“A Guy Named Willie”

The first thing I thought about, when I heard what Michigan Republicans did to undermine labor unions by a last-minute push for so-called right-to-work legislation, was that it is a race to the bottom, in terms of wages and benefits and working conditions for American workers.

And wouldn’t you know it, President Obama was reading  my mind and he related the following during a speech at an engine manufacturing plant called Detroit Diesel in Michigan on Monday:

I just got to say this — what we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions.  (Applause.)  We shouldn’t be doing that.  (Applause.)  These so-called “right to work” laws, they don’t have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics.  (Applause.) What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.  (Applause.)

You only have to look to Michigan — where workers were instrumental in reviving the auto industry — to see how unions have helped build not just a stronger middle class but a stronger America.  (Applause.)  So folks from our state’s capital, all the way to the nation’s capital, they should be focused on the same thing.  They should be working to make sure companies like this manufacturer is able to make more great products.  That’s what they should be focused on.  (Applause.)  We don’t want a race to the bottom.  We want a race to the top.  (Applause.)

But I really want to focus on these remarks by the President, which tell the story of unionism through one individual:

…as I was coming over here, I was hearing about a guy named Willie.  (Applause.)  Where’s Willie?  There’s Willie right here.  There’s Willie.  (Applause.)  Now, in case you haven’t heard of him, they actually call him “Pretty Willie.”  (Laughter.)  Now, I got to say you got to be pretty tough to have a nickname like “Pretty Willie.”  (Laughter.)  He’s tough. 

On Wednesday, Willie will celebrate 60 years working at Detroit Diesel — 60 years.  (Applause.)  Willie started back on December 12, 1952.  I was not born yet.  (Laughter.)  Wasn’t even close to being born.  He made $1.40 an hour.  The only time he spent away from this plant was when he was serving our country in the Korean War.  (Applause.)  So three generations of Willie’s family have passed through Detroit Diesel.  One of his daughters works here with him right now — is that right?  There she is.  (Applause.) 

In all his years, Willie has been late to work only once.  It was back in 1977.  (Laughter.)  It’s been so long he can’t remember why he was late — (laughter and applause) — but we’re willing to give him a pass. 

So Willie believes in hard work.  You don’t keep a job for 60 years if you don’t work hard.  Sooner or later, someone is going to fire you if you don’t work hard.  He takes pride in being part of something bigger than himself.  He’s committed to family; he’s committed to community; he’s committed to country. That’s how Willie lives his life.  That’s how all of you live your lives.

And that makes me hopeful about the future, because you’re out there fighting every day for a better future for your family and your country. 

The New And Republican-Approved Jesus

Most of you know that I am a former evangelical Christian. But I still retain an interest in my former faith, particularly as I observe how it has been co-opted and corrupted by the Republican Party.

During this campaign season, conservative Christians have, via a special dispensation from their deity, amended the ninth commandment to read:

Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor, unless your neighbor is The Scary Negro In The White’s House.

With that dispensation, evangelicals are free to become full-fledged Mittenites, who, in order to rid the country of the only leadership it has known the past four years, can lie with impunity about Barack Obama, all in the name of God.

This new theological get-out-of-hell-free card is good for claiming the President is a Kenyan, a socialist who hates America, or, Allah forbid, a Muslim. It’s good for bad-mouthing the poor, the sick, and the elderly, all of those crippled by government dependence, as we discovered in that heartfelt “47%” speech.

And it’s especially good for those on the front lines of the Republican Party’s prosecution of its War on Women. Now that Billy Graham and the right-wing church have chosen to rock and roll in his Mormon bedchamber, Mitt Romney has his conservative Christian credentials in order and can lead the war.

He is free to rob women of their humanity, as he seeks to undermine their ability to make their own reproductive decisions, and as he endorses U.S. Senate candidates who would use big-government to force violated women to bear the children of their tormentors.

If the Romney-Ryan partnership is successful, if those they endorse make it to the Senate, women may long for the days of government-ordered vaginal probing, which when a Romney-influenced Supreme Court is finished, may seem like the good old days of Republican moderation.

Taking full advantage of GOP Jesus turning his Cayman-tanned face away from all that war-time prevarication going on out there, Christians, funded by the Romney campaign, have been engaging in last-minute lies like those found in the following script of a robocall that a voter in Fairfax, Virginia, received last Friday night:

Christians who are thinking about voting for Obama should remember what he said about people of faith: “They … cling to guns or religion.” And remember when Obama forced Christian organizations to provide insurance coverage that was contrary to their religious beliefs?

That’s the real Barack Obama. That’s the real threat to our religious freedom. Mitt Romney understands the importance of faith and family. That’s why so many leaders of the Christian community are supporting Romney.

They know we can’t underestimate the threat Barack Obama poses to our faith, our values, our freedom.

Yes, the real Barack Obama, as opposed to the one we have come to know, is quite the threat to faith, values, and freedom. Quite the threat alright. You can see it everywhere. Churches are being shut down, pastors being tossed in the hoosegow, priests being forced to seek adult entertainment with real adults. Yep, that Obama is the greatest enemy of faith we have ever seen.

In the mean time, the strange concoction of evangelicalism and Republicanism and Mormonism and Catholicism and anti-Obamanism means that conservative Christianity in America will never be the same. Conservative Bible-toters have traded in the Jesus who said that God had anointed him to “bring good news to the poor.” That Jesus didn’t look good standing next to Mitt Romney and Donald Trump.

And gone from their midst is the Jesus who condemned lying and slander and who talked about how hard it was for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. That Jesus, the one who told rich folks who desire a home with God to think about a camel going through a needle’s eye, is long gone.

Today’s evangelicals worship a Jesus who has an affection for vulture capitalism. They worship a Jesus who condones the slandering of Barack Obama, himself a Christian. They worship a Jesus who has endorsed a Republican candidate whose one discernible and consistent principle is that he will say anything, absolutely anything, to become president. And he, in the name of GOP Jesus, will bear false witness without so much as a pin-prick of conscience.

Time will tell whether this new and Republican-approved Jesus can drag Mitt Romney across the finish line. But we don’t have to wait to see what this crony-capitalist Jesus, this corrupt, Obama-hating savior, has done to evangelical and conservative Christianity in America.

As I said, it will never be the same.

Obamalution

The most important civil rights issue of our time is whether gay folks will continue to be treated like freaks.

And now, at last, we have Barack Obama on the side of the angels of liberty, as he declared his evolution complete:

I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

Coming on the heels of the anti-gay vote in North Carolina, I particularly admire—in fact I’m all gushy about it—the President’s admission that his evolving thinking has culminated in an affirmation of complete same-sex rights, which is essentially an affirmation of American constitutional liberty.

Would that he had made such a statement before that horrendous, last-cultural-gasp vote, in North Carolina, so we could see how it might have altered the numbers a bit.

Yet there it was, a historic and courageous statement that many critics didn’t think Mr. Obama would make at this time. Many thought he wouldn’t dare come out for homosexual equality before the election. Too much was at stake. The country isn’t quite ready for it.

But he did it, and “it” is not without political danger.  It will most certainly energize the Iron Age blowhards on the religious right, who will triple their efforts to unseat the homo-loving reprobate in the White’s House.Sign - gay-rights photo

However, no matter what happens this November, even if Barack Obama is burned by the last flickering embers of white religious angst, even if conservative Christians rage against the dying of the white light and muster one final victory on behalf of bigotry, make no mistake about it: homosexuals will one day become—in every state in this union—equal citizens under the law.

And Barack Obama’s decision to fully embrace homosexuals as free and equal citizens has advanced that eventuation.  Not only that, it will have an immediate definite cultural impact: it will, no doubt, exacerbate the cultural piety-anxiety that many white conservative Christians already suffer from, but, more important, it will have a positive effect on the black community, many of whom have resisted the idea that all people—even those compelled by nature to love and desire other folks of the same sex—deserve to be treated as, well, Americans.

The “Thugfather”

The vehemence they displayed was totally inappropriate. They seemed to adopt the tea party slogans.”

—Charles Fried, President Reagan’s solicitor general commenting on the tone of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices during oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act

uch ado was made over President Obama’s uncharacteristically maladroit remarkson the possibility that the Supreme Court might overturn his health care reform legislation:

And I just remind conservative commentators that for years what we have heard is that the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint; that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step…

Ultimately I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

The Wall Street Journal was “astonished” at the remarks and wondered if the former constitutional law teacher ever taught Marbury v. Madison. Conservative Joe Scarborough found the remarks “unbelievable” and “disturbing.” He accused the president of “attacking” the Supreme Court and essentially undermining our judicial system’s independence.

The thundering Voice of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, called the President a “thug“—yep, he did— saying:

…he says things in these sound bites…and they’re chilling to me. “The court has to understand…” “The court must understand,” is one of his sound bites. No, the court must not — does not have to — listen to you. What is this, “The court must understand”? That is a threat! How many of you think it possible that Obama will make a trip to the Supreme Court before the vote, before the final vote? Can you see it happening? I can.

I can too. I can see Mr. Obama serving up a can of presidential whoopass to Justice Scalia. Yes, anyone can see that.

Here is a classy graphic posted as part of Rush’s transcript from Tuesday:

As I said, I can see that Obama busting the kneecaps of Antonin Scalia. I sure can.

There was also an orgy of Obama hate Tuesday night on Hannity—featuring constitutional scholar Sarah Palin! The learned Alaskan said (it is damned hard to transcribe her eruditeness),

So, how much more evidence does an American voter need to understand that this president is not only, just merely, over, in over his head [sic], as a constitutional scholar—this is the community organizer in him coming out.

How much more evidence do all of us need to understand that we cannot afford this “flexibility” that he is seeking in his next four years that he’s asking for, for his ineptitude the next four years, we cannot afford to go down this road.

Sarah Palin referencing someone’s “ineptitude” represents a special kind of chutzpah, don’t ya think?  Call it arctic audacity, but whatever you call it, she is sitting on a pile of cash that such garish gall has wrought.

For all the outrage on the right about Mr. Obama’s remarks, one would think that there had been no history of right-wing attacks on the Supreme Court. Does Roe v. Wade ring a bell? Anyone remember the “Impeach Earl Warren” movement across the South?

The John Birch Society, now once again on friendly terms with movement conservatism, wrote in 1963:

It is obvious that the Warren-led Court intends, step-by-step, to declare the whole Constitution of the United States unconstitutional.

Is that an attack on the Court?

How about this, from William F. Buckley, the father of modern conservatism:

The Supreme Court of the United States discovers every year or so something in the Constitution not only that hasn’t been discovered before, but something which the formulators of that particular article or amendment to the Constitution specifically rejected. But it becomes law. This is called casuistry, and casuistry is one of the diseases of a decadent order in which people refuse to rely on basic cognitive skills, and have no faith in sequential argument.

Hmm. That was written in 1977. I suppose the Supreme Court has recovered from “one of the diseases of a decadent order,” since conservatives are now so eager to come to its defense.

In any case, the right-wing hysteria over Obama’s remarks is interesting, since a) they don’t worry too much about disrespecting the executive branch these days, and b) I never thought I would live long enough to hear right-wingers so enthusiastically defend the Court’s honor.

The truth is, though, that they don’t have much respect for either the executive branch or the judicial branch (or for that matter, the legislative branch) unless those institutions are peopled by conservatives.

Example: A totally unsubstantiated rumor has been floating from conservative brain to conservative brain: “Does Obama Know How the Supreme Court Voted?” The deal is that some liberal justice leaked the bad news to Big O and he was trying to intimidate the conservative justices into submission, sort of opening up a long-distance can of whoopass.

Hannity brought it up last night and Limbaugh mentioned it earlier in the day (he speculated that it might be Justice Kagan).

I ask: Is suggesting that a sitting justice (they are the only ones allowed in during the vote) of leaking the result of last Friday’s conference tally—purely for political reasons—showing proper respect for the Court?

In the case of conspiracy-minded Rush Limbaugh, any leaking of the outcome—positive or negative—would do:

It’s easier to understand that somebody leaked to him that the preliminary vote went against him and that the mandate fell by whatever the preliminary vote was and that explains his attitude yesterday. But I can see him saying what he said if the vote went in his favor as well, as a means of further intimidation, making sure they don’t change their minds or whatever.

It must be nice to live in a world where all the roads lead to your destination.

But my favorite example of the newly-found (at least since Bush v. Gore in 2000) and quite fraudulent conservative respect for the Supreme Court was from Joe Scarborough. After bashing Obama for not showing proper deference to the Court, he said this:

I think Justice Kennedy is a conservative justice with a small “c.” He’s worried about his legacy more than the law that’s in front of him—just to be really harsh about it. And I think he’s going to be afraid to do the bold thing, even if the bold thing is the right thing.

Now, that, my friends, is real respect for the integrity of the Supreme Court.

_____________________________

*The President better explained himself on Tuesday during the Q & A after his AP luncheon speech:

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, you said yesterday that it would be unprecedented for a Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by an elected Congress.  But that is exactly what the Court has done during its entire existence.  If the Court were to overturn individual mandate, what would you do, or propose to do, for the 30 million people who wouldn’t have health care after that ruling?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, let me be very specific. We have not seen a Court overturn a law that was passed by Congress on a economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce — a law like that has not been overturned at least since Lochner.  Right?  So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre New Deal.

And the point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress.  And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.

Now, as I said, I expect the Supreme Court actually to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedence out there.  I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the Court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has.

Playing The Soft On Defense Card

The United States of America is the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known.  And in no small measure, that’s because we’ve built the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history — and as Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to keep it that way.”

— Barack Obama, January 5, 2012

Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

—Dwight Eisenhower, January 17, 1961

_______________________

Let’s say a man and wife had eight well-nourished kids. And let’s say that six of the kids eventually grew up and left the house at age eighteen, leaving the man and wife with two kids at home who weren’t old enough to be out on their own. And let’s say a government official came along and peeked into the cupboards in the house and exclaimed:

You have less food in here than you did ten years ago! How will you ever feed your two kids?  You need to have as much food in here as you did then—no, you need more!

Now, all of us can see how nonsensical that scenario is, right?

Well, here is what Mitt Romney said last night during the GOP debate:

ROMNEY: … the most extraordinary thing that’s happened with this military authorization is the president is planning on cutting $1 trillion out of military spending. Our navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917. Our air force is smaller and older than any time since 1947.

Romney stole that stuff, apparently, from his supporter, former Missouri senator Jim Talent, who wrote for the Heritage Foundation in 2011:

The Navy has fewer ships than at any time since 1916. The Air Force inventory is smaller and older than at any time since the service came into being in 1947.

The same thing was picked up by Frank Gaffney, Jr. later on:

According to a recent study by the Heritage Foundation, by the end of this year, the U.S. Navy will be smaller than at any time since 1916. The Air Force has the smallest number of aircraft and bases since its founding in 1947.

Now, implied in Romney’s statement and in Talent and Gaffney’s articles (the original Heritage “White Paper” was published two years ago) is that this supposed military deficiency is somehow Obama’s doing, although they were careful not to link the specific facts about “fewer ships” and a smaller Air Force inventory to Obama.  You know why? Because Mr. Obama had nothing to do with those facts.

The size of the U.S. military is roughly what it was when W. Bush was governing in Washington in between vacations in Crawford, Texas. (In fact, the total active ship force of the U.S. Navy is actually a fraction higher under Obama than under Bush.)

What should be obvious is that the size and composition of our military changes over time, particularly as technology and the world—including our enemies—change. There is no aggressive Germany these days. There is no Soviet Union, aggressive or otherwise, at all these days. And just like it would be ridiculous for a family of four to have the same food inventory as a family of ten, it is ridiculous to compare our military inventories to times when we were in a world war or when we just emerged from one or when we were waging a cold war with a nation that no longer exists.

The truth is that, as they always do, Republicans have to find a way to attack Obama and the Democrats for—wait for it—being soft on defense. That’s kind of hard to do these days, what with Osama bin Laden’s remains now a part of the physiology of a thousand fishes in the sea.  Or what with every Islamic terrorist leader in the world wondering whether his next message from Allah will come printed on the side of a drone.

But especially if the economy continues to improve, Republicans are going to try to make a very big deal out of President Obama’s proposed cuts to the 2013 core defense budget he will soon submit to Congress. Those proposed cuts amount to slightly less than $500 billion over ten years. Hardly radical, but since when does that stop Republicans from so characterizing Mr. Obama?

In any case, the American people spend more on national defense—almost $700 billion—than the next 17 countries combined—and almost all of those 17 countries pose no threat to us and most are in some form or another our allies. In fact—this is stunning to me—the U.S. spends more on pay and allowances for its active-duty troops and National Guard and Reserve personnel ($123 billion in 2011) than China spends on its entire military budget (an estimated $119 billion in 2010) and more than twice as much as Russia spends on its defense (an estimated $52 billion in 2010).

Here’s a comparison graph from The Economist:

Last night during the Republican debate, Ron Paul said,

I would cut some of this military spending, like Eisenhower advises, watch out for the military industrial complex.

And watch out for its defenders in the Republican Party.

Fussy Facts

I don’t much care for Paul Greenberg’s opinions, as regular readers of this blog know.  It’s not that he is a horrible writer or undeserving of his Pulitzer Prize. He’s a very fine writer and Columbia University is free to pass out Pulitzers to whomever it wants, especially to one who apparently was willing in the 1960s to defend civil rights in a most uncivil part of the country, the South.

There’ s just something about his tone, call it Arkansas Delta arrogance, a peculiar mix of experience-over-ideas conservatism and Southern sensibility and the kind of condescending charm that a man at war with the modern world passes off as genteel sophistication.

At least that’s how his prose rubs me.

In any case, Greenberg was at it again this morning in the Joplin Globe. After three nice introductory paragraphs about the upcoming campaign season, the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote:

Some candidates eventually prove great presidents — a Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt– and win eternal honor, or at least deserve to. Others are more like Jimmy Carter and the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Now, let’s take a minute to consider those two sentences, which discredit two alive-and-well Democratic presidents and praise a long-dead one.

First the dead one: FDR is one of those Democratic presidents that even some Republican-minded folks occasionally like to praise.  Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of Tea Party Republicans only because they are ignorant of his many compromises as our president, particularly admired Roosevelt’s leadership:

His strong, gentle, confident voice resonated across the nation with an eloquence that brought comfort and resilience to a nation caught up in a storm and reassured us that we could lick any problem. I will never forget him for that.

Or consider Reagan’s calling Roosevelt, “an American giant, a leader who shaped, inspired, and led our people through perilous times.”

Ah, that must be what Mr. Greenberg means by praising the man who gave us America’s social safety net: Roosevelt was an American giant and inspirational leader. 

Okay. But I’ve never met a conservative Republican who had a good word to say about what Roosevelt’s domestic policies actually accomplished.  In fact, the entire modern conservative movement materialized in opposition to the New Deal and morphed into its current unseemly fanaticism while the New Deal was giving birth to its first child, the Great Society.

So, it’s hard for me, a non-Pulitzer winner, to understand what Greenberg can possibly mean by including Roosevelt in his list of “great presidents,” but I am sure he has his reasons.

And one of those reasons must be to contrast the mythical and historically sainted FDR with two of Mr. Greenberg’s favorite demon-Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.

Carter’s name seems to pop up whenever Greenberg needs to stick a Pulitzer-blessed screwdriver in the eye of Mr. Obama, like last summer, when he wrote:

Surely it’s just my fallible memory, but I can’t recall a presidential address that has fallen as flat as Barack Obama’s last week, at least not since Jimmy Carter gave his (in)famous malaise speech back in the dismal summer of 1979.

Never mind that Greenberg, like all Republicans sympathizers, has it all wrong about Carter’s so-called “malaise speech.” (You can read why here or read the speech yourself here.)

Sure enough, Greenberg once again wielded his Obama-hater weapon, Mr. Carter’s presidency, along with the former president’s sidekick, Mr. Malaise:

The stubborn unemployment rate that refuses to subside, a national debt that grows from alarming to crushing, a Great Recession that won’t go away. No wonder there’s a sense of that old devil Malaise in the air. Again the word stagflation is heard in the land, and some of the leftier economists say a little inflation (which has a way of becoming a lot) would be a fine thing. As in the Carter years? Please.

The not-so-subtle implication here is that unemployment, the national debt, and the Great Recession are Mr. Obama’s doing. Never mind the facts; Mr. Greenberg has a job to do.

Now, this is going to be the strategy to attack Mr. Obama, as we move toward November of 2012.  Just yesterday, Jeb Bush, who received praise for telling GOP presidential candidates to stop “ascribing bad motives” to Obama, nevertheless ascribed bad policies to him:

He’s made a situation that was bad worse. He’s deserving of criticism for that.

But facts are not just stubborn things, they are eternal obstacles to the kind of revisionist nonsense that Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Bush are trying to peddle.

Rather than going from bad to worse, things have gone from worse to, well, not-as-bad.

Jobs were bleeding from the Bush-sized wound in the economy (Greenberg’s “Great Recession that won’t go away”) at an alarming rate when Mr. Obama assumed office.  And it took some time to stop the bleeding and close the wound. But it did stop and the wound is healing, albeit agonizingly slow. 

And what healing is happening has come despite fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers, who have en masse not only refused to help Democrats restore the economy to normalcy, but have steadfastly obstructed any efforts to do so.

And Mr. Greenberg’s “alarming to crushing” national debt is also an inheritance from Mr. Bush and years of Republican governmental malfeasance, based on unfettered free-market theology, which Greenberg enthusiastically endorsed in 2006. 

The recession is responsible for much of the ongoing yearly deficits, but particular and deliberate policies of the previous administration—those famous Bush tax cuts and wars—are also to blame for the shortfall and for the accumulation of massive debt.

Greenberg the war hawk was also an enthusiastic believer at the time in the power of the Bush tax cuts to heal the economy, all without ever mentioning the resulting deficits and debt.  In fact, I searched in vain for a bad Greenbergian word about deficits and debt under the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Even though now, in the Age of Obama, Greenberg clearly sees and writes about “a national debt that grows from alarming to crushing,”  he apparently didn’t see it as either alarming or crushing when policies that caused most of it were being debated and adopted by his fellow conservatives.

Thankfully, The New York Times, put it in a form that even a conservative columnist with a self-described disdain for the theoretical can understand:

So, Mr. Greenberg and other like-minded Obama-haters can take their shots at the current president via comparisons with Jimmy Carter and FDR, but some of us still have a working-relationship with the evidence, with those obstinate, unyielding, and fussy facts.

Tea Party Tongues

The jobs numbers are out for June and it is becoming clear that the Tea Party has paralyzed not only the government, but it has gone a long way toward freezing in place a weak recovery.

Oh, I know the right-wing is proud of its achievements.  After all, they have managed to bring Democrats to the budget-cutting table; they have all politicians now talking in Tea Party tongues; they have managed to change the debate from what to do about the struggling economy and jobs to how much to cut entitlement programs and other staples in the Democratic Party and American diet, like, say, education.

They have done a lot those teapartiers. But they certainly can be most proud of contributing significantly to stagnating economic growth and keeping unemployment high—both of which just happen to be politically deadly for Barack Obama in 2012—and they show little sign of relenting.

Their continued opposition to government stimulus—in any form—and their continued insistence that we can cut our way to prosperity, including cutting taxes even further than the government-starving ratios in place now, is the most significant contributing factor in our inability to escape the black hole of the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate has now crept up to 9.2% and job growth has been essentially flat the last two months.  But the worst of the news is summarized in this sentence from CNN:

So far, the nation has only gained back about a fifth of the 8.8 million jobs lost during the recession.

And while Tea Party Republicans in Congress have spent a good deal of time fretting over Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio and other non-jobs concerns, they have managed to do what many of them said they wanted to do when they ran for office. From Bloomberg:

Employment in government continued to trend down over the month (-39,000). Federal employment declined by 14,000 in June. Employment in both state government and local government continued to trend down over the month and has been falling since the second half of 2008.

Yep, they can be proud of this accomplishment, as thousands upon thousands of teachers and other “government” workers join the millions of other victims of the kind of Republican economics that ruled the day not so long ago and a kind of economics that will—if Mr. Obama is defeated in 2012 because of the bad jobs numbers this year—rule our tomorrow.

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