Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Daily Strike-8/5/09-Is it Playing in Elkhart?

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. The President was on the road again today, and we have all the details. Let's get to it.

ELKHART: The President returned today to Elkhart, IN, a symbolic oasis he has employed since he became President. As one journalist wisely noted, Obama and Elkhart are inextricably linked. Elkhart is one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and has been suffering from decades of failed Republican policies. As Obama tries to rebuild the economy, not simply from last year's crisis, but from decades of Washington disregard for the middle class, the city of Elkhart will be a good harbinger.The President went to Elkhart to tout the progress of the stimulus package, and defend its implementation against critics. He also came to announce $4 billion in stimulus money for a new project manufacturing battery and electric cars. That may seem like a small investment considering the numbers we throw around these days, but it is an unprecedented effort, and will hopefully will help bring manufacturing jobs to depressed former industrial towns like Elkhart. In a veiled swipe at his critics, the President said that American wasn't built on "griping and complaining" but by "hard work and taking risks." That's a good message to have when you're trying to shore up support with the middle class.

While he was in Indiana, the President sat down with an interview to the great Chuck Todd of MSNBC. He made news by saying that while he prefers health care reform to be bipartisan, if things don't improve by September, he will have to move on, because "failure is not an option." I hope that President Obama follows through on this, though he is dependent on one committee that hasn't yet reported a bill, the Senate Finance committee, and its chairman Max Baucus. The "Gang of Six" slow-moving bipartisan Senators is scheduled to meet with Obama later this week. I hope President Obama plays hardball with these Senators, and reminds them that the reform effort isn't about them, but about getting the job done for the American people.

SOTOMAYOR: The Sotomayor confirmation debate continued today on the Senate floor, and it became even more likely that she will be confirmed. According to a CSPAN tally, 62 Senators have committed to support her, while 30 Senators have announced their opposition. Two Republican Senators announced support today, Senator Bond of Missouri, and good old Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. Not so coincidentally, both of these Senators are retiring next year, and will thus not have to face an angry right-wing base. Most Republican speeches today, as expected, focused on Sotomayor's irrelevant "wise Latina" comment and the Ricci case, in which Sotomayor ruled against white firefighters who claimed reverse discrimination in New Haven, CT. It seems like the Republican playbook is not to try and win support from the Hispanic community, which they've lost badly over the past few years, but to appeal to white angst. Luckily for us, it is not a winning strategy. The vote on the nomination could occur as early as tomorrow evening. We, of course, will have full coverage.

That's it for tonight, see you tomorrow!

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