Sen. McConnell Takes Just One Day To Violate His Own "No-Politics Zone" Around Jobs

September 07, 2011 11:58 am ET — Alan Pyke

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), on Monday: "At a time when 14 million Americans are looking for work, job creation should be a no-politics zone."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on Tuesday:

For more than two and a half years under this administration, Americans have been hearing about the wonders that government spending would do for our economy and about the dangerous consequences of failing to apply bold solutions to big problems. And what's it gotten them? As Washington has grown bigger and bigger and Americans have continued to lose jobs. The national debt has exploded literally out of sight, and for the first time in our history, America's once pristine credit rating has been downgraded by a major ratings agency. [...]

But here is the bottom line. In the two and a half years since President Obama signed his signature jobs bill, the so-called stimulus, there are 1.7 million fewer jobs in our country. Statistics like these help us to understand the dimensions of the economic challenges so many Americans continue to face. [...]

So before we get into the details about what many of us believe will succeed in reigniting the economy outside of Washington, we need to be clear about what hasn't because while I have no doubt that the president will propose many things on Thursday night that when looked at individually sound pretty good, or that he will call them all bipartisan, I'm equally certain that taken as a whole, they will represent more of the same failed approach that's only made things worse over the past few years and resulted in fewer jobs than when we started.

Any Congress-watcher could have seen through the GOP leader's hypocritical op-ed, but his high-minded approach to jobs barely made it 24 hours before he gave it up. Mitch McConnell's pen hand apparently isn't talking to his mouth.

And he's detached himself from reality, if he honestly thinks that the Recovery Act (1) grew Washington but shrunk private employment, (2) "exploded" the debt, (3) caused the S&P downgrade, and (4) "resulted in fewer jobs than when we started."

McConnell only gets away with that claim because there are fewer total jobs now than when President Obama was sworn in (and fewer than when he signed the Recovery Act a month later). But for McConnell to pretend that Obama's actions are to blame for those early 2009 months, when the job market was still in free-fall thanks to the Wall Street-induced financial collapse, is a prime example of politicizing the jobs debate.

Another: McConnell is prebutting the president's jobs speech before it's even been given, proving that Republican leaders are committed to rejecting Obama ideas sight-unseen in hopes of scoring political points. That's lousy leadership if you want to get people back to work, but it's a great way to follow through on McConnell's stated top priority: Defeat Barack Obama.

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