Political Animal


November 07, 2011 1:10 PM When Republicans literally ignore the economy

By Steve Benen

Rep. Robert Dold, a Republican freshman representing part of the north side of Chicago, sent an email message to constituents yesterday. “I want to hear your thoughts on the important issues facing our nation today,” the congressman wrote. “Please particapte [sic] in my survey below so I know what matters to you.”

An alert reader forwarded me a copy of the survey, which asked voters, “What do you believe are the most important issues facing the federal government today?” Take a look at the options the public has to choose from.

In case the image is hard to read, the options included, debt and deficit; spending; tax reform, Medicare and Social Security, health care, immigration, protecting the environment, education, foreign affairs, national security, and other.

Congressional Republicans are often accused of ignoring job creation and economic growth, but we don’t usually see such literal examples of the problem.

Dold, by the way, won thanks to support from Grover Norquist and Rudy Giuliani in 2010, but is generally considered one of the more vulnerable GOP incumbents in 2012.

If he keeps making lists of the most important issues Congress should be working on, and forgetting to even mention jobs, Dold’s chances of re-election will likely fade even more.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • c u n d gulag on November 07, 2011 1:20 PM:

    Maybe he didn't know how to spell j-o-b-s?, and wrote g-o-b-s?

    Let's hope however he spells it, he's looking for one in January of 2013.

  • kevo on November 07, 2011 1:23 PM:

    Perhaps Dold's regressive intellectual abilities won't allow him to see the need to create federal legislation favoring job creation.

    Maybe Dold has never had to work for a living, and doesn't know what a quality job is in the first place.

    I hope this dolt of a Dold will be unseated in 2012! -Kevo

  • hedda Peraz on November 07, 2011 1:24 PM:

    You forget that 91% of Americans already particapte in working at good, high paying private sector jobs.

  • Jim H on November 07, 2011 1:43 PM:

    @hedda Peraz:

    That's not what a 9% unemployment rate means. But I suspect you already knew that...

  • Dan on November 07, 2011 1:45 PM:

    91% of Americans have high paying jobs??!! I'm sure you think 20k a year is a "high paying job"... lmao

  • square1 on November 07, 2011 1:47 PM:

    Ironically, surveys like this are exactly why I have so little tolerance for Benen's never-ending posts about how bad the GOP is for ignoring job creation: It isn't like Republicans keep their positions a secret.

    Of course the GOP is a disaster on the jobs issue. But this is why it should have been so embarrassing for the Democrats to lose the House to the GOP in 2010. How do you lose to a political opponent that refuses to address jobs when the unemployment rate is above 9%? Answer: By ignoring the issue yourself, "pivoting" to deficit reduction, and refusing to put popular legislation up for a vote and make your opponent vote against it.

    Republicans are doing exactly what they said they would do once elected: Ignore jobs, push for tax cuts, and attempt to further deregulate the economy. If you don't like it, run against them and drive them out of office.

  • jjm on November 07, 2011 2:02 PM:

    @hedda Peraz -- is this person on the level, or is it just snark? I've never seen such nonsense. Sure, 91% of the people employed all have high-paying jobs--like fun. I guess having, at age 35, a net worth of $3000 shows you to be well-paid (NYT business page today).

    As for @square 1: the GOP 'won' the 2010 midterms because EVERY media outlet proclaimed it to be inevitable, the Kochs and Rove poured massive resources into electing incompetent tea partiers, and many democrats were persuaded that somehow Obama had done nothing (though he passed more and better legislation in the first two years than others had in 8). Even the front page of the NYT declared, when the GOP took over the House, that the GOP had taken back "Congress."

    This should not repeat itself in 2012. There seems to be no similar consensus on the 'inevitability' of a GOP win, for one thing. With a 9% approval rating, I wonder just how likely the GOP would be to hold on.

    I hope, for another thing, that the enormous dumping of Koch/Rove funds into the Wisconsin recalls (which netted them less than they wanted) and that the Ohio anti-union bill vote tomorrow could (hopefully) show them they just might be wasting their money. Once people are aware... they vote accordingly.

    Richard Viguerie, the right wing strategist from past decades, claimed that the way to defeat Democrats was to 'defund them and keep them defending themselves.' Time for the Dems to turn the tables.

  • Objective Dem on November 07, 2011 2:06 PM:

    One correction is Dold does not represent any part of Chicago. He represents the "North Shore" the wealthiest suburbs in Chicago metro area.

  • T2 on November 07, 2011 2:13 PM:

    what are the results of the poll?

  • Robert Nagle on November 07, 2011 2:13 PM:

    Believe it or not, I noticed the exact same thing when trying to contact my Texas (Republican) Senator.http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm

    You needed to choose a topic from the dropdown menu, and although they had about 25 different options, Jobs/Employment/Unemployment wasn't there. But you can bet that the dropdown menu included: Abortion, Guns, Taxes (Economy), Immigration and Religion were included.

  • kevo on November 07, 2011 2:16 PM:

    jjm - as pointed out to me, by hells littlest angel, in a previous thread, reread Hedda's full name a couple times out loud, and you will most probably answer your first question in your post above. -Kevo

  • Gummitch on November 07, 2011 2:18 PM:

    They didn't leave it off by accident, they left it off because they didn't want to see the result if they included it. Republicans do not want to draw attention to the reality that jobs are the number one issue among the public. If they don't display that result, no one will know, right?

  • emjayay on November 07, 2011 2:18 PM:

    Once again, say "Hedda Peraz." Repeat until you get it.

    OK, it took me a while.

  • All that glitters is not... on November 07, 2011 2:21 PM:

    Dold represents the wealthiest suburbs in Chicago metro area as well as some of the poorest - notably North Chicago and Waukegan. Dold should find room for JOBS on his Top Ten list.

  • emjayay on November 07, 2011 2:27 PM:

    Ooops, I didn't notice kevo's comment above.

    Besides, Hedda, it's not 91% of Americans with jobs, it's 91% of those who want a job. Or, the 9% does not include those who have given up, supported by someone else, etc. Besides, all workers are not in the private sector. A substantial per centage (which I can't find) is in the public sector.

  • DRN0001 on November 07, 2011 2:28 PM:

    Off-Topic Nit: The 10th district is comprised entirely of northern suburbs of Chicago (including the "North Shore"), but nothing within the city limits of Chicago.
    (main point very valid, however).

  • DavidNOE on November 07, 2011 2:31 PM:

    I wonder of Robert Dold is the son or other relative of R. Bruce Dold, a far-right former columnist for the Chicago Tribune who for the last few years has been in charge of their editorial page? Anyone know?

  • square1 on November 07, 2011 2:34 PM:

    @jjm: democrats were persuaded that somehow Obama had done nothing (though he passed more and better legislation in the first two years than others had in 8).

    You prove my point. Democrats went into an election with an economy in the toilet and (official) unemployment near 10%. Most importantly, Democrats had done virtually nothing to address the fact that our money-driven political system was fundamentally broken and required massive structural changes. In 2008, President Obama's entire campaign was built upon the idea that, if elected, he would fight to fix the system.

    Democrats had a choice when going into the 2010 elections: First, they could acknowledge that the country remained saddled with serious problems. They could have told the public, "We know that you want change. But change is hard and takes time. Plus, the GOP is trying to stop us every step of the way." Democrats could have floated all sorts of popular bills and pointed to GOP votes when voters asked why they didn't accomplish more.

    This is essentially the message that F.D.R. and the Democrats had in 1934, when they made gains the mid-terms despite the fact that the country continued to suffer significant economic problems. This message gives voters a reason to come out and vote for Democrats even if the voters are unsatisfied with the amount of progress that Democrats had achieved.

    OR the Democrats could have choosen a rose-colored-glasses message: "Don't believe the naysayers. We have passed more progressive legislation than anyone else in decades. Look at those green-shoots! Who are you goin' to to believe, us or your lyin' eyes?" The problem with this message is that it gave unsatisfied Democrats little incentive to go to the polls: The leadership basically just told them "Stop whining, you got 90% of what you are going to get with us."

    Obviously, Democrats chose message #2 and got destroyed when disenchanted Democrats stayed home.

    Not only did message #2 give Democrats little cause for hope, but it played into the hands of the tea-party candidates. The tea-party candidates essentially argued that Democrats were on a liberal jihad, passing socialist bills left and right. Had the White House admitted that, even with control of both Houses of Congress, the Democrats had really only passed a bunch of Centrist bills, it would have been a lot harder for the tea partiers to claim that Obama was a Maoist.

    Unsurprisingly, Democrats leaders refuse to take responsibility for the fact that their failed political message cost Democrats the House.

  • desertflower on November 07, 2011 3:02 PM:

    I got a similar one from Ben Quayle. He's having a town hall tomorrow that plan on attending. Wonder if he'll charge me to see if vomit lies? Please god, pick me for a question!
    His questions were; should we drastically cut spending? Do you support the President's $448Billion "Jobs Plan" (in quotes)
    Of the following issues, which are most important to you?
    Jobs/economy,national defense,immigration,education,debt/budget,social issues,healthcare,transportation. And bearly any room for your comments....

  • Shelly on November 07, 2011 4:35 PM:

    I got one, too, from my Congressman, Andy Harris.

    Which issues do you think are important? Guns, abortion, immigration, taxes.... I took a giant permanent marker and drew J O B S across the survey and sent it back.

    The survey on his website is different, though. It allows you to pick a couple of more left-leaning views. Filling it out now.

  • Shelly on November 07, 2011 4:43 PM:

    So much for that. When I clicked 'Submit' I got an error message saying that my "request could not be processed because of an error in the form. Nothing has been saved." Guess those left-leaning selections are simply unacceptable.

  • Doug on November 07, 2011 5:03 PM:

    square1, there was nothing, except the cowardice of the House Democrats, preventing Democrats from running on a combination of your second and fourth paragraphs. It basically would have been "We've managed to do all THIS (which they had), but we still need to do THIS"; including, among other things, government spending to help the economy.
    It wouldn't have been hard, but many Democrats tried to avoid even mentioning the ACA among their accomplishments, thus casting suspicion in voters' minds about ANY Democratic claim. There WERE plenty of "green shoots" in 2009-10, which is, I imagine, one reason Democrats didn't run on "Jobs, jobs, jobs!" as did the Rpublicans, who didn't have anyhting else to run on.
    What destroyed any possible positive effect of those "shoots" on the economy has been the Republicans' determination to throttle any and all economic growth. Minus that sabotage, one would have expected by now to have seen unemployment declining to 8% and continuing, albeit slowly, further downward. Certainly not an optimum scenario, but better than the actual one with unemployment remaining stuck at 9%.
    That Democrats, and others, have been slow in realizing Republicans are willing to destroy the economic well-being of an entire country for their own political ends is entirely natural. We, as a country, haven't seen any such political activity since the 1850-60s.
    If I recall correctly, however, it didn't turn out too well for THAT bunch either...

  • ron byers on November 08, 2011 2:32 PM:

    My congressman, Sam Graves, sent me the same survey. Apparently the survey was put together by someone other than Congessman Dold.

    What I don't understand is why the DNC isn't sending out their own mailer pointing out the congressional disconnect with the issue.

  • Grover Syck on November 08, 2011 8:03 PM:

    You just cannot fix stupid, and this shows stupid in the extreme.