Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Jobs Speech

By Gaije Kushner

Tonight, President Obama will be delivering his long promised speech on jobs to a joint session of Congress. For the last few days, commentators and pundits from NPR to the BBC have been busily speculating as to its contents. What do they most want to know? What presidential proposals could possibly make it through the GOP lead house. Smart people around the planet have been pondering this as if it’s a reasonable question. Maybe they’ve been playing some journalistic version of survivor? Shipwrecked themselves someplace hot and green, without access to any form of media. No television, no internet, not even newspapers or magazines.

Can anything else account for this colossal lapse of comprehension? Congressional Republicans don’t want new jobs created, don’t want to see the economy improving. The House will not be passing anything Obama proposes. He could call for a resolution affirming the cuteness of baby Pandas, and they’d block it for showing excessive solidarity with China. Their one and only goal is to get him out of office. They’ve been saying so for years. Anyone who missed it just hasn't been paying attention.

Last fall, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office.” Not to improve the economy, burn the lesbian witches, turn the whole show over to Exxon Mobile, or enact any other aspect of their dubious agenda. Just to get rid of Obama.

Or as Speaker of the House, and overlord of the orange people, John Boehner put it, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one term president.” Every so often Boehner’s hobbies, smoking, drinking, and crying in public, have made him seem almost human. After all, who hasn’t been there? Bumming Camels off strangers, after a martini or ten too many, trying desperately to stop the sobbing, so you can explain the gory details of the break up, the lost job, the most recent rejection letter? But then, almost counts for nothing, once you’re old enough to drink, smoke, and make everyone else at the bar uncomfortable.

Then there’s Boehner’s sidekick, the Booboo to his Yogi, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He doesn’t even get to almost. Lately, he’s been busy making things worse for victims of natural disasters. It’s not enough for him that they’ve lost their homes, businesses, or lives. He won’t be happy until they’ve lost all semblance of security about their futures. He hopes to achieve his nefarious ends by threatening to block any additional funding FEMA might need for disaster relief, unless it comes with balancing budget cuts.
Cantor kicked off his campaign of terror in May, after a tornado leveled Joplin Missouri, killing 159 of its former residents. Kept it up through August’s east coast earthquake, damage to his own district be damned. And on past Hurricane Irene the next weekend, unswayed by its 43 deaths, or by billions in property destruction.

What has he achieved so far? Well, for starters, to meet the immediate needs of Irene’s victims, FEMA’s had to suspend funding for long term projects nationwide, dating back to Hurricane Katrina. This alone could cost countless jobs. Then, uncertainty about future recovery funds will reduce consumer spending, and it won’t do small businesses any favors. They’ll be struggling to hold onto current employees, forget about expansion or new hires. All it took was a little fear mongering, rendering reality irrelevant.

Which works out well for Cantor. In reality the possibility of his keeping a single dollar out of FEMA’s coffers is so minimal as to be non-existent, like unicorns, anything cuter than baby pandas, or that of the House passing anything this president proposes.

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