Elisabeth touched on this development below, but certain ironies are too delicious not to explore further. Let's begin by recalling the president's urgent exhortations for Congress to pass his warmed-over, unpaid-for, numbingly expensive so-called jobs bill "right away:"
The entire point of Obama's antagonistic performance before the joint session of Congress last month was to convince the American people that he's doing something about the nation's chronic unemployment rate (which is forecasted to decay, then hold through next year, by the way), and to cast Republicans as a pack of intractable do-nothings. The White House's political calculus was straightforward: Obama offers a plan (the details of which are almost immaterial), Harry Reid's Senate votes on it (best case scenario: Republicans filibuster), and House Republicans refuse to take up the bill (or, even better, defeat it). When that tableau played out, Obama's spinmeisters plotted, Obama would pounce on the GOP's inaction and browbeat them at campaign stops in "every corner of this country." As I wrote at the time, the purpose of the speech was not to introduce a jobs-creation plan; it was to deploy a job-preservation strategy for himself.
But the brilliant ploy has hit a snag: Congressional Democrats aren't cooperating. Numerous vulnerable Democrats have balked at the plan, forcing Senate Democratic leadership to concede that they don't have the votes within their own caucus to pass the bill. Even better, the White House's top legislative priority has exactly zero co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. Obama can carp about Eric Cantor all he wants, but the fact of the matter is that Cantor's Democratic counterpart, Steny Hoyer, hasn't bothered to co-sponsor the bill Cantor's crew is supposedly blocking. Cantor, incidentally, hasn't ruled out broad Republican support for certain elements of the president's plan. What an obstructionist.
Speaking in Dallas today, Obama griped that "Congress" (read: "Republicans") should "at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every Member of Congress stands." Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell decided to oblige. "I'd like to give [President Obama] that vote," he said, moving to attach the president's fully-intact plan as an amendment to another piece of legislation -- thus ensuring the "jobs" bill would receive a vote in the upper chamber. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promptly blocked the manuever by "filling the tree" on the original bill, which prevents any amendments from being added. He called the GOP's attempt to comply with the president's demands a "publicity stunt." When Republicans tauntingly countered that they were simply bowing to Obama's request that Congress act on his bill "right away," Reid responded with his patented brand of buffoonery: "Right away is a relative term." I kid you not. I'll let Reuters deliver the final punchline, from a story entitled, "Obama's jobs bill falls to pieces in Congress:"
"Nobody is all that excited about the president's jobs bill," a senior Democratic aide said.
So Obama's jobs act doesn't have a single Democratic co-sponsor in the House, and Democrats in the Senate have pulled out all the procedural stops to block even a vote on a bill their party's president insists must be passed right away...and the Obama campaign is blasting out emails ripping Republicans for obstructionism. Pardon me as I laugh my ass off at the ineptitude. Speaking of ineptitude, let's also take a moment to reflect on Senate Democrats' 8-8-8 plan. No, I'm not talking about liberals' alternative to Herman Cain's tax proposal, I'm talking about the 888-day anniversary of the last time Harry Reid's motley crew deigned to introduce a budget, which they're required by statute to do every year. Good work, guys.
UPDATE - It's even more incredible to watch:
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