Let me finish tonight with something I've started. It's jobs. Not talk. Not taxes. Not this political together-ness that adds up to doing nothing. Not a bus trip.
Here's my jobs program and how to make it happen.
Mr. President, all you have to do is get your public works and economic development people in the government agencies to draw up a list of all the bridges below safety code in all the congressional districts of the country. You can get some help locally on this from the chief engineers in the towns across the country.
Start with that.
Get a picture of those dilapidated bridges and have your local Democratic committee people or mayor or whoever you can call - local newspaper, local TV affiliate - and get them to put a picture of those bridges and their exact locations before the local people. Let them see the danger that bridge poses to the next car or school bus that goes over and demand that the local member of Congress vote to fix it, vote to get it up to code.
Get it? It's not about political defense, not about trying to match the other party in your fervor to cut government spending, or cut taxes - or whatever else is on their agenda.
It's about getting to the country's agenda – putting people to work; doing things that need doing.
Look. If you want to get things built - the empire state building and the golden gate bridge went up during the middle of the great depression - you build them when labor is cheap, when prices are held down by the slow economy. You do the jobs that need doing when there are people out there looking, desperately for something to do.
This is the Chris Matthews Jobs Program. Take the pictures. Put them before the public. Let people know what's falling down and fix it! If some member of Congress refuses to do it, put the heat on him; make him or her defend that dangerous bridge. Make them explain why it's better not to do the job the government is there to do. Is the private sector going to fix the bridge? Don't wait too long for them to do it!
The key is focus. The key is keeping it local. The key is hitting those projects that need doing. Not shovel-ready, whatever that means. It's something's broken that needs fixing, and some lazy, stubborn member of Congress is keeping it from getting fixed!
Put the heat on these people instead of sitting there and having them put it on you!
The bus trip would be a lot better if you were taking that bus over the bridges and the roads, past the other public works jobs - that you're deadset on fixing - and your opponents are afraid to refuse. Make them an offer they "can't" refuse. Offer to fix the bridges where they live, where their kids have to cross in the morning this September. Just do it! Because it's a lot better than getting yelled at for doing something than being looked down on for standing there and taking it.
So there it is: The Chris Matthews Jobs Program. Don't worry; you don't have to post it on the job site.