It’s 10 weeks now to the midterms. So what should be on Barack Obama’s Things To Do List — and what should be on the GOP’s?
CNN has this list for Obama.
Who’ll stick closest to the list? Who’ll be derailed or fall off message? (Take your bets now).
Right now it seems the GOP is poised to do at least one of them: getting the focus back on jobs. Agree with it or not, this seems right out of the CNN list:
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will call Tuesday for the mass firing of the Obama administration’s economic team, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House adviser Larry Summers, arguing that November’s midterm elections are shaping up as a referendum on sustained unemployment across the nation and saying the “writing is on the wall.”
Boehner, delivering what his aides billed as a major economic address, will say President Obama’s team lacks “real-world, hands-on experience” in creating jobs, according to a draft version of his speech that was released in advance. The Republican lawmaker plans to cite reports that some senior aides complained of “exhaustion,” including the recently departed budget chief Peter Orszag.
“President Obama should ask for – and accept – the resignations of the remaining members of his economic team, starting with Secretary Geithner and Larry Summers, the head of the National Economic Council,” Boehner says in the prepared remarks, which are scheduled for delivery at the City Club of Cleveland shortly after 8 a.m. The mass dismissal, he adds, “is no substitute for a referendum on the president’s job-killing agenda. That question will be put before the American people in due time. But we do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing ‘stimulus’ policies.”
Boehner’s demand for the ousters of Geithner and Summers is likely to be met with derision in the West Wing, and denounced as mere electioneering less than 75 days before the midterm election. Calls for cabinet officials to be fired is nothing new for the party out of power — during the Bush administration many Democrats called for the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a demand that was not met until Democrats swept the 2006 midterms.
Boehner is seeking to personalize mounting concerns among voters about Obama’s handling of the economic recovery. In his speech, he argues that Obama’s advisers unfairly highlight brief signs of marginal improvement to suggest a coming surge in job creation.
Even if it is a standard political ploy, it would from the GOP’s standpoint get the focus back on jobs and give the image of Republicans talking about jobs rather than a party with members who think Barack Obama is a Muslim, who call a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero at Ground Zero, who has a former House Speaker comparing Muslims to Nazis and that illegal immigrants’ infants are actually “terror babies” being “dropped” in the United States.
Which message will get out more solidly? The GOP message — and which message will the party be putting out the strongest? Or does Obama have the remaining clout to help if he campaigns, so the Dems can retain the House if the party also has strong candidates and a well-organized ground game?
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.