Politics

Senate Dem strategy: Blame ‘tea party economics’

C.J. Ciaramella Contributor

Senate Democrats can’t pass Obama’s jobs bill in one swoop, so who’s to blame? The tea party, apparently.

A memo from New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, suggests that his colleagues blame Republican opposition to President Obama’s jobs bill on “Tea Party economics” and warn the public of a coming “Tea Party recession,” should the jobs bill ultimately fail.

“In this debate over jobs, the tea party’s growing unpopularity has the potential to be the GOP’s Achilles’ Heel,” the memo reads. “The movement’s unfavorability has never been higher, and especially after the debt ceiling debacle, the public is inclined to believe its actions are hurting the economy. By linking the GOP to its extreme Tea Party fringe, Democrats can bolster the prospects for the President’s jobs ideas, or at least make clear who is responsible for the stalling of the recovery.”

The Senate narrowly blocked Obama’s American Jobs Act Tuesday night by a vote of 50–49. Senate Democratic leaders will now be forced to try and pass the bill piece by piece. In the meantime, they will be working hard to cast any Republican obstructionism as tea party extremism.

“Democrats can make this link by branding the school of thought that resists against any job-creation measures as ‘Tea Party economics,'” the memo reads. “The opponents of the President’s jobs proposals should be invoked as ‘Tea Party Republicans.’ If their obstruction continues, it will risk a ‘Tea Party recession.'”

Senate Republicans shot back at Schumer.

“Schumer may see the words tea party as a political slur but we see them as citizens concerned about our nation’s future and the reckless economic policies of 2009 and 2010,” a Senate Republican leadership aide said.

The aide said Schumer’s claims of Republican obstinacy were “demonstrably false,” pointing to the recent passage of a patent reform bill, a highway extension bill and three free trade agreements that were touted by the president.

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