It seems that Democrats are finally beginning to understand that a crippling recession will threaten their chances in next year’s mid-term elections. But they haven’t figured out an effective response, yet.
Instead, according to Politico, they’re turning their wrath on Obama and his Cabinet.
The wave of Democratic grief had been building privately for months, but Hill Democrats had held back on publicly criticizing the Obama presidency. But now Democrats who see that their economic agenda seems to be flailing and fear getting wiped out in the 2010 congressional elections are going public with a burst of criticism, and much of it has poured out in the past 48 hours.
It’s coming from some of the most liberal supporters of the president, like John Conyers, who said Thursday on the Bill Press radio show that Obama was “bowing down” to the right.
“I’m getting tired of saving Obama’s can in the White House,” Conyers said. “I mean, he only won by five votes in the House, and this bill wasn’t anything to write home about.”
Oregon Democrat Peter DeFazio, who has called on Geithner to resign, vented his frustrations about the Obama economic team in an interview with POLITICO.
“I don’t see any trace of life coming out of these people when it comes to the real economy,” DeFazio said. “That’s not their orientation.”
Venting and finger-pointing won’t get them anywhere. Instead, the Democrats need to put money directly into jobs programs. The Obama administration has avoided such programs for fear of being attacked by Republicans.
From The Washington Post:
Since taking office, the Obama administration has studiously avoided paying people to go to work, which could be accomplished by subsidizing workers’ private-sector employment or by creating new government-paid jobs. There are programs in a handful of states that financially compensate employees who cut their hours to prevent broader layoffs at their companies — an approach that costs relatively little, since it results in lower payouts of unemployment benefits, and that has helped Germany keep unemployment under 8 percent despite the deep slowdown there. But the Obama administration has so far opted not to expand this initiative. And aside from a small summer employment program for young people, it has not sought to create jobs on the public payroll, something the country did in the 1930s and 1970s.
Instead Obama’s team has taken a more indirect approach, a prudence that critics on the left say is misplaced. If you’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars on stimulus, why not do it with conviction? Engaging in more forthright job creation could invite some political pitfalls (such as those constant accusations of socialism), but is double-digit unemployment any less a political risk?
But they’re going to be attacked by Republicans no matter what they do. Better to be attacked for doing the right thing: creating jobs.