Democrats try a new tack
Steve Benen excerpts yesterday’s Jim Messina email:
“The U.S. Senate is supposed to vote on the American Jobs Act as early as tonight.
“It’s a bill that will put people to work immediately, and it contains proposals that members of both parties have said in the past that they’d support.
“But Senate Republicans want to block it. Not because they have a plan that creates jobs right now — not one Republican, in Congress or in the presidential race, does. They only have a political plan.
“Their strategy is to suffocate the economy for the sake of what they think will be a political victory. They think that the more folks see Washington taking no action to create jobs, the better their chances in the next election. So they’re doing everything in their power to make sure nothing gets done.”
It’s been glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention for the past two years that the clearest path to political victory for the GOP is a weak economy. Even so, the idea that the Republican Party would deliberate try to sink the economy for political gain has been a little slow to gain traction. There’s been speculation, but liberals have been hesitant to make a full-throated accusation.
The idea became a little harder to ignore after Rick Perry’s comments about Ben Bernanke. Accusing the Fed chairman of treason is one thing, but Perry’s argument was that Bernanke’s crime would be “printing more money to play politics” – endorsing the idea that the Fed would print more money before the 2012 to help President Obama.
Coming on the heels of the Messina email are these comments from Harry Reid:
“Republicans think that if the economy improves, it might help President Obama,” Mr. Reid said. “So they root for the economy to fail and oppose every effort to improve it.”
The timing of this new talking point makes sense. Democrats had something to lose during other contentious economic debates in Congress, but the debate over the American Jobs Act carries no threat of shutdown or default. Messina and Reid are making a bet that, however the vote turns out (and, even if the bill finds 60 supporters in the Senate, it will surely die in the House), Democrats will “get caught trying” on job creation.