There’s been a great deal of chatter about whether labor will soften its support for Obama and Dems in 2012, but for now, unions can throw resources into a big push to get the part of his agenda passed that they do support: His jobs proposals.
That’s exactly what’s about to happen: I’m told that AFSCME is launching a significant six figure ad campaign on behalf of the American Jobs Act — the opening salvo in what AFSCME says will be a sustained effort to promote Obama’s bill.
Crucially, the ad campaign will make the case that creating jobs is the best way to reduce the deficit, in an effort to counter the trend among Washington lawmakers towards prioritizing deficit reduction independent of — and instead of — job creation.
Here’s the first ad, which is set to air tomorrow in Orlando, Florida, to greet the GOP presidential candidates before their debate there, and on national cable:
As pictures of kids flash on the screen, the voiceover says:
It’s pretty simple. The more jobs we create now, the less Federal debt they’ll have to carry later. Because jobs not only put food on the table. They put revenue in the treasury. And money in the marketplace. More jobs equal less debt. Even our kids can understand that. Tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act. Now. Not just for us, but for our children.
Well, maybe our kids can understand that, but many members of Congress don't seem to be able — or willing — to grasp it.
Seriously, the ad is an effort to coopt and disarm a major conservative talking point — that we need to deal with the deficit right now for the sake of future generations — and convert it into a case for immediate job creation. I’m told the ad will be followed by other spots in various markets across the country, and other efforts, such as field events, online actions, and leafleting.
The larger context here is interesting. The deficit supercommittee is set to meet to figure out a way to cut at least $1.5 trillion from the deficit — yet it’s unclear whether job creation will play any meaningful role in its mission, even though unemployment is chronically high and more jobs would help reduce the deficit.
So the ad is an effort to spell out the folly of Washington’s priorities in Dick-and-Jane speak, in language that even a child — if not a Member of Congress — can understand.
UPDATE: Ben Smith makes a smart point about the ad: It’s a “sign of the power of the arguments about deficit and debt when even AFSCME is touting the jobs plan as a fiscal measure.”
The only way to break through, given Washington’s deficit obsession, is to put the need for jobs into that context.