at the top of Washington's priority list
Which do you think should be more important for the Obama administration: reducing the deficit, even if unemployment might remain high or creating more jobs, even if it might mean less deficit reduction?
Reduce deficit: 30
Create jobs: 68
Reduce deficit: 44
Create jobs: 54
Reduce deficit: 32
Create jobs: 66
Reduce deficit: 16
Create jobs: 83
You see those numbers? It's not just a majority of Americans. It's a majority of Republicans! Everybody wants Obama to put job creation first.
Even the tea party is split right down the middle:
TEA PARTY SUPPORTERS
Reduce deficit: 50
Create jobs: 48
President Obama and his team need to read this poll and come to grips with its numbers. The last several months have been a disastrous distraction, a horrible mistake on both a political and human level. Republicans have taken control of the agenda and the results couldn't be worse.
It's time for President Obama to point that out. I'm not saying he should wave a magic wand and convince Republicans that Keynesian economics works. He can't do that and it would be foolish to believe that he could; Republicans will never, ever agree to do anything constructive unless they have no other choice.
But it would be equally foolish to believe that President Obama can keep on playing the same game he's been playing without destroying his presidency. He's been trying to seek common ground all year long, and now not only are his job approval ratings at a record low, but we just ended a string of ten straight months with job growth.
It's time for President Obama to change direction and put all of his energy into making the case for policies that will actually increase demand, grow the economy, and create jobs. If by some miracle, he manages to get Republicans to agree, that's great. If not, at least we'll know what the 2012 election is about. But the one thing we cannot afford is to keep on doing the same stuff that we've been doing. It's just not working.