Massachusetts Wasn't a Wake Up Call on Jobs.

Among the many memes to crop up after the Massachusetts victory of Republican Scott Brown -- the Cassandra-like calls that health care is doomed, the Democrats were too progressive, the Democrats were not progressive enough -- is that the special election was a wake-up call to focus on jobs instead of health care. From the Associated Press story:

Wounded in Massachusetts, frustrated Democrats on Wednesday urged the White House to focus on jobs and the economy - not the health care overhaul that's now at risk - and pressed President Barack Obama to more forcefully make their case against Republicans ahead of potentially disastrous elections this fall.

On the day after the improbable Senate election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Obama and his Democratic Party raced to re-evaluate their midterm election strategy, adjust their health care approach and assuage an angry electorate. The embarrassing defeat to the GOP in a Democratic stronghold was a bitter end to the president's first year in office, and it triggered furious party soul-searching.

But that shift was certain in December, starting with Obama's speech at the Brookings Institution on jobs. According to Politico, in a story before Christmas, part of the reason for the shift was a foreseen delay in finalizing Health Care because of some of the problems House Democrats had with the Senate bill. They didn't see those being worked out until February, after Obama's State of the Union address. And the House passed a jobs bill in December before the recess so that it could concentrate on health care. Democrats already knew they would have to address unemployment, and get paychecks back into American pockets, if they wanted to avoid a bloodbath in November.

Moreover, I wish Obama would go back to the same pitch he made about health care almost a year ago, when he noted its inextricable link to job creation. Investing in a healthy labor force, giving employees the freedom to move to better jobs without having to worry about their health care, letting companies spend less on health care for their employees than they do now, all of it is tied to job creation. It would be nice to have him bring that up again when he talks about jobs.

-- Monica Potts

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