I have a new money-making idea for someone looking to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps in this down economy: Sell bumper stickers that say "My President is Mark Murphy". I'm guessing you can sell them to all of the people who will be tuning into the NBC NFL Kickoff Pre-Game Show instead of the--ahem--"Major Jobs Speech" from President Obama.
The two NBC affiliates here in Packers Country have decided to stick with the pre-game show instead of airing the President's address to a joint session of Congress. I'm sure a few of my journalistic peers will be raking WGBA and WTMJ over the coals for "abdicating their duty to cover such an important, newsworthy event"--but I will be very interested to see the ratings that come out of Tuesday's decision. I get the sneaking suspicion that even though most of the show will be NBC talking heads and three overrated musical acts, the viewership will be more than the cumulative audience for the President's speech on all of the other outlets.
Let's be honest, tomorrow night's speech will be anything but "a major announcement". It will start with a series of "America is facing a crisis" generalities. Next comes the "I heard from Billie Mae Dawson of Waycross, Georgia--who has been without a job for nearly three years now--despite having a bachelors degree and putting out more than 500 resumes" line the speechwriters got by choosing one letter from the thousands that come in to the White House that the President never actually reads. That will be followed by the real purpose of the speech: Candidate For Re-Election Barack Obama blaming Republicans in Congress and Former President George W Bush for the economy not turning around in the last three years. The speech will wrap up with a proposal to borrow another $300-Billion dollars to pay for projects that will be required to hire union workers only--along with the usual "hope and change" platitudes and we're out of here right before kickoff of the Packers game. The other networks will follow with their liberal talking heads calling it a "watershed event in American history sure to turn things around in time for the 2012 elections" and their conservative talking heads calling it "a complete failure of vision that will only deepen the hole Rick Perry will have to dig out of in 2013."
If Republicans really wanted to make the President squirm, they should do all they can to guarantee the speech goes past game time. As the President enters the House Chambers, stop him for a conversation as often as possible as he walks down the aisle. Welcome the President to the podium with a five-minute standing ovation. Cheer wildly--and for as long as you can--after every single sentence. And feel free to point out errors in fact as often as possible with outbursts from the gallery. I can already see the consultants in the production booth telling the Teleprompter operator to increase the speed of the scroll to make sure the President is done by 7:30--to the point where he sounds like the speed-talking guy who did the Federal Express ads back in the 1980's.
I should probably mention that you can hear President Obama's Address to the Joint Session of Congress live here on WOSH--with ABC Radio coverage beginning at 6:00 Thursday night....if you can tear yourself away from the three hours of Packers GameDay coverage on all of the other AM stations.