Mr. President, Job Creation and Energy Security are No Laughing Matters

Things just keep getting worse for President Obama. After a summer chock full of scandals and policy setbacks, Obama’s approval ratings continued their summer-long tumble. The president’s latest approval rating fell to just 41 percent – the lowest it has been in more than a year and a half.

The ratings plummet comes on the heels of Obama’s string of jobs-related speeches. The push was, in nearly every way, an abject failure. From a policy perspective it was clear that the speeches were mostly bland, re-heated ideas that have already been ignored by Americans and passed over by his own party. Politically speaking, things were even worse. The lack of a true plan showed that the White House may have already run out of ideas, and the attempt to blame the GOP made him seem partisan and insincere about truly fixing the problem. As Charles Krauthammer said:

“I find it astonishing that he goes around making speeches in which he deplores the state of the economy, the growing income inequality, chronic unemployment, staggering middle class income, and it’s as if he has been a bystander, as if he’s been out of the country for the last five years. It’s his economy; he’s the president.”

It’s little surprise then that despite Obama’s push recent polls find that the number of people who rate the economy as good or excellent is unchanged since December. Indeed, if there has been any change it has been to the negative. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 31 percent of American think the economy will be better in the next 12 months – down from 38 percent since December.

What Obama needs isn’t more speeches, it’s workable solutions that can create jobs without asking taxpayers for more money. Fortunately, he’s got one right under his nose in the Keystone Pipeline.

This should be a no brainer. The Keystone Pipeline is far from a Republican-only issue. Indeed, in March the Democrat-led Senate approved the pipeline by a vote of 62-to-37 as an amendment to the budget. All told, 17 Democrats voted for the proposal. Among the supporters were Sen. Max Baucus, who said “we need the jobs and the energy independence it provides more than ever,” and Sen. Mary Landrieu who said the project “not only will create thousands of jobs and inject billions of dollars into our economy, it will strengthen our energy security by allowing us to import more oil from our trusted friend and ally Canada, instead of from Venezuela or nations in the Middle East.”

But in a shark rebuke to Keystone supporters within his own party, President Obama laughed at the benefits of the project in a recent interview with the New York Times.

“Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator,” Obama said. “There is no evidence that that’s true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline – which might take a year or two – and then after than we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs.”

First off, the president isn’t an a position to laugh at any amount of job creation given the years-long malaise under his watch. And second, some reporters did look into the facts, and boy did they come up with a different conclusion. Here’s what the Washington Post Fact Checker had to say:

“Predictions of possible jobs are always fraught with complications, guesstimates and fuzzy math, so they often should be taken with a grain of salt. No one really knows exactly how many jobs will be created. So maybe the president is right to be skeptical.

But the president shouldn’t pick and choose how he cites job-creation numbers. Perhaps he is tipping his hand on what he secretly thinks of the Keystone XL by citing a low-ball figure, generated by the pipeline’s opponents, but he should stick to using the official government estimate.”

Politifact and the Associated Press reached a similar conclusion.

While Obama attempts to laugh off an infrastructure investment that would create jobs, reduce our reliance on unstable energy sources, and arguably decrease emissions by preventing the oil’s sales to less environmentally friendly nations (ahem, China), Republicans are serious.

“The President is so out of touch with unemployed Americans that he thinks tens of thousands of Keystone XL construction jobs are a ‘blip,’ and ‘not a jobs plan,” Senator Tim Scott said in the Weekly Republican remarkets. “In fact, President Obama’s failed leadership on energy policy will cost every American family more when you buy food at the grocery store, take a family vacation, or turn your air conditioner on this summer.”

Americans deserve better. And they know it. And until Obama realizes it for himself, expect his job ratings to continue their steady decline.