Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 4, 2009

BLAMING THE FUTURE FOR THE PAST.... Every month, we get a new report on unemployment, and every month the various political players put their own spin on what they'd like the public to believe. When it comes to Republicans, the worse the results, the more aggressive the finger-pointing.

But with today's report offering better-than-expected news, GOP leaders seem to have been caught off guard. For example, John Boehner's economic arguments are consistently ridiculous, but today broke new ground.

"After yet another month of job losses, it's clear that one question President Obama is sure to get on his 'listening tour' is: 'Where are the jobs'?" says House Minority Leader John Boehner, in a statement.

While the Republican from Ohio says the decrease in the unemployment rate is encouraging, he says "anyone who views today's report as cause for celebration is out of touch with the American people, especially when Washington Democrats' policies -- whether it's a government takeover of health care, a national energy tax, or 'card check' -- are already costing jobs and will pile even more debt on our kids and grandkids."

Um, no. In order for a policy to be "already costing jobs," the policy has to exist first. Boehner wants to blame health care reform, cap and trade, and EFCA for job losses, but health care reform, cap and trade, and EFCA haven't passed yet.

In Grown-Up Land, job losses are the result of a deep recession, which was the result of economic policies John Boehner supported. He has a few rhetorical choices here -- my personal preference would be to hear Boehner apologize for having been so wrong, so often -- but blaming legislation that hasn't passed for job losses that have already occurred isn't one of them. As Chris Harris put it, it's akin to saying, "I have heartburn because I'm considering eating tacos tonight."

Speaking of Republican statements, I'm wondering if the Republican National Committee is on vacation or something.

On the first Friday of every month, at 8:30 a.m. (ET), the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the monthly job numbers. And on the first Friday of every month, by around 9 a.m., the RNC has a statement blaming President Obama for not having fixed the recession he inherited fast enough. We saw this last month, and the month before that, and the month before that, and the month before that, and so on.

Today, however, the RNC hasn't said a word*. In retrospect, maybe Boehner should have followed the RNC's lead.

Correction: It appears the RNC did, in fact, issue a bland and largely incoherent statement on the job numbers. The party did not, however, post it to the RNC website, and was far less aggressive than it's been this year in pushing its press statement.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments


gop 2010: praying for the worst....for freedom

Posted by: mr. irony on December 4, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

John Boehner; Coppertone deaf as usual.

Posted by: Bill on December 4, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

What has Boehner done for us lately? Where are his proposed policies? Why can't he work to offer us a viable alternative to President Obama's economic team that is trying to deal with the economic devastation left by the previous Republican administarion? Why must he open his mouth and continue whining?

Boehner and his Republican cohorts have now resorted to that age-old political strategy of throwing as much shit they can against the wall in hopes of some of it sticking! Boehner has begun to smell like the materials of his choice, and I would suggest to him his shit is not art! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 4, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, I get a headache when I consider listening to John Boehner.

Posted by: DR on December 4, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

There you go again, Steve, using that so-called "logic." Not only do leaked e-mails question the usefulness of "logic," but a search of my concordance turns up nary a mention of it in the (holy word of God) Bible.

Posted by: DAY on December 4, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

While I hate to defend Republicans, and I don't think Boehner is right in this case, I think it is prefectly reaosnable to say that business uncertainty about future policies could cause them to decrease their hiring actvities now.

The correct anaology is not heartburn today because we are considering a burrito tomorrow, but heartburn today because of, say, anxiety about a hugely important and potentially unpleasant meeting tomorrow. I find that physiologically reasonable (whether it ever happens is another matter, but I don't find it ridiculous).

Again, I think that in these cases Minority leader is off his rocker, but in the interest of intellectual rigor, I think we should all admit that the form of the argument as a general matter is not inherently nonsensical. IN this specific case I agree it doesn't work, but it could. Imagine a law with a decent chance of passing that would put tobacco alongside heroine as a controlled substance. I would not expect tobacco companies to be hiring alot today if they thought that there was a chance of that law passing tomorrow (they might contract out a lot of lobbying services, but they wouldn't be hiring a lot of new line workers).

Posted by: Doug on December 4, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Big lie theory of gov't. They did it while in office, why should they change now? We all "know" the recession is really an Democrat-Acorn conspiracy ;)

Posted by: golack on December 4, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner and gang are too busy pissing in the wind. I almost feel sorry for these guys knowing unemployment will only drop further over the coming months.....awe shucks, who am I kidding? I don't feel sorry for them one bit.

Posted by: mike from Arlington on December 4, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

"In order for a policy to be "already costing jobs,"

I agree with Doug at 12:53:"...it is prefectly reaosnable to say that business uncertainty about future policies could cause them to decrease their hiring actvities now.

The uncertainty problem was mentioned in one of the questions to Obama yesterday.

Much of the uncertainty is generated by the Republican claims about how expensive health care reform is going to be and how much cap and trade is going to cost.

As long as the MSM continues to treat Republican claims as reasonable it is rational for businessmen to be uncertain.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on December 4, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

A little bit of good news, it seems like the inquiry into the Ensign affair is moving ahead.

Posted by: JS on December 4, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Doug your statements would be eminently flawles except for one little problem. Have you ever read ,heard, or been exposed to every piece of claptrap and flummery that's been ejaculated from Boner's mouth?

Posted by: Gandalf` on December 4, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, the RNC issued their statement probably about 9ish. Someone posted it earlier in a diary at another site.

"More than 11,000 Americans lost their jobs in the month of November, meaning more than 2.8 million Americans have lost their jobs since the stimulus passed, and the national unemployment rate remains in double digits. If President Obama is truly interested in job creation, then he should stop campaigning for reelection, stop pushing 'Stimulus II,' and start working with Republicans on common-sense conservative solutions. "

"common-sense conservative solutions"? Whatever.

Posted by: lkt on December 4, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

it's just plain stupid to whine about this. Republican or Democrat, the sitting President owns the economy in the eyes of the public. This does not EVER change, regardless of which party holds the executive. Republicans now are just hitting at a point that they know is effective, as they should. As Democrats did when the economy tanked and Bush was in charge. It has ever been thus.

The sign on the desk says the buck stops here. If you're President, the economy is yours. Regardless.

Posted by: passing thru on December 4, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

it's just plain stupid to whine about this.

It's not whining to point out the error in Boehner's approach of blaming not Obama's supposed inaction-the usual MO in these situations-but instead blaming actions he hasn't taken yet.

Obama and his allies can't defend themselves against a general, "we elected you and things aren't better" whine, but they sure as heck can and should defend themselves against a stupid argument such as, "things you might do in the future have wrecked everything now."

Posted by: howie on December 4, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

To be honest, its not just the Republicans. Go read the messages posted on Salon and Huffington Post. I think people are really pissed that the job losses weren't 200,000. Just incredible negativity.

Posted by: SaintZak on December 4, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I moved to NC in 2000, at that time they had a big furniture making industry, lots of textile mills and factories etc. Today they are all closed the jobs having gone to China. All that time NC has been a republican leaning state, remember Libby Dole? I cannot remember ever hearing them complaining about the job losses, which all happened on Bush's watch. Now everyone is asking why Obama has not been able to create jobs (this in 10 months) Where were they for the last 8 years. It will never be possible for those factories to re-open, so this is going to be very difficult for Obama, I just hope everyone can give him time to get something done because if the repubs get back in the only answer is tax cuts and forget healthcare!

Posted by: JS on December 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a job creation solution: since most of the corporations which employ the most "Americans" have a right-leaning bias to them, couldn't they just go out and hire a bunch of people and take them off the unemployment rolls? The $ they spend on lobbying and buying votes from Congress could be spent on "Real American" jobs. Once hired, the Masters of the Universe could figure out how to train and employ these people. All that money paid in salaries/wages could flow back into the economy as purchases of goods and services, provided by those same employees. How hard is that to figure out?

And, speaking of Healthcare: "they" keep talking about rising costs; who is raising the costs? Charge the same or less for services, reduce the profit margins and pay the CEOs less money. Voila: the cost of healthcare is reduced.

SIMPLE!

Posted by: st john on December 4, 2009 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

this whole republican special reality reminds me of last fall when the stock market was crashing in October and they were trying to blame it on Obama. LOL

Posted by: andy on December 4, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

The whole song from the title is about Ireland and esp. Northern Ireland in the late 1980's. Its theme has strong application now -

They say the skies of Lebanon are burning
Those mighty cedars bleedin’ in the heat
They're showing pictures on the television
Women and children dying in the street
And we're still at it in our own place
Still tryin’ to reach the future through the past
Still tryin’ to carve tomorrow from a tombstone...
But Hey! Don't listen to me! this wasn't meant to be no sad song .
We've heard too much of that before 
Right now I only want to be here with you Till the morning dew comes falling And I wanna take you to the island  Trace your footprints in the sand 
And in the evening when the sun goes down We'll make love to the sound of the ocean
They're raising banners over by the markets 
Whitewashing slogans on our shipyard walls 
Witchdoctors praying for a mighty showdown No way our holy flag is gonna’ fall 
Up here we sacrifice our children To feed the worn-out dreams of yesterday And teach them dying will lead us into glory...
But Hey! Don't listen to me! cos this wasn't meant to be no sad song .
I've sung too much of that before 
Right now I only want to be with you Till the morning dew comes falling I wanna take you to the island And trace your footprints in the sand 
And in the evening when there’s no one around We'll make love to the sound of the ocean
Now I know us plain folks don't see all the story 
And I know this peace and love's just copping out 
And I guess these young boys dying in the ditches Is just what being free is all about 
And how this twisted wreckage down on main street Will bring us all together in the end 
And we'll go marching down the road to freedom... Freedom……. Freedom

Posted by: Easa Dara on December 4, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Doug at 12:53:"...it is prefectly reaosnable to say that business uncertainty about future policies could cause them to decrease their hiring actvities now.

perhaps, but most businesses look at conditions and needs now and in the near term in making decisions about hiring. i'm going to delay hiring additional staff now when i see prospects of making a profit because congress may pass a law six months from now that may or may not affect my business? i don't thinks so. i own a small business and i am active in the local business community and i have yet to hear ANYONE express concern about health care reform, card check, or cap and trade in context of hiring.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on December 4, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Not only is the bad news always Obama's fault but the good news is really bad news, which by default gets blamed on Obama.

The party of individual responsibility strikes again -- nothing is E-V-E-R their fault.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on December 4, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

"I have heartburn because I'm considering eating tacos tonight."

Bad analogy Steve - people know that tacos, (especially the cheap, greasy kind) WILL give you heartburn.

So you're saying that these policies WILL result in job loss, they just haven't done so yet.

Think this stuff through before you write.

Posted by: sidewinder on December 4, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

maybe boner has doc's deloran in an undisclosed location

Posted by: dj spellchecka on December 4, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

"...commonsense conservative..." Rep. Boehner quoted by lkt @ 1:12 PM.

Oxymoron alert!

Posted by: Doug (not the 12:53 PM one) on December 4, 2009 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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