Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unemployment matters, but Romney is still an idiot

I hate when Mitt Romney... speaks.

If he's not lying about a lie he lied about not lying about, he's either making shit up or flailing around like a walrus in a triple lindy competition.

Last Friday, he blessed us with this statement: "Just this week, President Obama's closest White House adviser said that 'unemployment rates or even monthly job numbers' do not matter to the average American."

The funny thing about Romney's crazy talk is that "Obama's closest White House adviser," David Plouffe, never said "unemployment rates or even monthly job numbers" do not matter. What he said was this:

The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers. People won't vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: "How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?"

For the 90.8 percent of the American labor force that is employed, I think this statement is pretty accurate. And yes, it's still accurate even for the 9.2 percent who aren't. (Especially if they're Republicans, because Republicans don't believe it's the government's job to find Joe Six Pack a job.) But even Plouffe is only telling part of the story.

Everyone likes to cite facts and figures showing that no incumbent president (except for the Gipper and FDR) has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate above 6 percent.

Unfortunately for stupid people who believe the stupid shit other stupid people say, the unemployment rate actually isn't a dominant factor in the big picture of national elections.

What matters, as the Political Animal Steve Benen pointed out a month ago, is progress. If things are improving, if unemployment is falling, statistics are irrelevant.

Unemployment peaked at 10.8 during Reagan's first term, but it fell to 7.2 by the 1984 election. Unemployment grew to 7.8, up from 5.2, when George H.W. Bush sought re-election. That's why Reagan was re-elected and H.W. wasn't. And that's why Obama will glide to victory in 2012 while Romney will be stuck in the unemployment line during the day and burning unsold copies of his shitty book to heat his home at night.

After peaking at 10.1 in October 2010, unemployment fell to 8.8 percent by March 2011. Then the GOP took over.

We were promised big changes when Republicans won majority control over the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. For six months now they've bitched and moaned and done everything they could to overturn every bill Obama has signed. What they didn't do, and what Democrats will surely highlight throughout the 2012 campaign, is create a jobs bill – or a job. Unemployment declined consistently for a year and a half until Republicans took over the House. Now, for two consecutive months, it has risen.

The obstructionists have entered the building.

Expect mass evacuations sometime around November 2012. 

(Cross-posted at Muddy Politics.)

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