The President opened his press conference by designating the top two priorities as jobs and growth, and then spent the next 60 minutes answering questions about David Petraeus and Susan Rice and tax rates and Benghazi and deficit reduction. And Obama didn’t seek to break out of that constraint and suggest actual near-term job creation strategies. So it’s pretty clear that jobs are a dead end as far as the legislative process is concerned.

On monetary policy, however, things have suddenly become a bit more promising. Janet Yellen, the Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve, delivered a speech yesterday that strongly endorsed the idea of “forward guidance” in the economy, tying monetary policy actions to a specific employment target. The idea was first brooched by Charles Evans, the President of the Chicago Federal Reserve, who because of the rotation of regional Fed Presidents on the Federal Open Market Committee, will actually get a policymaking slot in 2013.