Bill McGurn at the Wall Street Journal:
In everyday life, when you don’t have something to say, you avoid the stage. In our nation’s capital, by contrast, the world operates like the one Alice found behind the Looking Glass. That’s a world where you have to run as hard as you can just to stay still. Which helps explain why President Obama will this week be addressing a joint session of Congress that doesn’t really want to hear from him about a jobs plan that he doesn’t really have.
Expectations are high, the byproduct of a highly publicized back and forth with Republican Speaker John Boehner over the date of the president’s speech. If you’re a White House with a message, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately for President Obama, he doesn’t have one.
How do we know he doesn’t? We know it from the White House itself. On Friday, Ed Henry quoted an unnamed presidential aide telling Fox News that while he didn’t want to “downplay the speech,” he needed to shoot down “the idea that this is the be-all and end-all.”
So if this is not the “be-all and end-all” we’ve been told it was for weeks, why the initial announcement it would be held the same night Republican presidential candidates were holding a televised debate? And why do it before a joint session of Congress?
The answer to the first is that the speech most probably did not start out as a calculated attempt to upstage the Republican candidates. More likely, Thursday night was what White House aides originally had in mind—until they realized it would clash with the NFL’s opening day. So they moved it back a day. That backfired because it looked so ungracious, but if you were President Obama, whom would you rather go up against: the GOP or the Green Bay Packers?
The answer to the other question has more to do with our Looking Glass Beltway. In this universe, a bigger stage is often the solution for a lack of substance. Put it this way: Without the backdrop of a joint session of Congress, how many networks would broadcast another Obama jobs speech?
The 2010 world champion Green Bay Packers host the 2009 world champion New Orleans Saints Thursday night on NBC. The Packers are favored by 4 points.
Pregame concert starts at 7:30 Eastern (4:30 Pacific) Be here or be square.
There is nothing else worth watching anyway.