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Friday, June 08, 2012

What Mattered (and What Materialized) in the President's Press Conference Today and Why It Matters

The President held a press conference on the economy today, in which he literally said the following things (these quotations are culled from the official transcript at the end of the link):
After losing jobs for 25 months in a row, our businesses have now created jobs for 27 months in a row -- 4.3 million new jobs in all. The fact is job growth in this recovery has been stronger than in the one following the last recession a decade ago. But the hole we have to fill is much deeper and the global aftershocks are much greater. That’s why we've got to keep on pressing with actions that further strengthen the economy…. Europe, which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis. Obviously this matters to us because Europe is our largest economic trading partner… [E]ven as European countries with large debt burdens carry out necessary fiscal reforms, they’ve also got to promote economic growth and job creation. As some countries have discovered, it’s a lot harder to rein in deficits and debt if your economy isn’t growing. So it’s a positive thing that the conversation has moved in that direction… The decisions required are tough, but Europe has the capacity to make them. And they have America’s support. Their success is good for us. And the sooner that they act, and the more decisive and concrete their actions, the sooner people and markets will regain some confidence and the cheaper the costs of cleanup will be down the road. In the meantime, given the signs of weakness in the world economy, not just in Europe but also some softening in Asia, it's critical that we take the actions we can to strengthen the American economy right now. Last September, I sent Congress a detailed jobs plan full of the kind of bipartisan ideas that would have put more Americans back to work. It had broad support from the American people. It was fully paid for. If Congress had passed it in full, we’d be on track to have a million more Americans working this year. The unemployment rate would be lower. Our economy would be stronger. Of course, Congress refused to pass this jobs plan...
Notice that the President addressed the outright lie incessantly repeated by the dangerously recklessly mendacious Romney campaign that there has not been a single job created in the years of the Obama campaign. This matters. Notice that President indicates his awareness that austerity doesn't work and is encouraging those forces in Europe that recognize or might be brought to recognize this now that they must change course. This matters. Notice that Obama is sufficiently worried about the impact of European failure that he is letting Republicans know that their flabbergastingly irresponsible desire to undermine the President for partisan gain even at the risk of doing incredible damage to their own country really must be set aside to provide some kind protective economic security in case Europe does indeed fail. This matters. Notice that the President is reminding people who say he needs to "Do Something" that he actually already proposed to great fanfare and championed across the country and still strongly supports a sweeping Jobs Bill to address precisely these problems and that he formulated it in ways that solicited bipartisan support by confining it only to suggestions that were supported by independent experts and had been supported conspicuously in the past by Republicans as well as Democrats. This matters. Notice that the President pointed out the actual reality that the legislative branch does legislation and that Congressional Republicans unanimously prevented the jobs bill from passing so that they could campaign on the resulting sluggish economy for which they are responsible but for which they blame instead the Kenyan Socialist Islamofascist Blackety-Black Church Atheist Foreign-Born Utterly Ineffectual Total Dictator Criminal Mastermind Too Stupid to Do Anything But Read A Teleprompter And Did You Notice That He's Black?

And so, given all that mattered so enormously in today's Presidential Press Conference, what actually materialized? The headlines that I am seeing from the major media outlets about this press conference include: "Obama Pins Recovery Hopes on Europe's Leaders" -- "Obama: U.S. Economy Needs Help, Republicans Lack Ideas" -- "Obama May Blame GOP for a Bad Jobs Report But It's No Subsitute for Leadership" That's Fox, natch. -- "Obama Gets Grief for Saying Private Sector 'Fine'" -- "Obama Backs Away From 'Fine' Comment" -- "Obama Clarifies" These last three headlines indicate the fixation on Obama's unprepared remark in the Q&A in which he was saying that private-sector job growth was comparatively fine when one recognized the outright crisis in public-sector job slashing over the last two years, a fixation that has essentially functioned to make every other word Obama said, including other words he said that were clearer on the very topic presumably rendered "questionable" in this comment, but not really questionable for anybody with the least intelligence (or more to the point journalistic integrity).

This press conference could have mattered, but those who are paid to report what matters decided to talk about other stuff that doesn't matter instead. This matters.

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