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Obama's Prime-Time Address: A Dog Whistle to the Astroturf


Tonight, President Barack Obama made good on his threat to Eric Cantor to take his case “to the American people.”

The people he’s counting on most, however, are not the general public, but the small core of left-wing activists planning nationwide protests at congressional offices tomorrow.

Former “green jobs” czar Van Jones let the proverbial cat out of the bag today in a column at the Huffington Post entitled: “Tuesday: Rallies Everywhere to Save the American Dream“:

Enough is enough.

Speaker Boehner’s decision last week to walk out in the middle of negotiations with President Obama was the last straw.

The time has come — at long last — for America’s super-majority to stand up against the extreme, hostage-taking tactics of the Tea Party minority in Congress.

Tea Party Republicans would rather shred America’s safety net and also risk tanking America’s economy than raise taxes one penny on their super-wealthy donors and corporate backers.

This Tuesday at noon, everyday Americans will finally have the chance to be heard, across America, at the local offices of every member of Congress. The American Dream movement — which includes dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals who are standing up for the middle class and working class families — is calling for emergency mobilizations across the country tomorrow.

Likewise, has sent emails to its members, asking them to demonstrate outside Republican congressional offices tomorrow:

Our only chance to move the Republicans is to make sure that the dire consequences of their actions are laid directly at their feet. So with other leaders of the American Dream movement, we’re putting out an urgent call for every patriotic American to show up outside Republican congressional offices on Tuesday at noon to deliver a crucial message: “Don’t destroy the American Dream.”

Then, in his speech to the nation tonight, Obama called upon Americans to tell their members of Congress to compromise–clearly referring to Republican members of Congress alone:

So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your Member of Congress know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message.

At the risk of speculating too boldly, the timing here is too convenient to be accidental. President Obama is probably coordinating his message this evening with the message that the left-wing faux grass-roots will try to broadcast around the country tomorrow, hoping to portray their well-planned efforts as a spontaneous response to Obama’s prime-time address.

The headlines practically write themselves: “Citizens Support President’s Call to Compromise.” Obama’s strategy has likely been in the works for weeks-long before he “shoved back” from the table at the meeting with Cantor.

The President’s tactic is to exert enough pressure through local and national media on Republican members of Congress to undermine Speaker John Boehner’s leadership of his caucus. A weakened Speaker will have to compromise on less favorable terms than those apparently agreed to by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Obama could not possibly have intended his plodding speech tonight, which repeated many of the same talking points he has made for weeks, to convince the American people.

Rather than a sincere attempt at persuasion, it was more likely a dog whistle to the left-wing Astroturf-the signal to begin a carefully staged media campaign in the last days before the debt ceiling deadline, the better to position Obama politically when August 2nd passes-no matter what deal has been reached, or not, by then.


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