by Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish
Yesterday's scheduling flap between the White House and the House was a stark reminder of the dysfunction in Washington and if they'd fight about that, it doesn't bode well for the next 15 months. I get that this coming, Labor Day weekend, marks the unofficial end of summer.
And that Tuesday is a back to work and school day for many adults and children. And that Congress comes back to work Wednesday evening.
And that, therefore, superficially, the White House can argue that Wednesday was the natural date, the first date, on which the President could reasonably expect to go to the Capitol and speak to Congress about jobs.
But surely they knew that Wednesday is a GOP debate, yes, one of about 20 about to unfold, but one that has already been re-scheduled twice, will include Rick Perry for the first time, and will occur at the fabled Reagan library.
Just as there are no tears in baseball, there is no coincidence in politics. I suspect the White House picked that date because it was the night of the GOP debate, not in spite of it. And I also think the idea was to offer America a stark contrast between whatever the President intends to say about jobs, and the responses that will be offered by the Republican hopefuls.
So I can't buy the explanation of Jay Carney who when asked about whether the date was picked because of the debate said "no of course not." Nor, however, do I buy John Boehner's response, which was to talk about conflict with some perfunctory votes and the needed time for a security sweep.
I wish the White House had simply said the date selected did take into account the GOP debate, and that Boehner had responded by saying, terrific, come on over. We would all have benefited from seeing each of the candidates running for president –telegenically at least, on the same stage. It would also have added some interest to the debate. Think of it - the debate could have started the moment President Obama finished.
And the first question from Brian Williams could have been to ask each Republican hopeful to respond to the substance of what the president offered. Instead the entire tit for tat exchange is a reminder of the gridlock in Washington and the petty partisan politics that divide us and stand in the way of recovery.
They all come off looking out of touch. If any of them had their finger on the pulse of the people, they'd have realized that next week is already over-scheduled. Most Americans will be more worried about backpacks, bus schedules and pressed khakis than the presidential race. With three sons heading back to school, next week in my house is the most hectic of the year, right up there with Christmas. Not to mention that it's the start of the NFL season and the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
If they can't consolidate schedules, how are they going to create jobs?