The Republican austerity agenda is continuing to hamper job growth, making Obama’s defeat in 2012 all the more likely.

Today’s jobs numbers were better than expected, but as Matthew Yglesias points out, a fundamental problem remains — private sector jobs are growing slowly, but public sector jobs are being lost. Yet Republicans want to cut more government spending — curtailing consumer demand in a desperately weak economy.

The press release from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in response to today’s jobs report implicitly highlights the GOP’s interest in keeping the economy from growing:

Today’s jobs report reminds us that unemployment remains unacceptably high and that is a direct result of President Obama’s unwillingness to provide leadership on the economy. Rather than focusing like a laser on growing a strong and healthy American economy, President Obama is punishing job creators at every turn and devoting his attention to saving his own job. After 30 straight months above 8% unemployment, it’s time for President Obama to quit passing the buck, take responsibility for the economy and institute a pro-growth jobs agenda to get Americans back to work.

The irony of Priebus attacking Obama for wanting to “save his own job” rather than addressing unemployment is that nothing would do more for Obama’s reelection chances than a growing economy. Political scientists are seeing doom in the numbers — precisely because the economy hasn’t recovered.

Yet Republicans are actively pursuing policies that make the problem worse, and then attacking the president for the results. I’m not a mind reader, but it all seems awfully convenient, doesn’t it?