President Obama’s message to Congress today was simple: Please ignore a majority of the press.
With the specter of government shutdown behind him, Obama told Congress Thursday that all members should devote their energies toward progress and negotiations and to just ignore the pundits, the bloggers, the political activists and the lobbyists making all of that so darn difficult.
“Let’s be clear,” he said of the shutdown, solved at the last minute Wednesday. “There are no winners here.”
“We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst believe it slowed our growth,” he continued, adding that just because the government avoided default, consumer spending and hiring have slowed because of the spectacle of the shutdown.
“We hear some members who pushed for the shutdown say they were doing it to save the American economy. But nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.”
Indeed, it’s the “spectacle” that has Obama calling for a new era of bipartisanship.
“All my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change,” Obama said. “Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people, and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.”
“All of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio, and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do,” he said.
He bemoaned the “rhetoric” which “gets worse” every year, and pleaded with political rivals to focus on where they agree. He cited the budget process as an area that most Democrats and Republicans agree, seemingly forgetting what the whole fiscal cliff/sequester/shutdown thing was all about (hint: not as much Obamacare as you think).
He continued: “Had one side not decided to pursue a strategy of brinkmanship, each side could have gotten together and figured out how do we shape a budget that provides certainty to businesses, and people who rely on government?”
President Obama finished with a call to action: Immigration reform, which he thinks should be the focus of Congress for the remainder of the year (even though this whole budget thing is still not even close to being solved).
Color me skeptical, but let us know what you think. Is Obama really calling for bipartisanship, or is he just trying to preserve public image after the shutdown? Will his words inspire trust and cooperation, or more division? Sound off!