After George W. Bush left office in 2008, his policies roundly defeated in the 2006 mid-term congressional elections and the 2008 presidential election, we all thought we’d saw the last of his Machievellian stooge Karl Rove. F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives, but in politics that is not always the case. Politicians and political operatives regularly rise from the ashes.
And so it has been with Rove. In 2010 Rove established American Crossroads, a non-profit super PAC, with former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie. Rove’s American Crossroads, along with the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity and the Chamber of Commerce, has been a primary axis point for limitless corporate independent campaign spending since Citizens United v. FEC.
As Politico learned today, American Crossroads and its affiliate Crossroads GPS have purchased $16 million in one-week ad buys “on TV and radio in eight presidential battlegrounds and four Senate contests.” The corporate oligarchs should be pleased, of course.
One of the TV ads, “Actually Happened,” charts Obama’s promise that government spending would lower unemployment to 5.5% by this time. Rove & Co are spending $11 million on this spot, and it might could convince voters that a president can single-handedly turn around the economic fortunes of a country. They cleverly leave out the fact that there hasn’t been any GOP compromise with Obama; and that during the Bush administration the GOP torpedoed the economy with tax cuts and high spending (which creates deficits and adds to national debt) simultaneous to the unraveling of the sub-prime mortgage crisis (thanks to their friends on Wall Street).
Obama simply cannot make banks lend and corporations expand business and hire new workers. The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rate at 0% through 2014, but corporations are far too busy sending jobs overseas despite the fact—the fact—that the Congressional Budget Office reports the corporate tax paid on profits was 12.1% in 2011. The reason? Tax dodging.
Why are these big businesses which support American Crossroads whining about the tax rates when they routinely lower their rate through loopholes? Perhaps it’s really not about taxes. Maybe taxes are used as scenery to obscure the horrible truth: they can move jobs abroad for cheap labor and blame it all on corporate tax rate. Why pay an American citizen a living wage when a Chinese or Indonesia worker will work for a fraction of the price?
Rove, the GOP and millions of voters also seem to forget that it took the full eight years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency for the unemployment rate to drop from 7.5% to 5.3%. (Economists state that the natural unemployment rate is around 4%.)
When George W. Bush left office in January 2009, unemployment was at 7.8%. By October of 2009—Obama’s first nine months in office—the rate hit a high of 10% as a result of the recession that started in 2008. It would have happened regardless of which party held the presidency. By August of 2012 that rate had fallen to 8.1% under President Obama.
In 1980, when Reagan took office during a recession, the unemployment rate was 7.1%. Four years later when he was re-elected it was 7.5%, only after shooting up to 9.7% in 1982. Like Obama’s first four years, there was no quick fix for Reagan. Rove and American Crossroads won’t mention this in their ad buys, but if they were being completely honest, they would.
It takes time to get out of recessions. There is no magic economic curative. If we are to believe Rove and the GOP, simply electing more GOP politicians, including Mitt Romney, will solve all our problems.