Barack Obama will give his first speech to a joint session of Congress tonight. It will be part policy wonk — making the case for the broad range of ambitious policy changes he’s trying to make — and part, one hopes, “hopemonger.”He will also try to make the case that there will be an end in sight for the deficit bloat.
As Bill Clinton recently pointed out, the “hope” from his campaign has been missing from the presidential rhetoric. Obviously Obama has had to make as urgent and powerful a case as he could for the enormous stimulus package and for the various taxpayer funded bailout programs of the banks and auto companies. But the crisis rhetoric has had the side-effect of adding to, well, a sense of crisis.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke today tried to bring some hope by saying he thought the recession could end later this year. Markets turned up a bit today. Now it’s Obama’s turn.
The White House apparently wants “hope” to be the headline, because here is the excerpt they have sent out this evening ahead of the speech.
“But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before. ”
“The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.”
I’ll post a transcript here once it’s available.