Democrats’ efforts to pass jobs legislation before the end of the year don’t just rest on President Obama’s bully pulpit and the hope that Republicans will demonstrate good will. They’re actively trying to dismantle what’s left of public support for the Republican economic agenda.
In a memo to party members and the media, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — the Dems’ top strategist in the Senate — argues that the GOP is intentionally blocking all measures that could improve the economy for political gain.
“The economic recovery is happening too slowly and too haltingly, and the Tea Party is to blame,” he writes. “With the economy at a crossroads, the GOP’s current political strategy—block anything that could improve the economy, lest it boost the President’s standing—has the potential to backfire. If Republicans continue opposing job-creating measures, they risk being blamed for whatever economic reality the country confronts in 2012. But Democrats must make this case. In the coming weeks, we will.”
On Thursday, Republicans blocked the Senate from debating President Obama’s jobs bill. Democrats now plan to force separate votes on individual elements of that bill, particularly ones that Republicans have supported in the past, but oppose now. At the same time, they’ll be waging a public campaign against the GOP’s platform to pressure members to come around.
“By linking the GOP to its extreme Tea Party fringe, Democrats can bolster the
prospects for the President’s jobs ideas, or at least make clear who is responsible for the
stalling of the recovery,” Schumer writes. “Democrats can make this link by branding the school of thought that resists against any job-creation measures as ‘Tea Party economics.’ The opponents of the President’s jobs proposals should be invoked as ‘Tea Party Republicans.’ If their obstruction continues, it will risk a ‘Tea Party recession.’”
As explained in the memo, which you can read below, the Tea Party’s dismal approval ratings, combined with the preponderance of expert opinion against immediate fiscal austerity and for immediate job creation policies provide will form the basis for a strategy aimed at wedging individual GOP members away from their party leadership and base to support expansionary policies in Obama’s bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Wednesday he plans to hold the first vote on an element of the jobs act next week.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.