Capitol Idea: Mr. President, Focus On Jobs If You Want To Keep Yours

Have we gotten your attention, yet, Mr. President?

Just days after the Labor Department delivered a dismal employment report for May, you are now seeing new signs that your own job could be in real jeopardy.

A new Washington Post poll indicates that you’ve has lost the bounce you saw in the polls last month after ordering the mission that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden.

And even more Americans now disapprove of your handling of the economy, and that’s not the only bad news. You’re now in a dead heat in test matchups against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. It was only days ago that I predicted what kind of threat Romney represented to your re-election.

The problem is, as I’ve also noted recently, that you are talking about all the wrong things, Mr. President. You need to stop arguing with Republicans over the federal budget deficit. More than twice the number of Americans say jobs and the economy are bigger priorities than is government spending or the budget deficit.

The folks that worry about the deficit and want to cut spending are conservatives, Mr. President. They won’t vote for you next year even if you were able to balance the budget on your big toe. You are wasting time — and you aren’t listening to all of us who want to vote for you.

Say it with me, Mr. President: “Jobs.” Talk about creating jobs today, tomorrow, and every day until November 2012. Talk about how your government is helping to create jobs, even when that assistance costs federal dollars.

Last Labor Day, you proposed a big new federal investment in creating new jobs by revitalizing U.S. infrastructure like highways and airports. You’ve hardly mentioned it since. Instead, you’ve gotten caught up in that budget-deficit debate that nobody out in the country except John Boehner and the tea party seems to care about.

There’s a reason why more of us trust Democrats rather than Republicans to handle the economy. You’ve been squandering that advantage.

Change the subject.

Start talking about that infrastructure program again — at every opportunity. Even better: send a bill to enact the program to Congress. Republicans will defeat it, of course. Let them. Your campaign team and the Democratic National Committee can then shoot TV ads against everyone who voted against it asking why they want to hurt America and Americans.

You’ll fire us up again, the folks who actually would vote for you, and we’ll turn out. We’ll re-elect you, return the House to the Democrats, and save the Senate — all in one night next November 6.

You promised hope in 2008. Most us don’t see much hope in endless rounds of budget-cutting. The last few days have delivered some bad news to you and your re-election prospects. But not all is yet lost. In June of 1995, a Newsweek poll had Republican Bob Dole leading President Bill Clinton 49 percent to 40 percent. Clinton, of course, roared back and crushed Dole in 1996.

Mr. President, they say that you like to occasionally hit the “reset button” on issues. You’ll give a big speech to change the trajectory on a given issue. It’s time for you to hit that reset button on the economy and jobs. Do it now while you still have time, before the voters have the chance to hit their own reset button in 2012.


Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade. Capitol Idea is his regular column from Washington. This article was first published as Mr. President, Focus On Jobs If You Want To Keep Yours on Blogcritics.

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