David Axelrod’s out doing the hard sell on Barack Obama’s jobs bill — and by “hard sell,” I mean approaching it with all of the honesty of your average used-car salesman pitching the last AMC Gremlin in existence. ABC’s Devin Dwyer reports on Axelrod’s pressure on Congress to pass the bill:
As President Obama’s jobs bill heads toward its first test vote in the Senate, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod says that members of Congress who oppose the measure willingly defy a majority of American voters.
“Since introducing the American Jobs Act, the American people have rallied around President Obama’s call for Congress to pass this plan,” Axelrod wrote in a memo to “interested parties” distributed by the campaign Monday night. “The more people know about the American Jobs Act; the more they hear the President talking about it; the more they want Congress to pass the plan.”
Axelrod cites recent polling data to argue that support for the bill has gained momentum over the past month, ratcheting up pressure on members — including Democrats — some of whom seem prepared to vote “no.”
ABC notes that a slim majority in the last WaPo/ABC poll — you know, that poll series with significantly bad sampling — supported Obama’s jobs plan. Of course, ever since he introduced the $447 billion copy of Porkulus I, Obama’s approval ratings have slid downward, especially on the economy. Thanks in part to his switch to class warfare rhetoric, Gallup’s September rating for Obama tied the worst monthly rating of his presidency … which came in August. The new rating set featured a 30% approval rating from independents.
Not too surprisingly, then, Congress isn’t exactly anxious to pass Obama’s bill, but don’t blame House Republicans. If Axelrod wants to sell his boss’ plan, he needs to start pitching members of his own party in the Senate:
Democratic leaders in the Senate are scrambling to avoid defections on President Obama’s jobs package, which appears headed for defeat on Tuesday.
A lack of Democratic unity on the president’s bill would be embarrassing for the White House, which has been scolding House Republicans for refusing to vote on the measure.
Democrats had to rewrite the bill to move the tax hikes from $250K annual income to $1 million in order to please Chuck Schumer, who pointed out that $250K in annual income for New York City families is the equivalent of a cop married to a nurse. That still doesn’t have all Democrats on board, though:
Despite the changes, the legislation still does not enjoy the support of all 53 senators who caucus with the Democrats. A handful of Democrats are undecided or leaning no on the bill.
Democrats who will vote no or are leaning no include Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.), who all hail from red states and are up for reelection next year.
That’s probably not the full list, either. Claire McCaskill in Missouri won’t want to go back to her constituents and explain how she voted to spend another $447 billion on the same kind of government interventions that produced a chronic 9% unemployment rate and busts like Solyndra. Bill Nelson in Florida might have a problem with that as well. Bob Casey in Pennsylvania has already stated publicly that the bill should be broken up into its component parts for separate votes rather than addressed as a comprehensive package to eliminate the parts that won’t work. They may not get 45 votes by the time those members up for election in 2012 get around to casting a vote on the AJA.
Instead of lecturing Republicans, perhaps Axelrod should start listening to those Democrats who have to face voters next year.