A Very Important Week

September 7, 2011 - 5:03 AM

This is a big week in American politics.

The other day Michele Bachmann's campaign "Did a Gingrich" as she lost her manager, the sainted Ed Rollins and his deputy. Ed said it was because, at 68, he's too damned old to go riding around on small planes and buses for 14 hours a day, seven days a week.

I have known Rollins for a hundred of his 68 years, and I am willing to bet heavy money that Rep. Bachmann - or Rep. Bachmann's husband - decided they knew more about how to run a Presidential campaign than Ed did and he told them he was perfectly happy to let them prove it.

This is the period in the presidential cycle when campaigns have to focus on two things: debates and fundraising. The next debate will be tonight from the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

We'll get to see Gov. Rick Perry in action against his opponents for the first time.

The next round of Federal Election Commission reports for Presidential campaigns will be due on October 15 and we'll have a better idea which of the eight (or nine or ten) campaigns will be able to make it through to January.

SIDEBAR

I was granted credentials to cover tonight's debate. I bought a ticket on Delta to go bye-bye on an airplane. I made a reservation at the Hampton Inn in Burbank, California. I arranged for a car from Hertz.

Then, on Monday night I thought: I'm about to spend about $1,500 to cover a debate by watching it on TV from a tent in California. I'm not sure that's the best investment I've ever made.

I cancelled everything. I will watch it on the TV in my den.

END SIDEBAR

What else is going on?

Oh, yes. The President is going to speak to the nation from the Well of the House at a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow night about job creation. It is not clear to me why the White House decided to raise the bar that high, but it is just possible they know more about what is going to be in that speech than I do.

As Mullfave Peggy Noonan wrote last week, "The speech will have to be very good not to be called very bad."

In her Washington Post blog, Jennifer Rubin wrote: "According to Matt McDonald, a former Bush official and now a business consultant, in order to get to 8 percent unemployment by Election Day we would need 270,000 new jobs each month."

The Obama Administration's Labor Department reported zero job growth in August thus missing their target by just about 270,000 jobs.

When I worked for Speaker Gingrich and President Clinton was about to make a major speech we would toss incense into a fire and beseech the speech gods not to smile upon him. But we knew he would knock it out of the park and Clinton always did.

Obama has shown himself to be far less convincing as an orator. After the downgrade of U.S. securities by Standard & Poor's, Obama felt the need to make remarks in mid-session. It was so effective that, as NPR noted, "Minutes after his speech was over, the Dow dropped 500 points."

But … he's the President and he gets to speak whenever he wants. Just not where ever he wants.

Obama didn't want to go head-to-head with the first NFL game of the season on Thursday night (Packers v Saints) so he tried to step on the GOP debate tonight. Boehner, who owns the House Chamber, said (in effect) "The House is washing its collective hair on Wednesday, but we're free on Thursday."

Obama accepted the date, but moved his speech on jobs from eight o'clock to seven so as not to interfere with the football game.

I tweeted yesterday: Avg Sun Night NFL audience 2010 = 21.8 million. Unemployed Americans = 14.1 million. [Obama] Speaking @7 Thur sted 8 = 7.6 million happy Americans.

Could you have imagined, two years ago, Barack Obama having to work a major speech in around the opening night of NFL football? How far the mighty have fallen.

I'll report on what I think happened in tonight's debate … tonight. I'll report on what I think happened in President Obama's speech tomorrow.

This, ladies and gentleman, is a very important week.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to a piece about the Rollins departure, the 270,000 jobs per month blog; and, NPR's take on Obama's failed attempt calm the markets. Also, a pretty good Mullfoto showing Autumn has arrived in Alexandria, Virginia, and a Catchy Caption of the Day dealing with a billion ton crocodile.