The more our job market improves, even in its weak and top-heavy way, the tougher it is for Republicans to spin what’s going on. If you listen to the GOP’s talking points and punditry, you’ll “learn” that crushing tax hikes, strangling regulations, and the albatross of Obamacare are dragging down the economy, making it impossible for employers to create jobs… except they’re still doing it. The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in six years (meaning it’s doing better than under Dubya), it’ll be the best year for jobs since the Clinton administration if the trend continues, and the job market overall has broken the record for consecutive months of private sector job increases (that’s PRIVATE, not public, so no pointing to “out of control government spending”). From the GOP philosophy’s point of view, this shouldn’t be possible, and they wish it wasn’t happening.
How do Republicans reconcile liberal-leaning reality and their shockingly wrong predictions? At least at Fox News, the answer is to stick their conservative heads down a hole and hide from the facts. As is their usual modus operandi, FoxNews.com is the one major news site that downplayed the positive employment report. MSNBC led with the news on their site in large print, as did CNN, The New York Times, and even those bastions of liberalism The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Fox News had it tucked away in fine print on the side. It’s hard to argue that they’re “fair and balanced” when they go to such extremes to avoid saying anything positive about the administration, even when it’s good news for the country. Given Fox’s history, where good news is ignored and bad news is flogged to death by repeats every hour with nasty insinuations, it’s probably safe to assume the right’s about-as-subtle-as-a-sledgehammer approach is intended to keep conservative audiences ignorant to reality and frothing about the imagined evils of the Obama administration.
House Speaker John Boehner’s statement in response to the new jobs report ran in a similar vein… in that he somehow managed to completely ignore the report. The GOP leader said, “The House has passed dozens of jobs bills that would mean more paychecks and more opportunities for middle-class families. But in order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize. From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where he can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us. Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem. For our part, we will continue to listen to and address the concerns of Americans who are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’”
It’s quite possible that Boehner never even saw the job numbers and this statement was written days ago and released to the media based on assumptions about how it would turn out and the hopes of the GOP. That begs the question, though: given the importance of jobs to the American public, is it too much to expect that Boehner pay a little attention to this? Breaking the non-response down, we find not only ignorance of the report, but reality in DC in general.
“The House has passed dozens of jobs bills.” No, John-boy, it has not. Boehner’s idea of jobs bills are bills written to benefit the oil industry pursuant to expanding drilling everywhere, or ones written to create yet more loopholes and exploits for major corporations in the imaginings that, somehow, more money for corporations will get them to (finally) start spending some of their hoarded money on employment. It hasn’t worked yet, but evidently the Speaker is a dreamer… or a shill. Here’s what the Speaker’s office needs to do, if he’s actually serious about jobs (so I’m not holding my breath): put together a jobs bill, an actual one, then have a neutral party look it over and state how many real jobs it would create (not temporary phantasms like the Keystone XL pipeline construction), and publish the results. The American public has been waiting for three years to see jobs action out of this GOP-dominated House, it’s about time actual effort from the GOP happened.
“The president must do more than criticize.” He has, O Great Orange One. The administration has sent bills that would verifiably create jobs to the House for consideration. The House has so far failed to bring them to the floor, which Mr. Boehner knows very well. The person who has done the criticizing in the main is Boehner himself, with very little else accomplished. Unless the Speaker means to say the President needs to take over the parts of the speakership that Mr. Boehner seems to find onerous, like presenting bills for votes, the ball is firmly in the GOP leader’s court.
“Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem.” Boehner is certainly one to talk about leadership; he can’t even convince his own far-right caucus to live up to deals made by him. The president, unlike and in many cases despite the Speaker, has done something about unemployment and has presented real plans to expand on this progress. He’s led the way. Boehner can’t say the same without being a pants-on-fire liar. He’s more of a cat-herder, lucky if he can get his caucus all moving the same way on the same day.
“For our part, we will continue to listen.” The next instance of the Speaker in specific or the GOP/Tea Party forces in the House listening to anyone other than themselves will be the first. They’re most certainly not listening to the populace, that’s for sure.
As for “where are the jobs?” They’re enumerated in the report; you might try reading it. They’re not the best they could be, and we have serious room for improvement on that front, but they’re more than the number to which the Speaker can truthfully lay claim.
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