Friday, June 10, 2011

Obama's Not Bothered About the Economy. Too Bad, Prez; It Sure Bothers Voters.

Cheri Jacobus cuts through Barack Obama's hopeful but specious hype in one of today's must-reads. It's published over at The Hill. Go through it slowly; memorize some of her key points to season your conversation with disappointed Democrats; and then pass it on.

Let’s get this straight — President Obama says he’s not at all worried that the nation is on a double-dip recession track, even though he admits he has no idea what the meaning of the sudden downturn in job growth foretells. He claims the nation is on a path of solid but uneven recovery and we should not “panic.” I guess in his view, cheery optimism will save the day — or perhaps he can rely on the faux security of presidential denial.

Far from calming our fears, the president’s nervous state of denial sends chills down our spines with the depth and breadth of its naiveté and dishonesty. A new CNN/Public Opinion Research poll indicates nearly half of Americans believe the United States will likely suffer another Great Depression within the year. While there are many divergent definitions and varied opinions as to what constitutes an economic depression as opposed to a recession, long-held fears, family memories, history and similarities between the Great Depression and what Americans are currently experiencing suggest a forshadowing of electoral uprising against congressional Democrats and Obama for economic woes felt nationwide. The same poll places the economy as the No. 1 issue Americans care about, while showing a sharp decline in Obama’s approval numbers — now below 50 percent.

That long-ago 8 percent unemployment Obama promised would result from his nearly $1 billion stimulus spending spree now sounds charmingly quaint compared to the harsh reality of today. Last Friday’s Labor Department jobs report and 9.1 percent unemployment were blows to hopes for economic recovery in the near future, with a disappointing 54,0000 new jobs — far below what was expected, hoped for or needed to spur the economy and keep recession at bay. Nearly half of the unemployed have been so for at least six months, and about one-third have been out of work for more than a year. It’s a safe bet they will vote next year, too...

And, with home prices falling another 4 percent, Obama seems reluctant to let it color his Pollyannaish view of the economy he leads, and for which he is largely accountable. It should not come as any surprise, then, that we learned just this week the president has eliminated his daily economic briefings, provided by his economic team, from his schedule. Instead, he now only gets daily documents from his National Economic Council. To further confuse matters, the only daily in-person economic briefing on our failing national economy Obama treats himself to appears to be with, and by, Vice President Biden. This would be the same Joe Biden who claimed the economy was recovering and “gaining traction” only six days before the poor jobs report was released. The same Joe Biden who claimed the Obama administration’s bailout “saved” the American auto industry from bankruptcy, despite the fact Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, followed by GM only a month later — both AFTER receiving the very generous wad of federal bailout cash, courtesy of the American taxpayer...

Revisionist history? Stupidity? Denial? Take your pick. One is not more attractive or less frightening than another.

But glass-as-half-full pronouncements, as nifty as they sound on the campaign trail when pandering for votes and applause lines, will not satiate voters come Election Day. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on you.

(Cheri Jacobus is president of Capitol Strategies PR and an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.)