"The Senator" - Stephen Malkmus
I can never really decide if business jargon or political jargon is more annoying. In a just world both would be banished and their purveyors devoured by wild dogs in the public square. My hated DC word of the moment -- replacing "brand," a word whose use should subject the speaker to actual branding -- is "pivot," a word whose definition seems to be "we will unceremoniously flee from the debacle we've created and failed to solve, but of which we have grown tired, to launch a much heralded but inevitably ineffectual campaign against a new problem that we've created but really have no desire to actually do something about -- other than create the impression that we are doing something about it."
And thus, the much expected, but nonetheless groan-inducing "pivot on jobs" that Greg Sargent wrote about yesterday. Let's be clear -- there will be no "pivot" on jobs. There will be a public relations campaign by both parties (and I don't mean to engage in equivalence rhetoric, but here it is likely to be the case) about jobs, but no actual action taken on jobs. That is because creating jobs right now will require government spending, a course of action precluded by yesterday's debt deal (oh, and by the election of Republican majority in the House last fall). Now one could, I suppose, make the case for a jobs programs that would entail some additional spending, but I don't really see how President Obama could really push for it at this point. (It would be DOA anyway, but in a better context at least politically useful.) Anyway, expect to see talk on this score -- I guess the Republicans will be pushing still more tax cuts and the elimination of the EPA as their jobs program -- and nothing of substance. (Just to be clear, Sargent himself sees the absurdity in this turn of events and has no expectations of effective action.)
As for the debt deal itself, I tend to think it will have a minor negative effect on Obama -- I don't share Sullivan's optimism about it, but I think this reader's reaction is probably overstated, but touches on themes that we have all discussed here recently regarding the first time voters of 2008 and their continuing loyalty/enthusiasm. And this reaction strikes me as total overreach. But reminds me, now all eyes should turn to Wisconsin to see what we can accomplish next week. It could be just the boost to morale that we all desperately need.
What else is up?