The Washington Post

Obama’s job bill woes

The telltale signs of a failing presidency: His proposals are rejected out of hand, his own party ignores him and his opponents don’t fear him. That sums up where things stand on the president’s jobs bill and on the Obama presidency more generally.

The Hill reports:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday said President Obama’s jobs package is dead, rejecting the president’s demand hours earlier that Congress move his legislation by the end of the month.

Cantor said the House would not bring up the president’s American Jobs Act for a vote as a whole, but by the end of the month would move forward with elements supported by GOP leaders, including three pending trade agreements and a reduction in the withholding tax for businesses. . . .

A number of congressional Democrats have yet to endorse the bill, however, and Cantor needled the president on that point Monday. “I think from a purely practical standpoint, the president’s got some whipping to do on his own side of the aisle,” the majority leader said.

The president’s response has been his usual mix of petulance and obtuseness. His press secretary said he’s not interested in “negotiat[ing] away aspects of the bill that are not controversial, are broadly supported by the American public broadly supported by Democrats and Republicans, before there’s a chance to vote on the entire bill.” He’s going to the country to campaign for it, he warns.

That said, Democrats have made clear they aren’t thrilled with the bill. Reuters reports:

Prospects for passage in the Senate appeared doubtful as most legislation needs support from both parties in order to advance. All but a handful of Republicans will vote against it, according to a Republican aide, and several Democrats are likely to oppose it as well.

Moderate Democrats in the Senate have objected to some of the tax increases Obama has proposed to pay for the bill.

“Nobody is all that excited about the president’s jobs bill,” a senior Democratic aide said.

So President Obama is going to hit the road in support of the bill that his own congressional allies don’t like. The Republicans’ reaction? Knock yourself out, Mr. President. The Democrats’ response? I’m sure those in unsafe seats hope he won’t be coming to their locales.

Meanwhile, the president’s approval ratings sink further. The Post-ABC poll shows: “Obama’s approval rating — while not significantly different from a month ago — is at a new career low, his disapproval number at a new high. In all, 42 percent approve of the job he is doing, while 54 percent disapprove. Barely more than a third of independents give the president positive marks, as 60 percent now disapprove, a new high. For the first time, fewer than half of moderates approve of the way Obama is handling his job.”

At this rate it’s hard to see how Obama could turn his fortunes around. Those remain largely a function of the economy, which forecasters now say will deliver an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent next year. The Republicans could still blow their chance to recapture the White House, but their margin for error is increasing.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

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