The more America’s job market improves, the tougher it is for Republicans to explain what’s happening. According to GOP talking points, tax hikes, regulations, and “Obamacare” are dragging down the economy, making it impossible for employers to create jobs.
And yet, the unemployment rate is at a six-year low, we’re on track for the best year for jobs since the Clinton era, and we just broke the record for the most consecutive months of private-sector job gains. For the right, this just shouldn’t be possible.
So how do Republicans reconcile the reality and their rhetoric? At least at Fox News, the answer is to ignore the inconvenient truths. Dylan Byers noted:
We won’t do the screen shots this time, but per usual FoxNews.com is the one major news site downplaying Thursday’s positive employment report. CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are all leading their sites with the news (in large fonts, no less). Fox News has it buried in fine print on a sidebar.It’s hard to argue that such a decision is a matter of unbiased editorial judgment.
Given recent history – good news is ignored, bad news is trumpeted – it’s probably safe to assume the right’s not-so-subtle approach is intended to keep the bubble intact for conservative audiences.
But even funnier was House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) unintentionally hilarious statement in response to the new jobs report.
The headline clearly says the press released relates to the “June 2014 Unemployment Report,” but remarkably, the Speaker of the House managed to issue a statement that ignores the June 2014 Unemployment Report.
“The House has passed dozens of jobs bills that would mean more paychecks and more opportunities for middle-class families. But in order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize. From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where he can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us. Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem. For our part, we will continue to listen to and address the concerns of Americans who are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’”
Look, it’s the day before a major national holiday. It’s quite possible that Boehner never even saw the job numbers and this statement was written days ago and released to the media by some poor intern stuck in a largely empty office.
But given the importance of jobs to the American public, is it really too much to ask that Boehner put a little effort into this? Let’s unpack the response to jobs data that managed to ignore jobs data:
* “The House has passed dozens of jobs bills.” Actually, it hasn’t. If you look at Boehner’s list of “jobs bills,” it’s primarily a bunch of bills written for and by the oil industry, encouraging drilling everywhere. Here’s the challenge for the Speaker’s office: put together a jobs bill, subject it to independent scrutiny, find out how many jobs it would create, and get back to us. We’ve been waiting for three years. It hasn’t happened.
* “[T]he president must do more than criticize.” Well, he has. Obama has sent real, independently scored bills that would create jobs. The House Republican majority has so far failed to even vote on them.
* “Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem.” Boehner is practically allergic to leadership, unable to convince his own far-right caucus to listen to him on most issues, making this a curious line of attack. Regardless, the president, unlike the hapless Speaker, has lowered unemployment and has presented real plans to expand on this progress. Can Boehner say the same?
* “For our part, we will continue to listen.” To whom? I can think of a whole lot of measures that Americans have urged Congress to pass, which Boehner has ignored entirely. Who exactly does the Speaker think he’s listening to?
* “[A]ddress the concerns of Americans who are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’” They’re right here. If the Speaker’s office looked at the jobs report before commenting on the jobs report, this would have been obvious.