Did President Obama really just reschedule his long-awaited jobs speech so the country can be riveted by the Republican presidential candidates debating how to defeat him next year? And all because he wanted to avoid going up against the opening game of the NFL season (which most assuredly will garner a larger audience)?
According to the New York Times:
In a surreal volley of letters, each released to the news media as soon as it was sent, Mr. Boehner rejected a request from the president to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday at 8 p.m. — the same night that a Republican presidential debate is scheduled.
In an extraordinary turn, the House speaker fired back his own letter to the president saying, in a word, no. Might the president be able to reschedule for the following night, Sept. 8?
For several hours, the day turned into a very public game of chicken.
By late Wednesday night, though, the White House issued a statement saying that because Mr. Obama “is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy,” he “welcomes the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Sept. 8.”
The final paragraph is the most telling. Here is the president being accommodating and statesmanlike when John Boehner and his band of Tea Partiers have been anything but either of those. You'd think that Obama would try to avoid a confrontation and propose an acceptable date to begin with or stand his ground and tell Boehner that waiting one more day shows how the conservatives don't care about jobs. But that's not Obama's style, and it makes him look a little weaker than he was yesterday.
The president has blinked in the face of conservative opposition too many times.