Not entirely missing, of course, but close to it. Barack Obama only mentioned the word “job” three times in a speech of over 2100 words, and in none of these cases talked specifically about growing jobs for the 8 million more Americans without one since he became President. Here are the three references to jobs in the second inaugural speech:
No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. …
We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. …
We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise.
In the first two, Obama used jobs as a motif for collective action, and in the third, as a side effect of his intent to continue spending on the green-tech industry, which has resulted in such great job-creating efforts as Solyndra and A123, among many other expensive flops. It’s as if the nominal unemployment rate of 7.8% and the lowest civilian workforce ratios in over 30 years aren’t a significant social and economic problem any longer, but just a canvas on which Obama can paint his liberal agenda on every other issue. The omission is stunning, especially in a speech that had practically every liberal chanting point included.
Byron York agrees:
There were plenty of messages in Obama’s speech. He will push for immigration reform. He will push for gay rights. (Obama used the words “equal” or “equality” seven times in his speech, versus just once in his first inaugural address.) He will push on global warming. And he will keep pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into “green energy” projects that have so far yielded little energy and fewer jobs.
But the economy? Other than declaring, “An economic recovery has begun,” Obama had nearly nothing to say.
That should not be a surprise. Since last November’s election, the president’s supporters, in political office and in the press, have spent a lot of time talking about his second-term agenda. The economy somehow never tops their lists. Obama himself, when asked to name his top priorities on “Meet the Press” recently, put immigration reform at the head of the list.
In Obama’s first term, of course, with unemployment high and economic anxiety even higher, he chose to pursue national health care above all, promising repeatedly to make a “pivot” to the economy at some point in the future. That didn’t really happen until the 2012 campaign. Now, safely re-elected, Obama has put the jobs issue back on the back burner.
In 2010, Republicans made huge strides, won a lot of seats in Congress, by asking, “Where are the jobs, Mr. President?” That’s still the fundamental question today, if someone cares to ask it.
They certainly weren’t in Mr. President’s speech.