Zeke Miller points out that on the usual first Friday of the month for the past year or so, reporters and bloggers could expect their in-boxes to get Republican head-shaking, finger-pointing responses to the latest government jobs report within minutes of its announcement at 8:30 AM ET. This morning? It was the cricket chorus while the pre-written GOP press releases were scrapped and hastily rewritten to deal with the fact that the latest report was the strongest in a very, very long time.
It must have been a tight-lipped half-hour for what blogger Brent Budowsky so aptly labels the "Hope America Fails" Republicans. Because, while there are concerns to be found when one drills down into the jobs data, the headline figures, the "optics" of the report as it were, are excellent election-year news for the Democrats and for President Obama. Not to mention the millions of Americans struggling to find work.
So it was no surprise that the first public Republican reactions, coming in at 9:08 AM, sounded a bit like stutters. House Speaker John Boehner:
“While there are flickers of hope in our recovery and certainly they’re welcome,” the speaker said. “But the American people were promised by the president that unemployment would not exceed 8 percent. And here we are 36 straight months with unemployment over 8 percent.”
And House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
“After several years of bad jobs news, we are finally seeing some good news in today’s jobs report,” Cantor said in a statement. “These numbers are encouraging, especially for those millions of Americans out of work, but we should aim even higher. We shouldn't settle, we can do more, this is America.”
Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Ronald Reagan led a faster recovery from a “more difficult, deeper recession” that he inherited (a claim disputed by economists who say the two recessions were extremely different and uncomparable in many ways).
And Mitt Romney:
“We welcome the fact that jobs were created and unemployment declined,” Romney said in a statement. “Unfortunately, these numbers cannot hide the fact that President Obama's policies have prevented a true economic recovery. We can do better.”
This from the guys whose party has been voting against even modest Democratic efforts to put Americans back to work following the most devastating economic downturn since Model T's were the most common car on the road. From a guy who doesn't care about poor people and who enjoys firing people. From congressional leaders who have done their damnedest to curtail programs like unemployment insurance meant to ease some of the pain of those without work. From the cohort of politicians which seeks to cut big holes in the safety net designed to shield Americans from the worst effects of recessions and the other vagaries of an economy riven by top-down class warfare.
Their hemming and hawing would be hilarious if their policy initiatives weren't so pernicious. May every month until November make them equally speechless.