From TPM Reader JL …
Couldn’t agree more with your post.
The one thing I’d add is that as important as the substance is, tone may be more important. The Democratic base, if it is to support Obama passionately next fall, needs to know that he will fight for their values. And independents need to know that Obama stands for something and is ready to fight for it.
Right now there is a disconnect between the extreme nature of the Republicans rhetoric and behavior and that of the President. The result is to make Obama look feckless and that’s a very, very dangerous place for a President.
I was recently vacationing with my Aunt who is a grade school teacher. She made the point that all sorts of styles work in the classroom (i.e. badass vs. gentle touch) as long as the kids feel they are getting a fair shake. She might have added, and as long as the kids respect the teacher’s authority. Right now the GOP is playing the part of the bully who challenges the teacher’s authority. Obama can be the guy with the calm voice and low key demeanor, but he’s got to put that to the side right now and put the bully in his place. That means calling the Republicans the extremists that they are. And doing so in no uncertain terms. Eventually that will have to be backed up with some hardball tactics in the Supercommittee battle. But it needs to start with some very tough rhetoric. Without that, the substance of the speech won’t matter a whit.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.