So after ten months as President, Mr Obama has decided to focus on job creation.
President Obama plans to hold a White House forum on job creation next month, an attempt to signal his concern about the growing ranks of the unemployed and build consensus on future action to stoke the economy.
But wait! I thought that's what the $800 billion Stimulus was supposed to fix. Did I miss something?
Of course I'm being ironic. After all the months of the President and Vice-President trying to convince us what a great job creator the stimulus was, all of a sudden more needs to be done.
The real problem, and the real reason the President is suddenly focused on Jobs, has everything to do with the Democrats losing the governorships in New Jersy and Virginia. It was here that the President and the Democratic leadership finnally got through their heads that Health Care reform is not job one: Jobs and the Economy is.
In analyzing the election results, Steve Lombardo writing at Pollster.com notes:
The economy was a key driver of anti-incumbency sentiment last week and this will continue unless perceptions of economic performance improve. While the Dow is soaring again, unemployment has hit 10.2%. Despite the growing talk about a recovery, it has yet to hit Main Street. A recent Ipsos/McClatchy poll shows that only seven percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has "turned the corner." From most voter perspectives, the economy is still a mess and they are unsatisfied with the Democrats' response. This is confirmed by the exit polls:
• 89% of NJ voters were worried about the economy and Christie won 51% of the vote among them (Corzine 43%, Daggett 5%).
• 85% of VA voters were worried about economy and McDonnell won 63% - 36% among that group.
In short, voter attitudes regarding the direction of the country are really hurting the President and Democrats right now.
More Americans now say it is not the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%). This is a first since Gallup began tracking this question, and a significant shift from as recently as three years ago, when two-thirds said ensuring healthcare coverage was the government's responsibility.
What's more, Gallup found that 61% of people have decided that maintaining the current system of healhcare is preferable to letting the government run it.
Throughout this decade, a plurality of Americans have consistently favored maintaining the current system, although support has fluctuated. In November 2007, the edge for the private system over the government-run system was just 7 points, vs. a 31-point gap in 2004. The current 29-point gap is thus at the high end of the historical range.
Almost 9 out of 10 Republicans and Republican leaners favor maintaining the current healthcare system based mostly on private health insurance. Democrats and Democratic leaners favor the concept of replacing the current system with a government-run system, but Democratic opinion is less monolithic than Republican opinion; more than a third of Democrats would favor maintaining the current system.
The President's epiphany that people are worried about jobs and the economy more than healthcare is not about him feeling your pain, it's about him feeling the pain of the people who are required to help him pass his agenda. An agenda which includes passing healthcare.
Whether you want him to or not...