With his latest "pivot" back to jobs and the economy (plus an alleged better deal for the middle class), President Obama blames Republicans for an "endless parade of distractions," including "phony scandals" in the IRS and investigations of Benghazi, for diverting attention from jobs and the economy. With his latest "pivot" back to those paramount issues, it's worth recalling that the biggest distractions have been health care, immigration reform, gun control, global warming and, most recently, Trayvon Martin. And who was behind those distractions? The guy in the Oval Office.
In fact, Organizing for Action, the non-profit that grew out of Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, has proclaimed this month "Action August" during which time it will push Congress to act on gun control, immigration, Obamacare and climate change. Note that jobs and economic growth aren't on OFA's list.
The closest Obama has come this year to dealing with jobs and the economy was during the fiscal cliff crisis in January. Even then, the fiscal cliff wasn't what Obama wanted most to talk about, which was gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Based on the faulty premise that banning guns would make the world safer, the president and his Democratic cohorts set about making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to arm themselves.
Then came immigration reform. Amid much hullabaloo and praise for the Senate Gang of Eight, a massive, 1,000-plus-page immigration bill was introduced and, with only a few hours to read the final version of the bill, the Senate passed it. The measure's bipartisan support in the Senate notwithstanding, it is going nowhere in the House because most House members have more important things to deal with, like generating new jobs and economic growth.
About the same time, Obamacare became a distraction when the president unilaterally decided to delay the employer mandate for a year so businesses won't be fined until 2015 for failing to provide health insurance to employees. That move prompted the latest unsuccessful effort by House Republicans to defund Obamacare, which won't happen as long as Obama is president and Harry Reid runs the Senate. Again, little or no jobs focus.
Obama also outlined in a June address his latest push to address global warming - mostly through executive actions and regulations. While he can claim that immigration reform and Obamacare will help the economy - a doubtful proposition at best - it is very difficult for the president to argue that job-killing, anti-global warming regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency will somehow lead to increased employment.
Finally, there was the Obama speech, White House statement and press conference following the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. All that had to do with jobs and the economy was to demonstrate yet again that no matter how often he pivots, Obama is content to give a few widely reported speeches before returning to his real agenda - enlarging the role of government through regulation and increased spending. This latest pivot won't be any different.