Thursday, January 9, 2014

Walker unfairly calls unemployment, minimum wage debates distractions

Walker seeks relevancy through criticisms of Obama

Gov. Scott Walker apparently believes that the Barack Obama needs to be a one-issue president.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Walker described President Obama’s latest push for raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits as a “desperate” attempt to distract the American public from problems with the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

“They want to desperately talk about anything other than Obamacare,” Walker said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
The issue over extending unemployment benefits for long-term workers is relevant now because those benefits expired for millions of Americans just this month. It isn’t too far-fetched to understand why President Obama might want to discuss the issue.

As for the minimum wage, Obama brought that issue up almost a year ago, in his State of the Union address in February.

“Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour,” Obama said then.

The argument that Walker is making -- that Obama is trying to distract attention away from health care reform -- is a common talking point that is being made by several Republican lawmakers, not just the Wisconsin governor.

Indeed, it’s a line that’s been used several times in the past few months. Whether it was filibuster reform, making inroads on negotiations with Iran, or on a renewed push for immigration reform, every subject these days seems to be a distraction from Obamacare, according to conservatives.

What’s the more likely scenario? President Obama is just doing his job. As the chief executive, it’s his duty to cover a wide variety of subjects, not just focus a single topic. Assuming he’s supposed to do otherwise -- what Walker and conservatives elsewhere are effectively getting at -- is a foolish premise to escalate.

On the other hand, Gov. Walker's comments indicate that he is probably just trying to become relevant on the national stage. Why else would he hop on the “Obamacare distraction” bandwagon, offering little in originality on his part? With a new book and presidential aspirations brewing in the back of his mind, Walker desperately needs to appear more interested in topics that go beyond the Wisconsin border.

But hey, I guess those jobs can create themselves, right?

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