The election in Massachusetts changed both the political landscape and math in the Senate. President Obama is rejiggering his political organization and that of the Democratic National Committee, including hiring ‘08 campaign manager David Plouffe as a consultant. Congress is back into session, and a new political season begins with President Obama’s State of the Union speech Wednesday night.
The rhetoric coming out of the White House is pretty tough; we’ll see how that translates into action.
WASHINGTON—Coming off one of the most difficult weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama has beefed up his political staff and is expected to deliver an uncompromising State of the Union address. Aides said Sunday that the White House wasn’t making any abrupt policy shifts, even as the message was retooled to focus more sharply on job creation….
“People are working harder,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the economy. “If they have a job, they’re working harder for less. They’re falling behind. That’s been true for a decade. They look at a wave of irresponsibility from Wall Street to Washington that led to that. And those were the frustrations that got the president elected in the first place, and they were reflected again on Tuesday” in the Massachusetts election.
The message Mr. Plouffe is bringing was a collaborative effort by him, White House officials and the leadership of the Democratic National Committee. That message is one of no retreat in the face of polling that shows opposition to the president’s push to overhaul health care and discontent with his economic efforts.
“Instead of fearing what may happen, let’s prove that we have more than just the brains to govern—that we have the guts to govern. Let’s fight like hell,” Mr. Plouffe wrote, striking the same chord Mr. Obama did at a town-hall meeting in Ohio Friday and likely will Wednesday in his first State of the Union address.
The White House is clearly trying to position itself as aligned with, rather than opposed to, the growing discontent with Washington and its performance. It’s a smart approach if they can pull it off.