We already know the Republican theme for the 2012 election: Blame Obama for the slowness of the economic recovery.
But Republicans have opposed all of Obama’s attempts at reform. In 2011, they blocked a stimulus bill that would have created jobs without increasing the deficit. According to The New York Times:
“While Republicans have derided the 2009 stimulus as a failure, the consensus among economists has been that it helped stave off deeper job losses and supported a modest recovery. …
[In 2011] Mr. Obama went before Congress in September to push for a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new government spending.
The centerpiece of the bill, known as the American Jobs Act, is an extension and expansion of the cut in payroll taxes, worth $240 billion, under which the tax paid by employees would be cut in half through 2012. Smaller businesses would also get a cut in their payroll taxes, as well as a tax holiday for hiring new employees. The plan also provides $140 billion for modernizing schools and repairing roads and bridges … but Republicans blocked the package from coming to a vote.
Democrats responded by breaking it into pieces, hoping to pass those considered likeliest to gain bipartisan support, including some ideas that had originated with Republicans. But the first test of that approach, a bill to provide $35 billion to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters, was also blocked by a Republican filibuster.”(1)
Michael Cohen in The Guardian points out that the Republicans now oppose economic policies once supported by conservatives:
“Republicans have opposed a lion's share of stimulus measures that once they supported, such as a payroll tax break, which they grudgingly embraced earlier this year. Even unemployment insurance, a relatively uncontroversial tool for helping those in an economic downturn, has been consistently held up by Republicans or used as a bargaining chip for more tax cuts. Ten years ago, prominent conservatives were loudly making the case for fiscal stimulus to get the economy going; today, they treat such ideas like they're the plague.
Traditionally, during economic recessions, Republicans have been supportive of loose monetary policy. Not this time. Rather, Republicans have upbraided Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, for even considering policies that focus on growing the economy and creating jobs.
And then, there is the fact that since the original stimulus bill passed in February of 2009, Republicans have made practically no effort to draft comprehensive job creation legislation. Instead, they continue to pursue austerity policies, which reams of historical data suggest harms economic recovery and does little to create jobs. In fact, since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have proposed hardly a single major jobs bill that didn't revolve, in some way, around their one-stop solution for all the nation's economic problems: more tax cuts.” (2)
Are the Republicans making a principled stand because they have a solution to our economic problems? No, they offer nothing but the same policies that were in place when the recession began. The Republicans care about one thing and one thing only:
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
The Republicans have shown through their actions and their words that they care more about winning elections than in putting Americans back to work. Only a fool would reward such bad behavior by Republicans with a vote this November.
(1) http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/u/united_states_economy/economic_stimulus/index.html(2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/09/did-republicans-deliberately-crash-us-economy