Republicans React to Obama's Jobs Plan

| Fri Sep. 9, 2011 10:23 AM EDT

For what it's worth, here's an email I got last night from a friend who watches a lot of Fox News:

Don't know whether it means anything at all, but I was pretty shocked by the relatively mild reaction on my ferociously anti-Obama Fox Business shows and Greta Van Susteren's show on FNC. Aside from Greta, all the rest of them, Fox hosts, GOP pols, business owners and financial types were quite lacking in their usual shrieking hostility.

Since they usually screen these people's opinions really precisely before booking them, I have to conclude that some sort of word has gone out through Fox channels to go easy for some reason. Fox Business host David Asman tried to rile up the business and financial types, and failed, but it was pretty half-hearted and he didn't pursue it.

I'm not saying these people raved about the speech, but there was a marked lack of the routinely super-hostile reaction to anything Obama says or does. Even Michele Bachmann was not her normal fire-breathing self on Greta.

As I say, I don't know if it means anything, but it was quite striking to me. Something's afoot here that's a little different than what we've become so used to, it does seem.

I don't know if it means anything either. But the GOP leadership also reacted mildly, and I do think that this is basically the smart play for Republicans. Obama's goal is to persuade voters that he's the last reasonable man in Washington and that Republicans are a bunch of slavering ideologues. How do you defang that? Easy as 1-2-3. First, make sure your reaction to his plan is muted and sober. Second, agree to consider his entire plan and give it a fair hearing. Third, pass one or two pieces of it. This wouldn't have enough impact on the economy to really affect the election, but it would simultaneously make Republicans look sober and judicious (we passed a couple of items!) and also fiscally responsible (we tossed out all the goodies for special interest groups!).

We'll see. Keeping everyone reined in won't be easy. But this would unquestionably be the smartest possible way for Republicans to handle Obama's proposal.