The difference between talking points and a jobs agenda

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TALKING POINTS AND A JOBS AGENDA…. This is getting embarrassing.

Six weeks ago, Politico reported that the new House Republican majority realized “they’re struggling with their economic message.” Last week, Roll Call found those same Republicans are still struggling, but have a plan that includes “inserting the word ‘jobs’ into talking points.”

Today we learn that Senate Republicans believe they might be able to put things right.

While Republicans keep up the drumbeat on budget cuts, Senate GOP leaders and freshmen agree: The party needs to better make their case to voters that reining in the national debt will create jobs.

Jobs strategy has been the subject of closed-door GOP meetings and strategy sessions…. As a reminder to talk up the connection between spending cuts and jobs creation back home during next week’s recess, the Senate Republican Conference distributed a series of talking points on pocket-sized cards to the 47 GOP senators. […]

When asked if the GOP needs to be talking more about jobs rather than purely cutting spending, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) replied Thursday: “Absolutely.”

Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that going forward, the party’s priority list would be “No. 1 jobs, No. 2 debt.”

That’s nice, I suppose, but that pesky reality keeps getting in the way. Every Republican in both the House and Senate is on record supporting brutal budget cuts, all in the name of deficit reduction. There’s a lengthy list of experts, including Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and researchers at Goldman Sachs, that concluded the GOP plan would cost the economy hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The answer isn’t new talking points. The answer is a new policy — preferably one that doesn’t make unemployment worse on purpose.

In fairness, the article also notes that freshman Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), perhaps best known for his fiscal recklessness as Bush’s budget director, has been tasked with coming up with an actual policy related to job creation for his caucus. There’s no formal plan to critique just yet, but the blueprint apparently includes tax cuts, medical malpractice reform, and more offshore drilling.

Some people just never learn.