Friday, September 09, 2011


Dana Milbank on the speech:

President Obama gave one of the most impassioned speeches of his presidency when he addressed a joint session of Congress Thursday night. Too bad so many in the audience thought it was a big, fat joke....

The lawmakers weren't particularly hostile toward the president -- they just regarded the increasingly unpopular Obama as irrelevant. And the inclination not to take the 43-percent president seriously wasn't entirely limited to the Republicans....

That "43-percent president" reference cites Obama's job approval rating in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll. Know what George W. Bush's job approval rating was in the ABC/WaPo poll a few weeks before he announced the Iraq surge, on January 20, 2007? It was 36 percent. Know what it was in the next poll, taken just after the surge announcement, but just before Bush defended the surge in his State of the Union address? It was 33 percent.

You're relevant if your party digs in its heels to keep you relevant. You're relevant if the opposition party doesn't dig in its heels to make you irrelevant. You're relevant if you can get the Beltway conventional wisdom mongers to say you're relevant.

And Milbank, of course, never explains why Republicans in Congress always seem to be relevant -- even now, at 28 percent approval.