paul is using his laser eyeballs to burn “LIBERTY” into the President’s hair.
4:17PM “…if we act now.” Seriously. Please, go Google the lyric to “Step Right Up.” You’ll just die.
4:17PM “To make sure the money is properly spent…” Um… Biden’s in charge?
4:18PM If he’s talking about telling the EPA to get stuffed, I’m in favor.
4:18PM Wait — does the Magic Bill do away with the union wage regulations for government construction?
4:19PM South Korea is stealing our teachers!
4:19PM “Pass this bill!”
I’m sensing a theme.
4:20PM Nice plug for veterans. Left unsaid: We’re going to have lots more out-of-work soldiers.
4:20PM Pass this bill — it slices, it dices, it even makes julliane fries.
4:21PM “Pass it again!” There’s a goose joke here I won’t make.
4:21PM Where is the money coming from for all this?
4:22PM Wait — not extending a tax cut is a tax hike. Unless it’s the Bush tax cuts.
4:22PM Wait — not extending a tax cut is a tax hike. Unless it’s the Bush tax cuts.
4:22PM “This is the American Jobs Act.”
WHAT is it?
4:22PM “It will be paid for. Here’s how… ”
4:23PM It will be paid for by future, unspecified spending cuts, that the GOP congress will have to come up with.
4:24PM And it will be paid for by tax increases “on the wealthiest Americans.”
4:24PM Here’s the truth: It’s another stimulus, only this one he’ll pretend to pay for.
Have I missed something?
4:25PM Medicare reform is a nice sop to the GOP. But it’s also shortsighted, for reasons I’m too drunk to get into — but it involved the election.
4:26PM “We need a tax code where everybody gets a fair shake.”
OK. Great. Flatten, broaden, and close loopholes. The GOP can and should get behind that.
4:26PM Wow — he just smacked Immelt right in the face.
4:27PM He’s talked about reforming Medicare/caid — which is great. But it’s also a long-term thing. How about a reprieve on ObamaCare, which is killing jobs right now?
4:28PM “This is simple math.”
That is never, ever, not once true in Washington.
4:29PM “We have to outbuild, out educate, out innovate.”
And he wants to HIRE more union teachers?
4:29PM “All of us will have to up our game.” Insert mandatory Pat Paulson reference here.
4:30PM It’s a return to form of Obama’s 2008 campaign — which, no matter what you think of the guy, is a welcome relief from the past couple years.
4:31PM Last I read, start-ups think the patent bill is a sop to big business, locking them out of competition.
4:31PM “Made in America” isn’t what we stamp on our exports, bub.
4:31PM Yes, I just called the President “bub.” Sorry.
4:32PM “We need to work side-by-side with American businesses.”
No, no, and a thousand times NO. You need to step aside and let business work.
4:33PM We’re not still Number One?
4:34PM Cutting spending and regulation doesn’t work! Unless it does! In a very limited way that I won’t get into now, but I have this commission that will someday in a limited way, I swear!
4:34PM “Every rule should meet this common-sense test.”
Now we’re in the total bullshit phase of speech.
4:35PM “I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between jobs and safety… ”
Can we start drilling now?
4:35PM When Tim Geithner stood up just now, you could barely see the strings.
4:36PM After that line about collective bargaining, I have to wonder if he’s written off Wisconsin.
4:36PM “Yes, we are rugged individualists… ” who must be taken care of and coddled and bribed into creating jobs.
4:37PM He’s digging back to Lincoln again — he’s really going for a rerun of 2008.
4:38PM Dude. Putting Steve Case in your rogues gallery isn’t impressing anybody. Certainly not any Time-Warner shareholders.
4:39PM “And members of Congress, it’s time for us to meet our responsibilities.”
Or as Heinlein said, “a motion to adjourn is always in order.”
4:39PM Remember this: Every time Obama says “this bill is paid for,” he means that someone else — Congress — has to figure out how to pay for it.
4:40PM Um… the People sent the new Congress to stop you from doing stuff already. Historic election and all that, remember?
4:40PM I’m going to hammer this again: Until Obama presents actual spending cuts, this bill is not paid for.
4:41PM He’s trying his bipartisan best here, which ain’t much, but the House members know they’re the one who’ll have to pay for this “paid for” bill.
4:42PM “We are tougher than the times we live in.”
Dude. You have no idea.
4:44PM “Pass this jobs bill now!” Pay for it later.
I don’t know what else to tell you.
There are some good ideas in there, really. But it reminds me of Wall Street’s pony theory: “This thing is so full of horse s***, there must be a pony in there somewhere.”
Well, there is a pony. And it’s drowning in donkey crap.
4:45PM Even Gloria Borger just said, “This thing is paid for — we’re just not sure how.”
Borger said that. Borger. I rest my case.
4:46PM David Gergen: “I think he fired up a lot of Democrats.”
These days, that’s no way to win an election — which is what this speech was all about.
4:47PM It’s all over but the shouting now, kids. So let me address my last message tonight directly to President Obama.
Mr. President, let me be perfectly clear: Why must you keep returning us to the same failed policies of the past?