Obama’s op-ed pitch

OBAMA’S OP-ED PITCH…. As part of a more aggressive public-relations push, President Obama has a 767-word op-ed in the Washington Post this morning, offering a big-picture defense of the economic stimulus package.

It’s pretty consistent with the message Obama touched on yesterday, emphasizing short- and long-term investment…

That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

…and the failed philosophy of those who would kill the recovery package.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We’ve seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

Every day, our economy gets sicker — and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now.

The president doesn’t mention the name of either party, or ideology. The word “bipartisan” isn’t mentioned, either. The message is pretty straightforward: we’re facing an economic calamity, this is the right approach to getting back on track, and the critics, who’ve already been rejected by voters, have been consistently wrong for years.

As uses of the Bully Pulpit go, this is both compelling and overdue.