While touring North Carolina today to talk about jobs, President Obama not only touted his own jobs plan, but at one point mocked Senate Republicans for their proposed, “Real American Jobs Act.”
Video from C-SPAN:
Here’s the transcript from the White House:
THE PRESIDENT: Keep in mind — keep in mind, Asheville, this is the kind of bill containing the kinds of proposals that in the past have received support from Democrats and Republicans. It’s completely paid for — by asking our wealthiest citizens, folks making more than a million dollars a year, to pay their fair share.
Independent economists — not my economists, but independent economists — have said this jobs bill would create nearly 2 million jobs. That’s not my opinion. It’s not the opinion of folks who work for me. It’s the opinion of people who evaluate these kinds of things for a living. It says this bill will help put people back to work and give our economy a boost right away.
But apparently none of this matters to the Republicans in the Senate — because last week they got together to block this bill. They said no to putting teachers and construction workers back on the job. They said no to rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports. They said no to cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses when all they’ve been doing is cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: They said no to helping veterans find jobs.
Essentially, they said no to you — because it turns out one poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. (Applause.) So 63 percent of Americans support the jobs bill that I put forward; 100 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against it. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?
THE PRESIDENT: No, it does not.
Now, it turns out that the Republicans have a plan, too. I want to be fair. They call — they put forward this plan last week. They called it the “Real American Jobs Act.” The “real one” — that’s what they called it — just in case you were wondering. (Laughter.) So let’s take a look at what the Republican American jobs act looks like. It turns out the Republican plan boils down to a few basic ideas: They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: They want to drill more.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: And they want to repeal health care reform.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s their jobs plan.
So let’s do a little comparison here. The Republican plan says that what’s been standing in the way between us and full employment are laws that keep companies from polluting as much as they want. On the other hand, our plan puts teachers, construction workers, firefighters and police officers back on the job.
Their plan says the big problem we have is that we helped to get 30 million Americans health insurance. They figure we should throw those folks off the health insurance rolls; somehow that’s going to help people find jobs.
Obama was correct to mock the Senate Republicans for offering up another empty political gesture instead of policy. Since the day Obama took office, Republicans have embarked on a boom or bust strategy of blocking every piece of legislation that the president has proposed. The GOP goal is to keep the country locked in a paralysis of economic misery. The problem with the Republican strategy is that they are only covering half of their basis.
By not proposing any substantive legislation of their own, Republicans have left Obama with a giant opening. The Republican presidential candidates should be on the campaign trail debating how and how many jobs they will create. Jobs will be the central issue of the 2012 election, but the Republican Party is holding a primary campaign where the issue is never discussed.
Obama should be the candidate who being criticized for not creating jobs. Instead, the president has become the candidate with the most complete job creation plan out there. While the Republican campaign all sit around trying to think of different ways to say cut taxes on the wealthy, decrease regulations, repeal Obamacare, and do what George W. Bush, Obama has taken initiative.
The Republican Party is trying to unseat an incumbent president by not talking about the biggest issue in the campaign. If the Republican nominee runs a campaign based on not raising taxes on the rich and corporations, repealing regulations, and getting rid of Obamacare, they will lose. If the nominee has nothing to say besides Obama has done a lousy job, they will lose.
The lesson that John Kerry’s 2004 campaign should have taught every future candidate is criticizing the incumbent is not enough. Voters want to know what the challenger will do differently. The Republicans did Obama a huge favor by not passing the American Jobs Act. The 2012 Obama campaign is going to be about jobs, jobs, jobs. The speeches in North Carolina were just a taste of what 2012 is going to be about.
Until the GOP can seriously discuss creating jobs, Obama will continue to have the upper hand.