D-Day for Dems: Create jobs or lose

The new Gallup poll shows Republicans pulling ahead of Democrats in generic preference for the 2010 congressional elections by a margin of 48 percent to 44. These numbers are “big scary” for Democrats.

In my column Wednesday I wrote point by point about the real jobless rate of 17.5 percent that doesn’t begin to measure the full pain of voters, while neither the president nor Congress is viewed as fighting for more jobs.

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What happened to the Democratic Party that historically championed working people and now sleepwalks during the greatest crisis for working people since the Great Depression?

When President Barack Obama recently claimed credit for the GDP reaching 3.5 percent, he was oblivious to the huge swath of Americans who are savagely hurt during this so-called recovery. When the president says we must “grind our way through” the pain of joblessness, he sends the message that he does not get it.

The president and Democrats in Congress were elected to govern. They will be held responsible. The president was elected by a significant margin with the broad good will of the nation. Democrats were elected to large majorities in the House and the Senate.

And yet: After a stimulus bill that was modestly written and slowly administered, the jobs crisis was virtually forgotten by the president and Congress.

The stimulus did make the situation somewhat better, but not nearly enough. The lack of urgency since then in fighting to create jobs is a catastrophic mistake of economics and politics.

Fearful and hurting voters elected Democrats to make their economic life better.

This is the No. 1 issue, by far. Disgruntled voters giving Republicans a four-point generic lead for 2010 are sending Democrats a powerful message they ignore at their peril. There is no political spin that can substitute for this and no Democratic strategist who can explain it away.

The Gallup four-point generic lead for Republicans translates into major GOP gains in 2010. Most economists believe the jobless rate will rise even higher in the coming months, which augurs very poorly for Democrats.

To make matters worse, the depression among voters who supported Obama and Democrats in 2006 and 2008 is significant and appears destined to grow. In 2009, many young people stayed home. Many progressives stayed home. Many African-Americans stayed home. Many first-time voters from 2008 stayed home. Many liberal and moderate independents stayed home. If this continues, the Democratic performance will lag behind their generic vote preference.

Democrats must understand: It’s about jobs, stupid.

It’s all about jobs. Where is the urgency about jobs from the president, the Congress and the media, including mainstream, conservative and liberal media?

The voters are shouting from the rooftops. Nobody is listening. The number of voters who believe the country is on the wrong track is rising. Support for Democrats is falling.

Democrats must fight for jobs. Offer the olive branch to Republicans for bipartisan jobs programs, but fight for the jobs, and fight hard, and go to the country to wage this fight.

We need some tax cuts to jumpstart the middle class. We need some public works to rebuild decaying infrastructure. We must go to the banks that are refusing to lend and ripping off hundreds of millions of credit cardholders during this Dickensian Christmas season and, one way or the other, force them to end their war against American consumers and American small business that destroys jobs in every community of the nation.

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner should push hard for banks to cut interest rates lower and lend to consumers and small businesses. If he fails, he should be replaced.

The president must lead and Democrats must fight for jobs with a sense of urgency, passion, mission and focus that is totally lacking today.
Democrats will fight to create jobs by November 2010 or Democrats will lose big in November 2010. It is that simple.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.