President Obama told a crowd at a stump speech in Pittsburgh on Tuesday that “today would be the moment of truth” and the day where “we find out exactly where our Senators stand” on the jobs bill.
The Democratically controlled U.S. Senate declined to pass the American Jobs Act on Tuesday, and thereby gave President Barack Obama the moment of truth that he predicted, but I’m unsure if he knew just how much truth would come from this moment.
The first truth that came out was how tepid the support is for the bill from the President’s fellow Democrats. That wasn’t a terribly surprising moment of truth, especially since you have not seen a large variety of Democrats helping President Obama on his current stump tour. However, I am sure that this was still a sobering moment of truth for everyone involved to see two Senate Democrats actually vote against the bill even being debated.
What this particular moment of truth showed wasn’t just the state of the support for the bill among Democrats, but it also made a big strike against the argument that Republicans are the only ones standing in the way of this bill.
If the Senate was able to push the bill to the point where Republicans had to be the bad guys, President Obama and his fellow Democrats could accuse the GOP of standing in the way of a good idea, a spark for our economy.
However, that argument is moot since Democrats themselves helped shelve the proposal. Republicans are not the only bad guys on this bill anymore.
Another truth that came out of this moment was the proof that the proposal of the bill was strictly about political campaigning and not about passing legitimate legislation. If President Obama really wanted to see this bill have a chance of passing, or at the very least get it to the House to put some real pressure on the GOP, he would have secured Senate support before presenting it.
With the Senate treating the bill like a passed bowl of Brussel Sprouts, it is clear that little to no background work was done to garner key Senate backing. That backing would have been needed if Obama planned to get the bill out of the Senate. However, that backing would be unnecessary if Obama knew that the entire bill was simply a political tool.
President Obama has announced that he intends to break up the bill into smaller parts, and have it passed piecemeal. That strategy may end up being successful, but it will be much harder for Obama to claim a major victory over the passage of different pieces of his legislation.
The other problem with that strategy is that it opens up the GOP to a major, “I told you so” moment. From the very beginning, many Republican lawmakers said that they would be willing to consider this bill in pieces, but not in total. They are now going to get their wish.
President Obama was absolutely right that Tuesday’s vote in the Senate would be a moment of truth. However, thanks to his fellow Democrats, it told far more truth than I think he ever intended.
About The Blogger
- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.