Obama’s policies haven’t been enacted

Remember this? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a rare outburst of candor after the 2010 midterm elections explained what Republican priorities ought to be. Not the economy. Not jobs. Denying Obama a second term. How best to do that? As Paul Krugman wrote in his column today:

Think of it as a two-part strategy. First, obstruct any and all efforts to strengthen the economy, then exploit the economy’s weakness for political gain. If this strategy sounds cynical, that’s because it is. Yet it’s the G.O.P.’s best chance for victory in November.

Over and over and over again, we’ve heard Republicans say Obama’s policies have failed. That was especially true when the jobs numbers for August came in at a disappointing 96,000 net gain.

“After 43 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, it is clear that President Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises and his policies haven’t worked,” Romney said.

That is, of course, demonstrably untrue. When Obama took office, the nation was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. August was the 31st straight month of private-sector job gains. While it’s true that 96,000 new jobs isn’t good enough, it’s also true that August’s disappointing numbers beat George W. Bush’s median monthly job growth of 95,000 a month.

But the other fact is that most of Obama’s policies haven’t been enacted. He got the stimulus passed, and that had a clear and quick impact. But as the stimulus money ran out, the European debt crisis dampened the global economy and Republicans’ inexcusable brinksmanship on the debt ceiling all took a toll on the recovery. Obama offered up a series of policy proposals, including the American Jobs Act, which credible economists say could have created as many as 2 million additional jobs in 2012 had it passed last year.

As with most of Obama’s policies, there was nothing radical in the act. It contained a mix of tax cuts for small businesses and infrastructure spending – both things Republicans ordinarily favor. It would have provided aid to states to prevent the layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters.

House Republicans have refused to even consider it, and Senate Republicans filibustered it. Remember McConnell’s words in the clip above. Remember what congressional Republicans stated priority has been.

So the next time you hear a Republican claim that President Obama’s policies failed, ask how his policies could have failed if Congress never implemented them?

The current faltering recovery could be doing much better if Obama’s policies had been put in place. They were not, because Congress got in the way. Republicans would rather have a bad economy right now than a good one because it makes winning back the White House more likely. That’s more important to them than the millions of people who remain out of work. Americans should never forget that. Democrats should be running that McConnell clip nonstop between now and election day.

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