It's The Economy, Stupid

It was very instructive to see what issue President Obama emphasized before leaving on an eight day trip to Asia.  Let's put it this way:  it was not health care.

It was the economy, and the rising number of unemployed in America.

"Even though we've slowed the loss of jobs," Mr. Obama said, "the economic growth that we've seen has not yet led to the job growth that we desperately need.

The President used his remarks to announced a jobs summit at the White House in December, an effort he said "to encourage and accelerate job creation in this country."

Former President Bill Clinton had made the point in his talk with Senate Democrats on Tuesday that it was important to finish health care legislation this year, so that Mr. Obama could focus on the economy.

It makes a lot of sense politically.

Let's face it.  If you are a Democrat running for election in 2010, you are hoping against hope that the jobless rate comes down below 10% nationally.

Because if it doesn't, you might be looking for a new job yourself.

Democrats are caught in a jam here of their own making.  The economic stimulus law was not so much economic stimulus as it was a supplemental spending bill designed to enlarge the federal government.

Instead of a massive infrastructure improvement program for roads and bridges, you got a multi-billion dollar program at the Commerce Department that will partly track hi speed internet service nationally.  (That's on page 421 if you don't believe me.)

As I have said on the air in recent months, if you are out of work or looking for a new job, come to the Washington, D.C. area.

With all of the new spending for the federal government, this region is still doing pretty well.

The unemployment rate in Maryland is 7.2 percent; in Virginia it is 6.7 percent; while in Washington, D.C., the jobless rate is at 11.4 percent.

But back to the political side of this story.

The Republican mantra in recent months has been "Where are the jobs?"

For the GOP, the answer might be, "In the Congress" in 2010, as they are poised to make big gains next year.

Health care may be important, but the overall health of the economy will likely determine the future employement of many members of the House and Senate on the Democratic Party side.

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