The Republican National Committee is pushing this Yahoo article this afternoon, headlined, “With Obama doing little on jobs, allies grow frustrated.” The RNC no doubt liked the headline, but should have read the article the party is promoting — it’s about the White House facing pressure from the left to pursue economic stimulus “to jolt the economy.”
“[T]here is no political will to do anything about the [jobs] situation,” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote today. “Far from being ready to spend more on job creation, both parties agree that it’s time to slash spending — destroying jobs in the process — with the only difference being one of degree.”
Christina Romer, who stepped down last year as President Obama’s top economics adviser, told The Lookout earlier this week that “the U.S. economy needs help,” and called for more stimulus spending and business tax cuts to encourage hiring.
Even some Democrats on Capitol Hill are losing patience. “I’m not sure what’s gained by giving any oxygen to the incorrect idea that fiscal austerity” — that is, spending cuts — “right now would be expansionary,” a senior Democrat told The New Republic magazine.
And a post on the website of the Campaign for America’s Future, a leading progressive activist group, is entitled: “If the president won’t do something about jobs, who will?”
The same article cites economists rejecting the Republican Party line, concluding that spending cuts “will cause the economy to further contract.”
Why would the Republican National Committee promote an article that effectively slams the president for being too conservative? Why would the RNC disseminate a piece that says the Republican economic agenda would do more harm than good?
Because it’s in the RNC’s interests to push the line that the White House is “doing little on jobs,” even if that means aligning the RNC with Krugman, Romer, and other progressive voices.
If President Obama sticks to his current course and negotiates with Republicans on debt reduction, Republicans will slam him for ignoring unemployment (which, incidentally, is what GOP officials are demanding he do). If President Obama changes course and focuses on job creation, Republicans would slam him for supporting “government spending.”
And if President Obama really got behind an ambitious jobs agenda, Republicans would slam him not only for being a big-government liberal, but also for failing when Congress rejects his plans.
The moral of the story: Republicans are going to attack anyway. Even if Obama does what Republicans want him to do, the president will be on the receiving end of an RNC offensive. Heads they win; tails he loses.
With that in mind, if the White House is looking for the avenue with the best political upside, maybe the smartest move would be to focus on job creation? And when Republicans attack — as is inevitable — he can use it against them?