Weigel

Tom Carper Likes the Jobs Bill

tom carper
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Emily Spain e-mails from the office of Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., taking issue with my characterization of the senator as a “philosophical no” on the jobs bill. Recall Carper’s quote:

I think the best jobs bill that can be passed is a comprehensive long-term deficit-reduction plan. That’s better than everything else the president is talking about – combined.

I read that as Carper saying he was down on the jobs bill. Not so! He “isn’t a ‘philosophical’ or any other kind of no vote on the President’s job proposal,” explains Spain. “He’s supportive, but he’d also like to see a ‘grand bargain’ on debt because he thinks that would help on the job front too.”

So, I’ll change Carper’s status on the whip count to a “philosophical no” to a “critical yes.” Full disclosure: As a Delaware voter in 2000, I voted to send Carper to the Senate. (I voted to keep Mike Castle, our hard luck Republican congressman, in the House.) He’s a very good politician. In this case, he and many Democrats seem to forget that the Capitol teems with reporters who will read any critical statement about the jobs bill as a critical statement about the jobs bill. It’s up to Nancy Pelosi, after the fact, to point out that some grumbling about a bill is not proof that the grumblers will vote the bill down. We’ve had nothing this year but unpopular compromises that ended up passing. The trick: Getting a bill that the president likes through a Republican House.