President Obama could have returned from his vacation and addressed the nation from the Oval Office, outlining his plan to increase jobs, pledging to have the legislative language on the desk of every member of Congress by the time they returned to Washington, calling on citizens to demand Congress act promptly on the Obama Plan.
For that strategy to work, however, you need an actual plan. You don’t summon the nation for an Oval Office address to propose what you’re already doing (unemployment insurance and a payroll tax reduction), or more of what didn’t work before (stimulus, but without the word “stimulus”), or things like patent reform or trade agreements you inherited from George W. Bush. If you don’t have a plan, but want to show you are the most reasonable man in the room, the Oval Office is not the right venue; you need a bigger room, and more people.
It turned out what Obama had in mind was a speech he deemed important enough to pre-empt a Republican presidential debate but not a football game. Delayed a day, the time of the speech will be moved to avoid a conflict with the NFL opener. Score a trifecta for Obama: he helped publicize the Republican debate, lost another ill-considered battle with John Boehner, and will give a speech while most of the country is either at work, driving home, or eating dinner.