This, according to the New York Times, is the internal policy debate about the economy going on at the White House:

Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.

But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view. Democrats are also pushing the White House to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them.

So the two jobs plans under consideration are put on a show and score a “win” by paying off the Chamber, arming North Korea and offshoring 159,000 jobs with another NAFTA deal, or put on a show and pretend to care about passing legislation that will never happen.

You know at some point people might get wise to the fact that Obama is the most powerful political figure in the world, and he does have options beyond being a corporate tool who lets his campaign manager rearrange the national lawn furniture.

I guess it’s time to fire up the “What Obama Could Do Now” series again:

The White House does not seem to be able to conceive of actual governance as a viable option, and appear to be counting on the fact that Republicans are so crazy that if they don’t piss off elites they can cruise to victory in 2012 by flim-flamming the public with a series of PR stunts, even in the midst of soaring unemployment.

After watching the Iowa Republican debate devolve into an argument over whether aborting innocent fetuses conceived in rape means victimizing them twice, I’m afraid they might well be right.

Street art by Scot Lefavor, photo: voteprime