David Axelrod wants the American public to know that the economic mess is not President Obama's fault. That's comforting. He also thinks he has a solution to the problem. According to Axelrod, everyone should be reasonable and accept Obama's plans.
Axelrod says that the President's new jobs plan will work if Republicans go along with it.
According to the President's former chief advisor, the Obama jobs plan to be presented in September is an entirely reasonable plan with which only the most politically divisive partisans will find fault. Axelrod also says that a string of bad luck was damaging to growth this year. He listed the "Arab Spring," the earthquake in Japan and European economies as catalysts for economic gloom. Apparently, the normal course of life wrecks the Administration's economic plans.
He also suggests that the "brinksmanship" of the right-wing is what has brought the country to the edge politically in the recent debt ceiling debate. Among the solutions the president is planning to offer in the new plan are these:
- An extension of the payroll tax cut to fund transportation and infrastructure projects around the country.
- Rural economic development.
- Pivoting the national discussion toward job creation.
These are recurring themes for the Obama team. The allegations against the Republican side fail to recognize that there are two competing sets of ideas for economic growth, and betray a myopic view of politics embraced by David Axelrod that assumes capitulation equals compromise. As for the plans, pivoting discussions may be a moot idea since many long-term unemployed Americans have discussed job creation since they lost their jobs.
If Axelrod is speaking, make no mistake, there is an angle. In the heady early days of the Obama Presidency, saying that the other side was holding up progress was an acceptable strategy. After two years of Democrat control of Congress and the White House, and no positive news on the economy, laying blame is not a realistic option anymore.
If his goal is to try to recapture the debate by attacking the right, he'll need to present some real ideas this time. The country has a record on which to judge Obama now, and that record is at best spotty, at worst catastrophic to his ability to campaign, much less govern. Democrats can no longer point fingers to win.
More likely is that Axelrod is attempting to re-energize the Democratic base for the 2012 campaign, and perhaps stave off potential Democratic primary challenges. The fact is that the Democrats are now splintered, having observed a growing record of malaise in the White House. It will require all of Axelrod's best work to pull things back together.
The likelihood is that he won't.
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