President Obama's jobs plan is touted as a plan to put Americans to work and get the economy back on track. But beyond the White House briefing room, Obama's plan is campaign outreach program targeting the key demographics that elected him -- women, minorities and 18 to 29-year-olds -- and was, arguably, written with them in mind.
Obama’s endgame is not just the passage of this jobs bill, despite his new catchphrase. It is near impossible that his plan will pass in a robust form anyway. As an election strategy, however, he needs an 'A' for effort.
In 2008, Obama won 95 percent of the black vote, 67 percent of the Hispanic vote, 66 percent of the youth vote and 56 percent of women’s votes but his approval among these groups is lagging to worrying lows. Obama cannot win reelection without the coalition that supported him four years ago.
On the White House website, there are several fact sheets describing how the jobs plan will specifically help women, Hispanics and youth voters. The programs described in these facts sheets – preventing teacher layoffs, school modernization, supporting youth jobs and Project Rebuild are not the glamorous parts of the jobs plan that the media scrutinizes, but the support of these programs important to his base.
You can see Obama's tactic in the places he's been touting his jobs plan: a high school in Ohio that benefited from stimulus funding; a university in North Carolina –where he focused on what “students are thinking about…jobs that pay well; jobs that offer some security; jobs that are available for all the young people who are going to be graduating from N.C. State;” and later that day the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 34th Annual Awards Gala where he talked about tax cuts for Latino-owned businesses and immigration reform.
Obama’s targeted marketing isn't revelatory; It's Campaigning 101. But if there's any doubt that this has just as much do to with reelection as passing a bill, look no further than his threat to veto legislation that does not raise new revenues. Did Obama ever turn down a lopsided compromise when his main goal was passage?