President Obama has set a clever trap for Republicans, conservative Senator Jim DeMint complained Wednesday on Fox News. "If we vote for this plan, we'll own the economy with the president, and he desperately needs someone else to blame it on," DeMint said. "If we vote against it, he's going to try to say Congress blocked his ability to create jobs." And yet, despite DeMint's complaints--and a Gallup poll showing a plurality of Americans want their representative to vote for the plan--Democrats seem to think they're the ones who've been dealt the bad hand. As The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer reports, several Democratic lawmakers are saying they can't vote for the bill. (Although in typical Democrat fashion, they can't agree on why.) "The longer the debate about budget priorities goes on -- between tax breaks for the rich or investing in job creation -- the better it is for Democrats," a Democratic strategist told The Washington Post. But not all Democratic lawmakers seem to see it that way. Among the skeptics:

  • Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania: "I think the American people are very skeptical of big pieces of legislation... For that reason alone I think we should break it up."
  • Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana: "I have said for months that I am not supporting a repeal of tax cuts for the oil industry unless there are other industries that contribute."
  • Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon: "I have been very unequivocal... No more tax cuts. ... We have the economy that tax cuts give us. And it’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it? The president is in a box." (Those last three sentences, Steinhauer reports, were delivered with the congressman's "voice rising to a near shriek.")
  • Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia: "I have serious questions about the level of spending that President Obama proposed."
  • Representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina: "The most important thing is to get our fiscal house in order... Then we can talk about other aspects of job creation."
The Washington Post's Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza argue that the jobs plan is Obama's "chance to bounce back." Polls don't show overwhelming public support for the plan, they write, but they indicate Americans are willing to hear the president out. Further helping Obama politically is the public's perception of who's better on the key issues:
The GOP still isn't held in as high a regard on the economy, and it appears more focused on an issue -- the budget -- that voters say is a lower priority. Obama, by contrast, is the one people trust more, and his White House has been focused like a laser on the people’s clear top priority, jobs, for a while now.
NBC News' First Read agrees that "on paper" the politics favor the White House. "But are Democrats going to self-destruct? ... The Democratic griping is well under way, and it undercuts the White House's message -- no matter how good the politics are. Republicans never panic the way Dems do." Republicans, First Read notes, stayed united behind Representative Paul Ryan's controversial budget, despite the unpopularity of its proposed Medicare overhaul.
 
Meanwhile, in an embarrassing development for Democrats, they won't be able to vote for Obama's plan under the name the White House has branded it, the American Jobs Act. Slate's Dave Weigel notices that since Democrats waited a while to file Obama's bill with that name, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert swept in a stole it. The "American Jobs Act" introduced to the House is not a $447 billion stimulus program that cuts tax breaks for oil companies and private jets, but a repeal of the corporate income tax.