The Obama administration sent out its surrogates to the Sunday news shows to argue for the ObamaCare bill that turned Massachusetts red — and to argue that their action had saved a lot of jobs. The problem with this new offensive was that none of them could agree on just how many jobs they’d “saved or created.” In three separate appearances, Obama administration officials offered three different numbers, and Republicans caught them at it:
Axelrod, on CNN’s State of the Union: “But understand that, in this recession that began at the beginning of 2007, we’ve lost 7 million jobs. Now, the Recovery Act the president passed has created more than — or saved more than 2 million jobs. But against 7 million, you know, that — that is — it is cold comfort to those who still are looking.”
Jarrett, on NBC’s Meet the Press: “The Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs. There are schoolteachers and firemen and— and— teachers all across our country, policemen, who have jobs today because of that recovery act. We’re investing in infrastructure. We’re investing in public education so that our kids can compete going forth into the next— generation.”
Gibbs, on “Fox News Sunday”: “Well, chris, let’s take for instance the example you just used of the stimulus package. We had four quarters of economic regression in terms of growth, right? Just last quarter, we finally saw the first positive economic job growth in more than a year. Llargely as a result of the recovery plan that’s put money back into our economy, that saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”
Oddly enough, Jarret probably has the number correct, but not the job types. The block grants in Porkulus allowed states to paper over budget gaps that should have prompted legislatures to curtail spending, which would have eliminated thousands and thousands of positions in various bureaucracies. The police officers, firefighters, and teachers would have been the last jobs at risk, as reporting across the country on Porkulus fables showed.
Meanwhile, David Axelrod insisted that ObamaCare needs to pass in order to address the “national emergency”:
“The Republican strategy in the Senate is to turn 50 into 60, in other words no longer do you need a majority to carry the day in the Senate. You need 60 votes for everything because the Republicans are filibustering every single bill,” he said. “We need to call that out, and they need to explain to the American people whether throwing a wrench into everything at a time of national emergency is the appropriate policy. They want to win and election and take us back to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.”
The answer to Massachusetts, he said, is not “to be timid.”
“If we don’t move forward and we don’t produce something, the American people are going to believe the caricature that was drawn by the Republicans and the health insurance industry. I think that’s a terrible mistake,” Axelrod said.
“Pass the bill and when people realize that they have new power relative to their insurance companies, when they realize if they’re a senior citizen they’ve got new coverage on prescription drugs, no more huge doughnut hole, when people realize there’s a cap on their out of pocket expenses, let the proponents of health insurance reform say ‘No, we want to take that away from you.’ That would be good politics.”
David Plouffe makes essentially the same argument in today’s Washington Post — that voters have been misled into believing that a massive government intrusion into the health-care sector will be a disaster. Plouffe manages to call voters stupid and smart in the same column, which is rather amazing even for this administration’s political campaigning:
Pass a meaningful health insurance reform package without delay. Americans’ health and our nation’s long-term fiscal health depend on it. I know that the short-term politics are bad. It’s a good plan that’s become a demonized caricature. But politically speaking, if we do not pass it, the GOP will continue attacking the plan as if we did anyway, and voters will have no ability to measure its upside. If we do pass it, dozens of protections and benefits take effect this year. Parents won’t have to worry their children will be denied coverage just because they have a preexisting condition. Workers won’t have to worry that their coverage will be dropped because they get sick. Seniors will feel relief from prescription costs. Only if the plan becomes law will the American people see that all the scary things Sarah Palin and others have predicted — such as the so-called death panels — were baseless. We own the bill and the health-care votes. We need to get some of the upside. (P.S.: Health care is a jobs creator.)
And in the very next paragraph:
We need to show that we not just are focused on jobs but also create them. Even without a difficult fiscal situation, the government can have only so much direct impact on job creation, on top of the millions of jobs created by the president’s early efforts to restart the economy. There are some terrific ideas that we can implement, from tax credits for small businesses to more incentives for green jobs, but full recovery will happen only when the private sector begins hiring in earnest. That’s why Democrats must create a strong foundation for long-term growth by addressing health care, energy and education reform. We must also show real leadership by passing some politically difficult measures to help stabilize the economy in the short term. Voters are always smarter than they are given credit for. We need to make our case on the economy and jobs — and yes, we can remind voters where Republican policies led us — and if we do, without apology and with force, it will have impact.
Only when they agree with David Plouffe, apparently. And this is just plain Orwellian:
During the campaign, who will be whispering in Republican ears? Watching GOP leaders talking about health care the past few days, it was easy to imagine lobbyists and big health insurance executives leaning over their shoulders, urging death to health insurance reform.
You mean like they did with Democrats to get a federal mandate to buy their insurance? Or when the unions got an exemption from the taxes that will get imposed on everyone else’s Cadillac tax? That particular accusation takes a truckload of chutzpah.
Besides, the White House once again misreads what people see as the national emergency. It isn’t the health-care system that wins support even from the majority of the uninsured — it’s the collapse of the job market. The health-care sector isn’t going to replace the 3.4 million jobs lost in the first year of the Obama administration. Voters in Massachusetts didn’t get angry because Congress hadn’t yet passed ObamaCare; they specifically sent the message that they wanted it dumped and to have Congress focus on the true national emergency. And Barack Obama signaled loud and clear today that he cares a lot more about pushing his radical agenda for government intervention than in listening to the voters.