The Obama administration is finally going to focus on jobs -- again. Jobs, jobs, jobs. And nothing says jobs like food stamps, unemployment insurance and a shiny new federal department of ... yes, jobs!
Some of you may find President Barack Obama's three-day campaign bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois a considerable downer. Not that it's the president's fault. If it weren't for Japanese earthquakes, unpatriotic Republicans, Arab springs, European welfare states collapsing, market fluctuations, Lady Luck's being a complete witch -- you know, existence -- this mess could have been squared away months ago.
Now, granted, before long our attention will be appropriately focused on the antics of some extreme Christian dominionist or some C-plus-average state-school graduate. The press will soon gut and fillet these interlopers for the good of the nation. In the interim, though, it's becoming tough to conceal the administration's ideological rigidity and lack of ideas.
This week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was ready to "announce something that's never happened in this country" (never?!). If anyone had actually been paying attention, people might have imagined for a moment that a rogue idea had somehow bubbled up in a corner of the federal behemoth. Perhaps a great leap forward in genetic engineering? Or some new advance in nanotechnology?
Food stamps. The administration's announcement was to tout a new program expanding "economic stimulus" through food stamps. An idea Americans had "never" heard ... this week. Then again, considering the nation is awash in food stamps, this must portend a colossal recovery. So that's certainly good news.
Similarly, when a Wall Street Journal reporter recently asked the White House press secretary to explain the administration's contention that extending unemployment benefits would be an economic stimulus, Jay Carney answered, "Oh, uh, it is by, um, I would expect a reporter from The Wall Street Journal would know this as part of the entrance exam."
Remember that in Washington, there's no such thing as a stupid question, only dissembling flacks who can't answer tough ones.
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