President Obama is bringing his Jobs Act to “every corner of this country,” and he’s starting with the districts of House leaders, cranking up undeniable support and putting the pressure on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today just as he did Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) days ago.
Today in Columbus Ohio, in front of Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School, President Obama waved his Jobs Act bill (I didn’t see the paperclip Fox is in a tizzy about) as the crowd chanted, “Pass this bill! Pass this bill!” Heavens, that has to hurt, because the one thing Republicans will not be able to ignore is loud, public support for the American Jobs Act.
The Toledo Blade reported:
Between chants of “Pass this bill!’’ from a crowd of about 3,000, Mr. Obama said Congress should set aside 2012 election objectives to act now on his proposals.
“They’ve supported this stuff in the past,” he said. “They’re thinking they’ll maybe not do it this time because Obama is promoting it. This isn’t about giving me a win. It’s not about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. It’s about giving the American people a win…
“The next election is 14 months away, and the American people don’t have the luxury of waiting that long,’’ Mr. Obama said. “We have folks waiting week to week, paycheck to paycheck. They need action, and they need it now.’’
This visit was about a lot more than Columbus. Mr. Obama used his 16-minute speech in the home state of U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) to urge those attending and listening to call their congressmen to urge them to support the bill. Ohio is also deemed critical to the President’s own re-election in 2012.
Under the Jobs Act, the Cincinnati City School District could receive up to $61.1 million in support for education. The message Obama is sending Republicans is “I see your defiance and obstruction and raise you your approval ratings at home.” This is political poker at its best, given that under Republican leadership, Ohio schools are suffering and there’s one thing that Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans in Ohio agree upon and that’s education.
The Jobs Act would pump money into the building trades and therefore an important and suffering segment of the economy via a $30 billion to upgrade schools.
Conservative Republicans are trying to fight off Obama’s Job Act by accusing him of making “campaign” speeches (the LA Times followed Fox right on schedule). RNC chairman Reince Priebus told reporters that Obama is “(T)he consummate campaigner-in-chief.” The translation for that is that Obama is a great campaigner and the Republicans are afraid of his power with the people. Remember their accusation that he was a celebrity during 2008, right before they got their own rock star in Sarah Palin? Suddenly being a celebrity was a great thing; it’s called jealousy.
At any rate, these Republican critics are correct in a sense; the President’s speech was a campaign speech. He is campaigning for jobs for the American people, because the President knows full well from his personal experience the trappings of poverty and unlike Boehner and other Republicans, he didn’t shut off the empathy valve once elected. President Obama has always fought for the working class and poor, even when his own base didn’t want him to (see last December’s extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich in exchange for unemployment benefits extension). The President is campaigning on his own platform of being for jobs for the people. There is no shame in this, in fact, it’s something to be proud of. Republicans simply can’t answer it in terms of popular support for their absurd tax the poor and cut taxes on the job creators platform, and so they try to minimize the appeal of the Jobs Act by accusing the messenger of campaigning.
Republicans also can’t explain their own sudden reversal regarding the Jobs Act, which is tied to the plan to pay for it via tax hikes to the rich. Obviously, they can’t campaign on being against their own ideas because it would hurt the rich, so they accuse Obama of campaigning as if that were a bad thing.
Cleveland.com qoted the President as saying, “(I)f we can get folks in that city [Washington, D.C.] to stop worrying about their jobs and start worrying about your jobs.” He added, “Do you want to keep tax breaks for multimillionaires and billionaires or do you want to put teachers back to work?” The line in the sand Obama is drawing between tax breaks for the rich versus jobs for the average American is the real boogeyman for the Republicans, not campaign speeches or paperclips.
After all, the Republicans have been campaigning for the Tea Party base ever since they took their seats in 2010, so this charge is not only empty but a projection. They are catering to a misguided and well funded by the Koch Brothers minority for ideas that don’t benefit the majority of Americans and do not appeal to the majority. It’s not Obama’s fault that the Republicans have no good ideas to sell the American public, but that doesn’t stop them from whining about it.
Every time the Republicans obstruct Obama, they are campaigning. Their demagogic approach to politics leaves them no room for compromise and their base will not allow it. How else can they explain their refusal for the first time to raise the debt ceiling unless it was tied to the deficit and the subsequent market roller-coaster? The Republicans have outed their own 2012 strategy of making Obama fail no matter what; they know that if the economy starts to improve, their 2012 chances take a significant hit.
President Obama is going to be relentless with the Jobs Act. He knows the only chance it has is if the people support it and pressure the Republicans in the House into passing it. The President is doing this for the average American, not for rich Americans. Putting the working class ahead of the elite is nothing new for Obama. He’s taken hits for it from his own base.
Republicans can call it a campaign all they want, but they can’t deny its popularity and that’s what they fear the most.