The problem with radical pragmatism is that you end up having to sell a crappy bill that no one believes in. Obama's poor, beat-up stimulus bill is hated by the Republicans because, hey, it's government spending, and its hated by Democrats because it's not as big and substantial and country-saving as it should be. If Obama's philosophy is the art of the possible, well, he fucked up by thinking that a good-faith effort to make a bill palatable to moderate conservatives would actually work to appease any of them.
And so he's out there selling something he knows isn't actually that good, which is why he's forced to couch his pitch entirely in negative tones: if we don't pass this bill, if we do nothing, we are all seriously fucked. Not, like, "once we pass this bill things will get better," but just pure it's-better-than-nothing. Inspirational!
Republicans are a lot better at seizing on crises. 9/11 and Katrina both gave them opportunities to ram through bills tangentially related to those disasters filled with stuff they'd had on the wish list for a decade or more, all of it sold with conviction that it'd fix the nation. Democrats were handed an opportunity almost on the same scale, and they're haggling, once again, about tax cuts. All because Obama isn't a dick! If he was a dick he'd have stuck Card Check and probably single-payer health care reform and hell, why not gay marriage into a "stimulus bill," because that's what Liberal George Bush, Liberal Dick Cheney, and Liberal Tom DeLay would've done.
And now Obama's selling his watered-down and porked up bill directly to the American people, because he's still pretty damn popular, and people always like it when a president bitches about Congress. But will they like it when he won't get off their damn tvs? He's got an hour of prime time tonight (during House!), and now supposedly he's doing another one on February 16, and all of this is before his 2-hour State of the Union on the 24th! Who does he think he is, funnyman Jay Leno?
TV networks are expected to lose million of dollars in ad revenue, so let's hope at least one of these appearances is as entertaining and well-produced as his little Obama Informecial thing was. That was like a Frontline episode with a campaign speech thrown in!