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The Morning Plum

* The choice: With this morning's jobs numbers certain to restart the argument over the economy, and with Republicans poised to jump on bad numbers to bolster their case that Dem policies are a catastrophic failure, here's the bottom line for this fall's elections.

Can Dems persuade voters who are impatient for Dem policies to show results that voting Republican isn't merely a rejection of their efforts, but amounts to exchanging one approach for another -- an approach that already failed miserably, with the results everywhere around us?

Put another way, Can Dems scare voters with the prospect of a GOP takeover of Congress, persuading them that this outcome would be far worse than giving Dem policies a chance to work? Or will Republicans manage to convert voters' economic anxieties into full-blown rage at the governing party, an effort that will get a big assist today if the jobs numbers are bad?

* In one measure of the stakes, Obama is set to make a statement at 9:35 a.m. eastern time about the employment numbers.

* And Dems are laying the groundwork for an aggressive fall campaign designed to make the case that this election is a choice, with much more to come from the president along the lines of his attack on John Boehner's "ant" crack.

* Key quote in the above link: David Axelrod says that given all the evidence of previous Republican failure, Dems will have no one to blame but themselves if they can't win the argument:

"If we allow a Republican Party that took a $237 billion surplus and turned it into a $1.3 trillion deficit over eight years to masquerade as the party of fiscal responsibility, then shame on us."

* The problem for Dems, of course, is that the recovery is not reaching the American people.

* The Senate math gets a little easier on financial regulatory reform with the news that Senator Maria Cantwell now intends to vote for the bill. Dems now only need two of the four undecided Republicans.

* Shocker of the day: Now that Obama gave immigration reform a big push in yesterday's speech, the GOP Senators who supported immigration reform last time suddenly think this isn't a good time to do it.

* Paul Krugman lays out his theory of the "invisible bond vigilante and the confidence fairy."

* Yesterday House Dems approved war funding for Afghanistan, but the more interesting vote may have been that nearly 100 Dems helped Republicans defeat an amendment that would have required the president to submit a timeline for redeployment of American troops out of the region.

* Still more evidence that the Tea Party movement isn't diverse: Gallup finds that 62 percent of Tea Party supporters self-identify as conservative Republicans, and another 17 percent are moderate or liberal Republicans.

* Does The New York Times's decision to drop the word "torture" tipefy the reasons why newspapers are dying?

* And Matthew Yglesias recalls the America John Boehner grew up in.

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 8:51 a.m.: Jobs numbers: 125,000 jobs lost, the most since last October, but the unemployment rate dips slightly, to 9.5 percent, the lowest in a year. Brace yourselves for a wave of statements...

UPDATE, 8:55 a.m.: Eric Cantor is first out of the gate, slamming the "disappointing" jobs report and criticizing the administration for runaway and ineffectual spending, the chief GOP attack line:

"Despite the moniker of the Administration's 'Recovery Summer,' President Obama continues to avoid correcting the structural deficiencies in our economy. Much of what the Administration touts as a 'jobs recovery' has caused -- and will continue to cause -- the deficit to soar. As the administration continues to spend, our debt keeps piling up, preventing private sector job growth. Government jobs that are paid for by taxing small business people and borrowing from the Chinese should not be celebrated by a summer road show.

"Since President Obama took office, an already bloated Washington has gone on a spending spree to the tune of nearly $8000 per person, which is an increase of $4.9 billion per day -- the highest rate of growth in our history. Instead of working together to cut spending immediately, the President continues to kick the can down the road and point to next year.

UPDATE, 9:46 a.m.: RNC chair Michael Steele's statement says the dip in unemployment "should" be welcome news, but must be taken with a "grain of salt":

For the millions of American families that are continuing to struggle, no amount of White House spin can cast 9.5 percent unemployment in a positive light. While a dip in the unemployment rate should be welcome news, this decline should be taken with a grain of salt. The 125,000 jobs lost last month coupled with a sharp drop in employment reflects a labor force that continues to deteriorate. Whether it's their $862 billion stimulus package that failed to keep unemployment under 8 percent, or their government takeover of healthcare, or their looming national energy tax, the simple fact is that the cumulative effect of this Administration's policies has yet to foster an economic climate capable of producing sustainable job growth."

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Financial reform , Foreign policy and national security , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Michael Steele speaks truth to power

Comments

"And Dems are laying the groundwork for an aggressive fall campaign designed to make the case that this election is a choice..."

I normally cannot stand Democrats' messaging abilities, but the last few weeks have been pretty solid. The "This is how they'd govern" campaign could be a little sharper, but it has the potential to make this election a choice, instead of a referendum...and that's the best hope for Dems in November.

I do think that the DNC needs to make a move on the flip side of the campaign though. Don't merely put out ads attacking the GOP about how they'd govern. Also, they should make a few ads about some of big accomplishments Dems have gotten through, while still acknowledging times still suck. Make it a positive message, with a realistic request for patience.

Doing that would define the choice more clearly, by framing the debate from both sides right from the start.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

June unemployment rate 9.5% vs May 9.7%

June Jobs down 125k

May and April revisions showed net gains in jobs

Posted by: Andy94 | July 2, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

from Huffington Post via http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/supplemental-madness-dc-has-gone-nuts.html:


"In the House summary of the rule that governs tonight's war-funding vote is this gem: 'Commits the House to vote on any Senate-passed recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission and that net savings from any Commission recommendations will go to deficit reduction.'"

You've got to be kidding me.

Posted by: Eli6 | July 2, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

June private sector jobs up 83k vs 33k (revised) in May.

Posted by: Andy94 | July 2, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Eli6, looks like SS will be on the chopping block. Unbelievable.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Cantor statement on "disappointing" jobs result targets government spending. added above.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 2, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

$20 says Cantor's office wrote that statement yesterday.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

Private industry ADDED about 83,000 jobs. While that's still dissapointing, the reason for the -125k is because of the mass layoffs of census workers.

If I recall correctly, many commentators and Republicans said that census workers didn't count because they were temp jobs. So I have to wonder if all those same people will dismiss their inclusion for this report, as well?

Yeah...I thought not.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

BBQ -- in other words, census workers don't count, except when they get laid off?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 2, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

I'm fairly certain that's the way Republicans will see it - or at least how they'll frame it. I'm also fairly certain that's the way many in the media will report it - I saw lots of "census worker" caveats when the job numbers were up we'll see if the same applies now.

My personal view is that a job is a job and they should be included on both sides. They counted when job numbers were up, and they count now.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"What else is happening?"

Mary Landrieu is absolutely awful.

"Landrieu joined four other Energy Committee Democrats in voting for the Barrasso proposal. She said the White House commission, because it doesn't include representation from the oil and gas industry, lacks credibility. 'And I'm saying to my colleagues: This is not fair,' Landrieu said. 'And what happens when something is not fair, is that whatever report comes out, is not going to be respected.'"

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/separate_congressional_oil_spi.html

The only report Landrieu will "respect" is one that says Drill Baby Drill. And Landrieu's phony Big Oil Commission is designed to do just that. Have Big Oil investigate itself, just like it regulated itself into the worst environmental disaster in American history. Great idea, Mary. I'm sure your Big Oil masters are pleased with your performance. The people of Louisiana? The fishers? The restauranteurs? The beautiful and rich coastline? The Gulf waters? None of that matters. It's just Drill Baby Drill. Big Oil says jump and Mary Landrieu says how high.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 2, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Here's another skewering of the NYT's cowardice and how journalists across the political spectrum missed the boat. Will it be a lesson?

"The irony that Serwer notes -- and I completely agree -- is that in claiming they were working so hard not to take "a side," the journalists who wouldn't call waterboarding "torture" were absolutely taking a side and handing a victory to the Bush administration, which convinced newspapers to stop unambiguously describing this crime as they had done for decades prior to 2004. It's a tactic that has continued to this day. It's the reason why Cheney-- who'd been nearly invisible when he was in power -- and Yoo were suddenly all over the place beginning on Jan. 21, 2009, because they were desperately trying to keep framing this debate as the newspapers had, that their torture tactics were a public, political disagreement, and not a war crime."

http://www.alternet.org/media/147396/the_appalling_cowardice_of_the_ny_times_and_the_rest_of_america%27s_big_newspapers_--_too_scared_to_say_%27torture%27/?page=2

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

What do you want to do, keep paying census workers to do nothing? We all knew these were temp jobs. They shouldn't have counted then and they shouldn't matter now.

Posted by: obrier2 | July 2, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

@obrier

As long as your consistent, then I won't argue that much. As an engineer, I'm about just being straightforward. If the number of people hired is up, no matter what the job is, include it. If the number of people laid off is up, include it.

The President just attempted to play the "census workers don't count" game as well, by noting that we've had 6 straight months of commerical job growth. I do remember the Adminstration focusing on the commerical numbers before, but they also didn't seem eager to bring up census workers when the topline numbers looked good. They seem to be trying to thread the needle a little.

I wish they'd just stick with one. Parsing annoys me.

However, it annoys me less than say...blocking unemployment benefits. Or actively trying to screw up our recovery in hopes of doing well in an election.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Michael Steele says dip in unemployment "should" be welcome news but should be taken with "grain of salt." statement added above.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 2, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

Steele also may have given Dems a way to try and change the subject...

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/steele-afgahnistan-a-war-of-obamas-choosing-that-us-didnt-want-video.php?ref=fpa

Steele on Afghanistan:

"Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in."

...

How dumb of Obama...starting that war in Afghanistan!

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

And to Mr. Cantor and Mr. Steele the question still must be asked - what is your solution? What will you do different than George W. Bush did to get us into this situation? What new policies do you have to offer.

Can someone explain to me why nobody asks these clowns (and McConnell and Boehner) to explain the nice, easy to understand chart that shows that the current deficit is a result of Bush Tax Cuts, Bush wars and the Bush Recession? Are reporters not allowed to ask these guys questions with numbers anymore?

Slighlty off topic but the clown Michael Steele:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/steele-afgahnistan-a-war-of-obamas-choosing-that-us-didnt-want-video.php

Apparently he is dumber than we thought. Somehow he can't remember who actually invaded Afgahnistan or how long we've been there.

Posted by: zattarra | July 2, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Well republicans trashed the economy in the first place and then tried to water down every single jobs and economic recovery bill that Obama has proposed. I guess they should feel satisfied at the poor employmen numbers, knowing they helped make it happen.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 2, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

+83,000 jobs is actually pretty good.

"Private employment, considered a better measure of labor market health, rose 83,000 in June, less than market expectations for a 112,000 gain."

So they were expecting 112k...

Just a hunch, but I bet when they revise the June total next month the 83k gets revised up towards that 112k number.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 2, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"Taking into account revisions to prior months, the U.S. economy added an average of around 150,000 jobs a month in the first half"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704898504575342593039984442.html

+150,000 / month for the first six months out of a recession? Not bad! Not freakin' bad at all.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 2, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

In my state, and I bet many others, the national economic news is easily drowned out by the REALLY TERRIBLE state budget news/cuts. States are drowning in debt and cutting services drastically. Today's Trib makes it clear that the majority of the cuts, by far, are in education, assistance to the disabled and mentally ill, and police/fire.

It's getting pretty scary out here and it's not abstract.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 2, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

All, you really have to watch this video of Michael Steele:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/michael_steele_speaks_truth_to.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 2, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan

Sorry, but +83,000 isn't "good". We need to add about 125-150k just to keep up with the workforce. So on straight numbers, we're still shrinking.

What we can say is that +83,000 in the private sector is "not terrible". After the freefall we were in, "not terrible" is still an better place to be. But we need to start making real strides soon, because patience is wearing thin out there...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

BG, I was reading this morning that now that the state budget negotiations are underway Schwarzenegger is trying to slash over 200k hourly state worker's wages to the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. It's in the courts but the first round was upheld and it's under appeal right now. He's using it as a wedge to get the Legislature to conform to his spending cuts.

With the Feds not being able to pass the aid to states, we're all going to see services and education cuts this year. I've been going to our city council meetings on a regular basis since last year and our budget is pretty grim. City Hall is barely functioning and fire and police protection is far below our normal standard. You're right it's getting a little scary.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

If you are NOT scared at the prospect of republicons gaining control of anything from your local school board through the congress you have not ben paying attention for the last 30 years, and especially not the last 10. Voting republicon is like giving an arsonist on a weekend parole pass a gerry can full of gasoline and a brand new zippo.

Posted by: John1263 | July 2, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

If you are NOT scared at the prospect of republicons gaining control of anything from your local school board through the congress you have not ben paying attention for the last 30 years, and especially not the last 10. Voting republicon is like giving an arsonist on a weekend parole pass a gerry can full of gasoline and a brand new zippo.

Posted by: John1263 | July 2, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"""Sorry, but +83,000 isn't "good"."""

I disagree. Under current conditions? When we are just getting out of a massive recession? It's GREAT! It's not the 150k we need, but as I posted above, we ARE on track to sustainable growth as we have grown on average 150K per month for the first six months of the year. THAT fact considering the environment is INCREDIBLE. Imho!

"But we need to start making real strides soon, because patience is wearing thin out there..."

I know patience is wearing thin, but honestly? TOUGH! This is the economy America voted for in 2000 and 2004. The effects of the Bush policies were not fully felt until 2007. Reversing the effects of these policies will take YEARS, if not decades. We now need to OWN that reality and move on. Going forward, we can do things to help spur job creation, but hiring in the private sector is determined largely by events that are beyond the control of President Obama or even Congress. For example, hiring would have been MUCH BETTER if it weren't for the Greece/Euro crisis in May/June. That's why I think the June private sector jobs total will be revised up. While the crisis has played havoc with Wall Street, I think our private sector IS growing in the right places (manufacturing, education, medical).

There is a long way to go, but I am feeling good about these numbers today.

And I know how hard it is out there, and I don't mean to be callus with my "tough!" comment, but people are deluded if they think there is a way to add +8 million jobs to the private sector in a matter a year or two. Simply not possible. If you don't like it, don't vote for the Republicans who got us in this mess. What is needed now is to continue emergency spending on benefits and jobs at the state level to dampen the effects of the budget emergencies at the state level. And some GOOD NEWS. That's really about it. Again, considering the current environment, we're doing fine. And with FinReg about to pass, HCR kicking in, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Energy/Climate Reform on the horizon, there is a LOT to be optimistic about for the economy over the next few years. That optimism will carry forward for decades as we experience massive growth in new domestic industries like medical tech and cleantech.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 2, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"in other words, census workers don't count, except when they get laid off?"

Per Jonah at NRO:

"Okey dokey: Noted! The numbers sucked despite the census hirings inflating them upwards. The numbers suck now, despite the census firings deflating them downwards. I don't think that admission is as hard for conservatives to make as the {Sargents and BBQs] think it is.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

What an insult. Are Americans reacting with fear? Of course, there is much to be concerned about. But to cast the election as a matter who's boogie man can beat the other guy's is just insulting to Americans.

Typical Sargent. Just about the most liberal of the writers in the WaPo stable.

And I wonder about the buzz on Klein's journolist. How will the "reporters" collude to spin this such that the liberal agenda is advanced?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 2, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Here is a perfect illustration of why I am optimistic:

http://calculatedriskimages.blogspot.com/2010/07/employment-recessions-june-2010.html

Look at the red dotted line. That is the jobs differential without the census jobs. Still moving up despite the gloom and doom.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"But to cast the election as a matter who's boogie man can beat the other guy's is just insulting to Americans."

Ha. Were you in a coma during the 2000s?

The whole GOP platform was fear.

Shoot, the power point presentation left behind after a Republican conference EXPLICITLY STATED the ways the GOP was going to use fear in 2010.

Bunk comments by skipsailing28.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 2, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

For heaven's sake, the policies and practices of the Republican Party led to the private sector nearly destroying the economy. The GOP is counting on voters forgetting who got us into this mess. The Democrats are quite prudent to remind the voters. Why would we want to put the folks who got us into this mess back in charge? It's simply insane.

The Obama administration has had to spend a ton of time cleaning up the mess the Bush administration left behind. I've seen first hand how the Obama administration has turned the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development around 180 degrees, from a corrupt federal agency that ignored and broke the law into one that is not only following the law, but actually enforcing it for the first time in 36 years! It's a major change that the media has ignored.

Posted by: dl49 | July 2, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

DUMP OBAMA! CLINTON IN 2012! THAT'S THE ONLY WAY WE DEMOCRATS CAN RETAIN POWER! OBAMA IS POISON TO THE PARTY!!!

Posted by: georges2 | July 2, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

in response to:
===================
"But to cast the election as a matter who's boogie man can beat the other guy's is just insulting to Americans."

Ha. Were you in a coma during the 2000s?

The whole GOP platform was fear.

Shoot, the power point presentation left behind after a Republican conference EXPLICITLY STATED the ways the GOP was going to use fear in 2010.

Bunk comments by skipsailing28.

=================

so are you saying that if the republicans did it, it is OK for the Democrats too? So the entire political campaign is exactly as I described it.

Thanks for proving my point.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

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