Invention by Republican: Priebus Spins Positive Jobs Report

Reince Priebus - photo by Gage Skidmore

Invention by Republican is a regular series on The Left Call, highlighting factually inaccurate and hyperbolic narratives by Republicans, conservatives and right-wing ideologues.

With nothing constructive or positive to run on, Republicans have fallen back to a strategy that works well inside the conservative bubble. Lying. Well ok, they never actually walked away from that strategy in the first place, but will it work in the general election?

As reported last week on The Left Call, the January 2012 jobs report showed continued strong private sector job growth and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%. Yes, the economy is still soft and the unemployment rate is still too high, but the economy has seen two years of private sector job growth with well over 3 million jobs created. Could anybody call that a failure? Yes, says Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus in a press release from last week:

“While today’s jobs report brings welcome news of lower unemployment, far too  many Americans are still without work.  Our economy remains unacceptably  weak, and families across the country are still struggling to make ends meet,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Three years ago yesterday, President Obama said that if he didn’t have the  economy fixed ‘in three years,’ his presidency would ‘be a one-term  proposition.’ Today’s unemployment numbers remind us that our economy is far  from fixed. That, by the president’s own standard, should make him a  one-term president.

“After three years in office, Barack Obama has failed to produce the economic  recovery he promised. His endless pursuit of regulations, mandates, taxes  and deficits made economic recovery significantly more difficult.

“Our country desperately needs a change in direction. We need a  president who will fight for hard-working taxpayers, not just campaign donors  and his own job. As the campaigner-in-chief travels around the country,  he’s making countless promises for a second term. Today’s jobs report reminds us  that he could not even keep the promises from his first term.”

I love the part where Priebus uses the President’s own standard as proof that Obama doesn’t deserve a second term. Since when do Republicans use the standards of the Democratic Party or a Democratic President? As we know, Republicans will use whatever tools necessary to drive home the narrative.

What is the standard to declare the economy “fixed”? What are the metrics? As I said above, the economy is still soft, but nearly everything is pointing in the right direction. All you have to do is look at a chart like this to see the direction we are moving in, and that chart doesn’t even include December 2011 or January 2012.

Forget about “regulations, mandates, taxes”, what is Priebus talking about when he says “endless pursuit of…deficits”? Who the hell pursues deficits? Really Priebus? This is the best you can do? You can disagree on the size of government and scope of government and levels of revenue and spending, but you look silly when you say a sitting President is on an endless pursuit of deficits. But I know why Priebus and other Republicans say this, it’s because Republicans don’t understand how to fix a bad economy. It takes government spending. Families and businesses cut back spending in a bad economy. Government is the remaining entity that is capable of stepping in to get the economy moving again. Because Republicans refuse to accept the role of government in an economic downturn, they must concoct another explanation for the large budget deficit.

There is one way we could start tackling the deficit and not harm the economy. Maybe if congressional Republicans didn’t obstruct nearly everything we might be able to raise Mitt Romney’s tax rate from 13.9% to something a bit more respectable and honorable when you think about all the people in poverty in this country who struggle to get by each day. Maybe if we could get a little more tax revenue it would help to cut the deficit. In fact, if congress does NOTHING over the next few years, most of the deficit will disappear due to expiring tax breaks. Ironically, the “do nothing” Republicans in congress won’t allow that to happen. We might even get another threat of a government shut down before they let the Bush (and now Obama) tax cuts expire.

Priebus closes by saying Obama couldn’t keep promises from his first term. How about health care reform? How about repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? How about the fact that he adverted a second Great Depression? Let’s not forget how dire a situation this country was in. Let’s not forget Republican John Boehner crying on the floor of the House, begging fellow members to pass TARP. You know, the bank bailout bill that Republicans now blame Obama for even though it passed congress in 2008 and President Bush signed it into law. I know, details and facts. Not a top priority for Republicans.

Given the circumstances, Obama has done as good a job as anyone could have expected.

Need a refresher on Obama’s accomplishments? 15 Obama Achievements Amid Relentless Republican Obstructionism

dks

photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Invention by Republican

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