I know that he prefers the noun "audacity;" but I was glad to see that last night Barack Obama had the chutzpah to chuck his teleprompter speech in favor of some from-the-hip straight talk on implementing economic recovery. True, he did this before an audience of sympathetic Democrats; but, considering who those Democrats were, the need for an action-inspiring pep talk was far more important than any gratuitous partisan back-patting. Here as the specifics, as reported by Glenn Thrush and Patrick O'Connor for Politico:
A fired-up Barack Obama ditched his TelePrompter to rally House Democrats and rip Republican opponents of his recovery package Thursday night – at one point openly mocking the GOP for failing to follow through on promises of bipartisanship.
In what was the most pointedly partisan speech of his young presidency, Obama rejected Republican arguments that massive spending in the $819 billion stimulus bill that passed the House should be replaced by a new round of massive tax cuts.
“I welcome this debate, but we are not going to get relief by turning back to the same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin,” said President Obama – sounding more like Candidate Obama than at any time since he took the oath of office less than a month ago.
Obama, speaking to about 200 House Democrats at their annual retreat at the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, dismissed Republican attacks against the massive spending in the stimulus.
"What do you think a stimulus is?" Obama asked incredulously. "It’s spending — that's the whole point! Seriously.”
That little rhetorical flourish is the sort of thing that convinced me to vote for Obama in the first place. It is the voice of a man who will not give up his sense of reality, even when that reality is grim; nor will he tolerate any efforts to impose a smokescreen between that reality and his attempts to deal with it. Considering all the forces currently laboring against such a sense of reality, it is good to see that Obama has the conviction to recognize that economic distress is more important than political gamesmanship. That conviction, along with the style he engages to exhibit it, has earned him another Chutzpah of the Week award with a solid positive connotation. This brings his chutzpah count up to four, two negative from the campaign period, followed by two positive since the election. I can definitely believe in any change that involves a shift from negative to positive chutzpah!