It was a Democrat -- James Carville -- who coined the phrase "it's the economy, stupid." And to this day, leading Democrats understand that Carville was correct. They get it all the way down to their trembling bones. They'd love to take dramatic steps to improve the economy, but Republicans are using every tool at their disposal to prevent that. It's led Democrats to blame Republicans explicitly for causing Americans economic pain for short-term political gain, but it also means we're not going to see much in the way of economy-improving legislation in the months ahead.
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"They think the worse the economy is come November, the better they're going to do election wise," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a press conference this morning.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) echoed that analysis last month on a conference call with reporters.
"If [the GOP] can stop the recovery from occurring, if they can create as much pain as possible, people will be angry and will not vote at all or will vote against those in the majority," she implored.
With Republicans pushing for tax cuts for the rich and blocking unemployment benefits, you can see where they're coming from. And yet, with unemployment hovering near 10 percent, and a midterm election threatening to sweep them out of power on Capitol Hill, Democrats are trapped and running out of time.