Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sisyphean Hostage Crisis

Since much of the media on all sides will be talking breathlessly - and endlessly - about today's political contests in Wisconsin, and a few more contests around the country, we'll leave our analysis on all those races until after all the votes are counted, like most ethical media organizations really should.

In our collective opinion, if you live in Wisconsin - or anywhere else voting is going on - it's your duty to make sure you're educated on the candidates and issues, and that you get out and vote today. Those who do not vote, should shut their mouths and not complain if they don't like the outcome of their respective elections.

Since we're not talking about the election in Wisconsin today we're turning our attention back to jobs and the economy - which has been a focus of ours, President Obama's, and many in Congress (especially on the Democratic side of the aisle) for several years now.

Frankly, the President's task in fixing the economy he inherited has seemed Herculean at times over the last few years - though a better description of his challenge may be "Sisyphean", thanks to the current Republican Party.

As we mentioned yesterday, there's been a great deal made of the May jobs numbers released last week, especially by those on the right. They've been gleefully jumping up and down on the numbers, stupidly attempting to compare them to those of President George W. Bush, as though that was a wise idea.

As anyone with half a brain could tell you, even though the U.S. economy in May only generated 82,000 new jobs - all in the private sector - that meager positive job growth is still positive. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the economy under President Obama has been growing continually, since the first quarter of 2009, when Barack Obama took the Oath of Office.

Further, as Steve Benen points out, Obama added jobs in his second year as President, and in his third year more private sector jobs were created than in seven of the eight years Bush was in the White House. In fact, President Obama has had no month like the one immediately before he took office - the final month of George W. Bush's tenure - when the U.S. economy lost nearly three-quarters of a million jobs during that time.

The problem is that the President can only do so much - and this appears to be exactly what the opposition has been counting on all along.

As Ezra Klein pointed out Monday - and indeed, Joe Weisenthal at the Business Insider pointed out earlier this year - many prominent Republicans seem to have no shame in making their feelings about the 2012 election known.

For them, it isn't going to be a choice about who will do the best for America, or will give Americans the best chance to improve our economy.

For them, it's become yet another hostage crisis, where they get to hold the entire nation - and really, the entire world - prisoner.

If the infantile Republicans get what they want, and Romney wins, then they'll cram their anti-growth, Bush-like austerity policies down the throats of every American, while carving out exemptions for themselves, and putting off paying down the debt until the next Democratic occupant of the White House.

If Romney loses, those same Republicans will become economic and political terrorists within our own government. They will go on the attack against everything President Obama wants to accomplish - and if America is destroyed, that will just be collateral damage in their eyes.

This choice, that both Klein and Weisenthal make clear is what we've been saying all along: the elections this fall - and truthfully, to some extent, the elections today - are not a referendum on the performance of President Obama.

The 2012 elections are a choice.

The question being asked is this: Will you choose to side with other rational Americans? Or with the terrorists?

Pick your side - and then go vote.

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