. . . and you’re sending a long-overdue jobs program to a contentious Congress. To work up public support you plan to deliver a prime-time speech from the Oval Office, asking the American people to call, write, contact their representatives on Capitol Hill, to let them know their constituents support the President’s program.
Question: What’s wrong with that scenario? Answer: Nothing if you’re a politically savvy president named Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton, more interested in getting your message across than in the spotlight of delivering it. What better way to put pressure on members of Congress than a direct appeal to their constituents?
But if you’re Barack Obama, that’s not the way to go: Center stage, captive audience, on-camera — daytime, prime-time, anytime — is the be-all and end-all of his presidential leadership. So it is that having earned the distinction of being the most over-exposed president in American history, the Lecturer-in-Chief now moves to make the calling of a congressional joint session commonplace.
What’s that, the President again, speaking to Congress? Must be a summer re-run. Flip the channel.