* First look: I’m told that SEIU is launching a $1.5 million campaign, including TV and radio ads and direct mail, that’s designed to shift the conversation to jobs, and away from austerity, in six key swing states where unemployment is running very high.
The campaign, an SEIU official tells me, is meant to counteract ads being run by high profile conservative groups that are pushing an austerity agenda among voters who are struggling economically — and will pressure House Republicans to prioritize job creation over tax breaks for corporations and the rich.
Here’s the TV spot, to run in Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Virginia:
“Tomorrow we’re launching an expensive campaign to push the issue of jobs back to where it belongs — in the forefront of the public discourse in Congress,” SEIU political director Brandon Davis tells me. “We’ve seen a large investment from Crossroads and other groups trying to frame the debate in key areas where folks are really struggling and looking for answers.”
Davis acknowledged that Democrats in Congress, too, had been complicit in steering the conversation away from jobs and towards deficit reduction, but said Republicans should bear the brunt of the blame. He said Republicans should be the focal point of the campaign because they control the House and the Republican austerity vision is dominant in Congress right now.
“Rather than creating jobs by cutting taxes on the wealthy and hoping that it trickles down to the rest of us, we want to reframe and present an alternative theory that is more likely to create jobs,” he said. “Record low approval ratings for Congress speak to the fact that folks feel like there’s nothing of value going on here. We want to move whatever needs to move to get jobs created.”
The campaign reflects a sense among liberal groups and labor that deficit mania has hijacked the conversation to a truly alarming extent — lowering expectations for government action on the economy to the point where officials have essentially given up.
* A key number from the new Post poll: Only 26 percent are confident the Federal government can solve economic problems, which could help explain why the idea of further government spending to create jobs has essentially vanished from the conversation.
Still: It’s also worth noting that only 18 percent are confident in Republicans to make the right decisions for our economic future, versus 33 percent who are confident in Obama.
Also: A majority agrees with Standard and Poors that our political system has become dangerously unstable.
* Get this: Dem Rep. John Larson says we should have a “super-committee” that also tackles job creation in addition to the deficit! That’s a good one.
* Encouraging: Steve Stromberg takes an unsparing look at the GOP leadership’s decision to stack the debt ceiling “super-committee” with ideologues that simply aren’t going to seek meaningful compromise with Dems on taxes or anything else.
* Sam Stein does a demolition job on Michele Bachmann’s thoroughly phony image as a crusading Tea Party warrior queen that vanquishes any signs of Big Government that cross her path. Cliff notes version: It turns out she kinda likes government spending — on herself.
* Poor Tim Pawlenty. As Erin McPike reports, Bachmann continues to overshadow him on the campaign trail with her superior speaking skills, which seems horribly humiliating.
Also note the voter who says: “She seems much more electable.”
* A great point from Scott Bland: Dems may have lost in Wisconsin, but the numbers show they made inroads among blue collar whites, which could bode well for 2012.
* A smart but pessimistic take from Harold Meyerson on what Wisconsin’s outcome means for the fate of organized labor.
* Wisconsin Dems vow to press ahead with plans to recall Scott Walker, and they hope the recall election coincides with Election Day 2012.
* Jonathan Bernstein on why liberal worries about Dems signaling (already) a willing to compromise on the super committee may be overstated.
* And Pete King’s latest: He accuses the White House of helping with a movie about Bin Laden in a way that will compromise national security. His evidence? A Maureen Dowd column.
What else is going on?