COMMENTARY | American politics had a busy week after Labor Day 2011. GOP candidates debated at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. The same number of candidates were on stage, except Texas Gov. Rick Perry replaced former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
A day later, President Obama laid out an economic plan to stimulate job growth in the United States. He spoke to a joint session of Congress for 34 minutes about tax cuts across the board totaling more than $450 billion to try to get more jobs to hard-working Americans.
Both events were seen as ways for both political parties to make their case to the American people as to who should be leading the United States.
Rep. Michele Bachmann Falters
The Washington Post reports Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., was the frontrunner during a debate hosted by CNN in mid-June. She also won the Iowa Straw Poll three weeks later. Yet Perry formally announced his candidacy on the same day as the Iowa Straw Poll. Since early August, Bachmann has received half as much support in polling.
Perry clearly knew how to upstage other candidates. Bachmann went from a frontrunner to someone who will be ineffective by the time primaries start in January. CBS News reports even though she gave a response to Obama’s jobs plan, a speech she did not attend in person, Bachmann gave a speech contrary to the wishes of GOP leaders, who said they weren’t going to offer an official response.
Bachmann’s speech was clearly intended for her to try to remain in the spotlight, but her timing was just as bad as Obama’s. The first game of the NFL season was scheduled for the same night as the dueling speeches.
Obama’s Jobs Plan
President Obama outlined his plan for spurring job growth a day after the Republican debate. He issued challenges to Congress in order to try to pass savings and tax incentives for employees and business owners in order to get more Americans working. Rasmussen Reports released a survey the day of Obama’s speech. It states Americans are evenly split as to whether Obama is mainstream or extreme. That number will be an important gauge this time next year as to whether or not independent voters will turn out for the Obama 2012 campaign.
It will also help Obama’s position if the unemployment rate drops leading up to the general election. How and if jobs rebound may also affect GOP primary elections. How would candidates approach the Obama administration if more Americans find work? They would be hard-pressed to challenge the president.
Where’s John Boehner?
Surprisingly, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama’s plan will “merit consideration.” Reuters reports Boehner hopes both parties will work together in order to bring about meaningful job growth for Americans.
Boehner has often told Democrats there will be no tax increases on the rich, whom he calls “job creators.” The speaker said taxing the rich shouldn’t be a priority ever since jobs statistics came out in July. His attitude about creating jobs is probably the most wishful thinking to come out of Washington in over a month.
How all of this political posturing pans out may affect Americans for years to come. Unfortunately, unemployment has hurt citizens for over three years. We need solutions now.