There are many scenarios where diversion is utilized in sports, war, or politics to conceal a group or individual’s real agenda, or to distract attention from an incident that may prove awkward if observers discovered the truth. In politics, instead of transparency, a candidate or party that has ulterior motives other than what is in the public’s best interest will often use hot-button topics to divert the public’s attention and it is a favorite tactic of Republicans whether there is an impending election or not. During George W. Bush’s administration, whenever questions arose regarding the wisdom of invading Iraq, it was standard procedure to elevate terror alerts to focus the population’s attention on an impending attack. In the race for the White House, Republicans are accusing President Obama of using Willard Romney’s failure to produce more than two years of tax returns and his departure from Bain Capital as a distraction from the economy and jobs. However, the truth is Republicans, and Romney, probably welcome the distraction because when it comes to jobs, they are as clueless today as they have been for the past three years, but specifically the past year-and-a-half.
With renewed focus and attention on Romney’s tax returns and lies regarding his tenure at Bain Capital, conservative pundits and Republican politicians spent the past few days assailing the President for attempting to distract the public from the real issues during this campaign, particularly jobs. Yesterday Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said President Obama is not addressing the most pressing concern of Virginia residents because his record on job creation is a total failure. As usual for a Republican, McDonnell is a liar and he is distracting the public’s attention from his party’s failure to create one job over the past three years.
When Republicans campaigned in the lead-up to the midterm elections, they promised their highest priority was “jobs, jobs, jobs,” and they swept into power in several state legislatures and the House of Representatives. It is important to note that Republicans’ perpetual plan to create jobs is cutting taxes for the wealthy and eliminating regulations. At the start of the 112th Congress, Republicans had just secured a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and had successfully blocked attempts at new regulations so it seemed plausible that they would immediately get down to the business of job creation. Instead, they began a protracted war on women’s rights, made Draconian job-killing spending cuts, and obstructed Democratic attempts to create jobs. Now, Republicans are talking about jobs and the unemployment rate, but that is all they are doing; talking, and proposing the same prescription for creating jobs they have parroted for the past eleven years.
Many Americans would love for Republicans to be free of the Romney distraction so they could begin asking the real question Republicans are desperate to avoid; where are the jobs? It is not like President Obama failed to deliver several proposals to get Americans back to work or tax incentives for businesses, large and small, to reinvest in American jobs, and he has spent no small amount of time urging Congress to pass his jobs plans. During the President’s 2011 State of the Union address, he spent 80% of his speech on job creation, and in September of the same year he addressed a joint session of Congress to urge legislators to pass the American Jobs Act that would put one-million Americans back to work. President Obama is still urging Congress to pass the AJA and last month he said, “if Congress decides despite all that they aren’t going to do anything about this simply because it’s an election year, then they should explain to the American people why.” Republicans can only explain the unemployment rate is hovering around 8% and there is still no action on the AJA.
In March of this year in a rare bipartisan effort the Senate passed a highway transportation bill that would create 2 million new construction jobs and save about a million more, but the bill languished on Speaker of the House John Boehner’s desk until it was finally passed and signed into law at the beginning of July. Part of Boehner’s reason for holding up the transportation bill was inclusion of the KeystoneXL pipeline that was omitted, and last week Willard Romney touted the pipeline’s construction as his most concrete job creation idea, but at most the pipeline will create about 1,400 jobs over a two-year period. Romney’s other grand plan for creating jobs is the Republican standard of monumental tax cuts for the wealthy and targeting environmental regulations for elimination. The problem with Romney’s plan is that it mirrors George W. Bush’s economic plans that created enormous wealth for the rich, increased the deficit, and created the fewest jobs in decades.
Admittedly, Romney’s tax and Bain problems are important issues going into a general election, but they are serving Republicans who do not want to seriously discuss plans to create jobs. Yesterday President Obama spoke at a rally in Ohio and promoted the American Jobs Act and reiterated Romney’s tax cut plans that have never created jobs at the same time Governor McDonnell was assailing the President for not talking about jobs and the economy. This President has talked about nothing except jobs for the past two years while Republicans in Congress obstructed his job creation plans and complained Obama was not creating jobs, and now they have shifted the conversation to the distraction of Romney’s record as the President’s attempt to avoid talking about jobs. Actually, the last thing Republicans want to talk about is jobs or the President’s record of job creation because to do so is political suicide. The President’s stimulus created over three million jobs and saving the auto industry created well over a million more and Republicans obstructed those programs every step of the way. When they did get the majority they wanted in the House, replete with an extension of the Bush tax cuts, they created zero jobs, waged a war on women, and attempted to kill millions of jobs with Draconian spending cuts that John Boehner said was too bad. Republicans have slashed 600,000 public sector jobs and Romney did talk about teacher, firefighter, and police jobs, but it was how to kill them, not create them.
Republicans do not like talking about jobs, but they love discussing the unemployment rate when they are criticizing the President, but that is all they have done; talk. Their assault on contraception distracted the public’s attention away from their inability and reluctance to create jobs, and their diversionary defense of DOMA is a waste of taxpayer money, and time they could be creating jobs. Now, they are back talking about the unemployment rate while they allow a million new jobs to sit idle as they begin their fight to extend Bush tax cuts they claim will give job creators incentive to start hiring. President Obama is right; Republicans owe the American people an explanation as to why they refuse to create jobs, and stop talking about the unemployment rate or more tax cuts for the wealthy. On some level, one cannot help think that many Republicans in Congress are happy the Romney problem is distracting Americans’ attention away from their inability to create jobs because if the public took stock of Republican’s requirements to put Americans back to work, they would discover they got the tax cuts they wanted (and more), concrete jobs plans, and all they can do is cite the unemployment rate to further distract the American people from the real problem; their inability and cluelessness to create jobs.