by Warner Todd Huston | September 9, 2011 3:38 pm
President Obama gave his much delayed “jobs” speech on Thursday, one he’s been promising since 2008. Unfortunately for this president, few people much cared. In fact, the most damning indictment about how irrelevant this speech and this president is was seen during the speech in the House gallery, a space that was, unlike any other presidential address, nearly empty.
So, what if a president gave a speech and no one came?
Dana Milbank reveals the most damning indictment of how unimportant this president has become by reporting the sparse attendance for Obama’s speech.
Presidential addresses to Congress are often dramatic moments. This one felt like a sideshow. Usually, the press gallery is standing-room-only; this time, only 26 of 90 seats were claimed by the deadline. Usually, some members arrive in the chamber hours early to score a center-aisle seat; 90 minutes before Thursday’s speech, only one Democrat was so situated.
This is incredibly bad for the president. As Milbank said, these speeches are usually a big deal in the Beltway. It’s a time to be seen, congressmen have to fight off constituents that want to attend, the house is usually packed.
But this time no one cared.
Milbank also notes that even members of the president’s own party were not very enthusiastic for O’s words.
Almost all Republicans ignored the calls of some within their ranks to boycott the speech. In fact, the empty seats were on the Democratic side. Democrats lumbered to their feet to give the president several standing ovations, but they struggled at times to demonstrate enthusiasm. When Obama proposed payroll tax cuts for small businesses, three Democrats stood to applaud. Summer jobs for disadvantaged youth brought six Democrats to their feet, and a tax credit for hiring the long-term unemployed produced 11 standees.
Now, one has to wonder why no one else is reporting this? One would think that this slight to a president would be something worth focusing upon? Is it too damaging for the president?
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