Obama Campaign Dodges Reagan’s Question

The Obama campaign clearly does not want Americans to consider whether they are better off now than they were four years ago.

Two top Obama campaign advisers appearing on morning shows this morning refused to give a straight answer to the question of whether or not Americans are better off than when President Obama took office:

The question Democrats didn’t want to answer head-on Sunday: Are Americans better off today than they were four years ago?

Asked the same question repeatedly host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” President Barack Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Plouffe, reverted to talking points about job creation and the failings of the Bush administration.

“We were this close to a Great Depression,” Plouffe said at one point, pinching his thumb to his index finger.

Stephanopoulos cut him short.

“You still can’t say yes,” he told Plouffe.

“We’ve clearly improved, George,” Plouffe replied. “We’ve made a lot of progress from the depths of the recession … We’ve got to continue to recover.”

(…)

Earlier , Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod also declined to say whether Americans are better off today than four years ago, saying on “Fox News Sunday” that Americans are in a “better position” than they would’ve been had Republicans been in office.

It’s not surprising that the Obama campaign would prefer to avoid answering this question, after all it is most famously known as the question Ronald Reagan put to the American people at the end of his only debate with President Jimmy Carter:

Over the course of the Carter Presidency, America had experienced slow growth combined with inflation rates unlike anything the nation had previously seen, the price of gasoline and other energy sources was persistently rising due in large part to the political situation on the other side of the world, and there was a general sense that the country had lost its way. On the international scene, the American people were treated to daily images from Iran of a hostage crisis that had been going on for nearly a year, and which included a failed rescue mission that just seemed to reinforce the post-Vietnam sense that our military had gone down hill. To make matters worse, our superpower rival the Soviet Union had just recently invaded Afghanistan and, with the help of its ally Cuba, was arming insurgent forces in nations like Nicaragua and El Salvador It’s hardly surprising then that, less than a week after Reagan had uttered those words, voters answered his question with a resounding no.

By the time the 2012 election cycle was heating up, it was rather obvious that President Obama would be faced with Reagan’s question when he ran for re-election. Indeed, while the Republican nomination process was just beginning to heat up last year, President Obama himself acknowledged that the country’s economic condition would be a drag on his re-election campaign. At the same time, polls showed that a significant portion of the American public believed that were worse off than they had been at the start of the Obama Presidency.

None of this is surprising, of course. While it’s technically true that the economic condition of the country is better than it was on January 20, 2009 in that we’re not in the middle of a deep recession and shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per months, it’s also true that we are experiencing the worst economic recovery since the end of World War II. More recently, 2012 has been a less than stellar month economically given that we’ve seen two straight quarters of GDP growth below 2%, and pathetically weak jobs reports for the every month since March. Moreover, current economic forecasts suggest that this pattern of slow growth and anemic jobs growth will continue for the rest of this year and next year as well (that is assuming we don’t get pushed into a recession by the whole “fiscal cliff” scenario.)  Given all of this, it’s not surprising that President Obama’s job approval on the economy remains upside down, that poll after poll has voters saying they think Mitt Romney would do a better job handling the economy, and that the bellwether  Right Track/Wrong Track poll continues to show Americans largely pessimistic about the direction of the country. Clearly, the public has not been very impressed with Obama spokesperson’s efforts to continue to try to talk up a crappy economy by pointing out things such as the fact that the economy has created about 4 million jobs since January 2009, a fact which, while true, isn’t impressive at all considering how many people are unemployed or underemployed.

Plouffe and Axelrod dodged the “are you better off?” question, because they know the campaign does not have a plausible answer for it. That’s why the Obama campaign has spent the last several months trying to get people to pay attention to everything except the economy. Whether the voters will let them do that between now and Election Day remains to be seen. Certainly, if I were the Romney campaign I’d be hammering the incumbent on this point every day from now until November 6th, because if they are going to win that’s how they’re going to do it.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Economics and Business, Politicians, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. So what I always ask you is, when you cite “the worst economic recovery since the end of World War II” is …

    Do you have a better plan, yourself?

    Or do you actually understand that the worst recovery since WWII is actually paired with the worst recession since much earlier?

    (This of course is the question that hinges the election. Voters are asking Romney-Ryan what they’ll do better, and their answer is “trust us, we’re Republicans.)

  2. (IOW, I think Obama-Biden have a stronger answer than Romney-Ryan. The former have a recovery you can see. The later have a pig in a poke.)

  3. michael reynolds says:

    I have no problem answering the question: Yes, we are better off than we were four years ago.

    1) We are not now teetering on the edge of a second Great Depression.

    2) The banking system did not collapse.

    3) We are out of Iraq.

    4) We have a plan to let excluded Americans get health care.

    5) Osama Bin Laden and much of the Al Qaeda leadership is dead.

    6) We have a definite plan in place to get out of Afghanistan.

    7) Gaddafi — a murderer of defenseless American civilians — is gone.

    8) We are now net oil product exporters for the first time since 1949.

    9) We still have an auto industry.

    10) Gays serve openly in the military, we are on a path to full equality for gays.

    11) Women can still get legal abortions and birth birth control.

    12) Women can get equal pay for equal work.

    13) Despite the challenges, the US economy is outperforming Europe, including those parts of Europe like the UK that followed conservative doctrine. (By the way: Celtic Tiger anyone?)

  4. John,

    If this election turns into a referendum election, as it still may given the fact that the economy remains at the top of the voters lists of concerns, then all that will matter how the voters feel about the President’s performance on the economy and whether he deserves to be hired for another 4 year term.

  5. @john personna:

    Large segments of the American public would scoff at the idea that what we have been experiencing since 2009 is a “recovery” worthy of the name.

  6. Crusty Dem says:

    The better question is why this wasn’t the theme of the RNC? The answer is A) the RNC is run by inept morons B) we are better off than four years ago or C) both.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Then let’s not call it a “recovery.” Let’s call it a “survival.” We survived.

    When the bullet meant for you goes whizzing past your head, you’ve survived. It’s much better than the alternative, even if the event is not marked by unicorns and free beer.

  8. Eric Florack says:

    ANd if you watch the leftie commentariat, as I do, you’ll see it’s a question that worries them greatly. Kos, for example. They manufacture answers… which of course have no realtion to the truth of the matter… but Doug’s right; they’re trying to squash the meme. The reason is clear… and to Reynolds point….

    Yes, we are in fact teetering on the edge. Because, it’s quite clear that without a change in policies, our situation is only going to get worse.

    See, that’s the real issue. Certainly, the question of where we are now, in relationship to where we were is a huge question… and one the Obama people don’t want asked. But the larger question is what of the future, if the current trends are not reversed?

    The Democrat’s big problem is that the American people already know the answer to that question. And the old adage about not asking questions when you’re not going to like the answer, applies rather well.

  9. Eric Florack says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Correct. And to Reynolds’ dodge, we did survive. But we won’t for long, given the treads under Obama.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    So, we’re “teetering on the edge” and need to get right back to where we were in 2008, when your party put us on that edge. Right.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    Compared with, and considering what happened to our economy in 2008 – the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression, yes we are better off.

    Michael enumerated perfectly good reasons why.

    @michael reynolds:

    I have no problem answering the question: Yes, we are better off than we were four years ago.
    1) We are not now teetering on the edge of a second Great Depression.
    2) The banking system did not collapse.
    3) We are out of Iraq.
    4) We have a plan to let excluded Americans get health care.
    5) Osama Bin Laden and much of the Al Qaeda leadership is dead.
    6) We have a definite plan in place to get out of Afghanistan.
    7) Gaddafi — a murderer of defenseless American civilians — is gone.
    8) We are now net oil product exporters for the first time since 1949.
    9) We still have an auto industry.
    10) Gays serve openly in the military, we are on a path to full equality for gays.
    11) Women can still get legal abortions and birth birth control.
    12) Women can get equal pay for equal work.
    13) Despite the challenges, the US economy is outperforming Europe, including those parts of Europe like the UK that followed conservative doctrine. (By the way: Celtic Tiger anyone?)

  12. @Doug Mataconis:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is our typical exchange:

    Doug: Obama will lose because the economy is bad

    John: I there a better economic plan?

    Doug: No

    John: Then your logic is flawed

    Doug: I don’t get that at all.

  13. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “If this election turns into a referendum election”

    Not really getting a sense the election is trending in that direction, despite the meme power of “Invisible Obama.”

    I also don’t think “Reagan’s question” is all that salient, and Michael provided 13 reasons why. The country is better off, even if “job creators” are still refusing to create jobs. If anyone personally says they’re not better off, I would really like to see how they attribute that problem to the president.

  14. @Herb:

    Michael did an excellent job at the question, but I think the superficiality of it rests on the narrow view taken by the GOP (and friends).

    They make everything hinge on a very specific time measurement, correlating to Presidential terms, but not at all related to economic cycles.

    It is absurd on its face that the business party would turn two blind eyes when asked about business cycles.

  15. jan says:

    Ben Bernanke sent a clear signal that the US Federal Reserve was ready to do more to support the US economy, saying that its condition was “far from satisfactory”

    This is the state of the Obama economy, whereby it’s recovery policies breed the printing of more money in order for it to creep along on artificial life supports. There has been relatively little beneficial nourishment provided in the last 4 years that has given any musculature to the growth of the economy, consequently job creation, other than some low-paying ones created via a high injection of government dollars, aka taxpayer monies.

    But, hey, let’s vote these people into office for another term, while ragging on the contenders because of the latest talking point about a man inflating a marathon time, 20 years ago, by one hour’s time!

  16. michael reynolds says:

    I’m personally better off and I built it! I built it all!

    In my job as kid book author I do not in any way rely on government-funded schools, or government-funded libraries. I do not use the mail. My liberty is not defended by government soldiers, nor is my home protected by government police. The view from my deck does not reveal a government-funded Bay Bridge or a government-funded Golden Gate bridge. The navy does not defend the free passage of ships I see going to and from Oakland. I never use government satellites and GPS technology to determine my path on the government roads I don’t use. My son is not educated in a government-run school. My daughter’s private school is in no way subsidized by taxpayer-funded special needs students. The value of my work is in no way enhanced by government copyright laws. The food I eat is no safer because of government regulations, nor are the prescription drugs. I don’t feel any safer because of government regs that make my home earthquake-resistent.

    It’s all just me. Me me me. Mine mine mine. All alone.

    I built it. Yes, including the bridge.

  17. JKB says:

    Well, Obama will have all next week to explain all those wonderful things listed. But from what I heard, it is going to be the anti-baby convention. A choice they have a right to make.

    Will Obama lay out his plans for second term. Or should we more accurately ask, will Valerie Jarrett tell Obama what she has planned for his second term? Historically, the second term is weaker for a president’s accomplishments. Can we tolerate even worse performance on economic issues?

    In any case, elections hinge on how people feel. Very post-modern. And as we know, from post-modernism, there is no objective truth only how you feel. So perhaps the question should be, do you feel better off than 4 years ago and who do you feel is the best man to make things better in the future.

  18. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: No, we need to get to where we wouldhave been had the GOP actually came up with a conservative instead of a centrist in 08.

    I also don’t think “Reagan’s question” is all that salient, and Michael provided 13 reasons why. The country is better off, even if “job creators” are still refusing to create jobs.

    And why would that be? There’s only one reason for this: They can’t make any money, which after all is the primary focus of any business. That’s right, the primary focus of a business is to make money for the investors, not to provide jobs…. that’s merely a happy by-product. And why can’t they make any money? Because of an over-intrusive government, that is currently making an enemy out of anyone with a profit motive, and intends to regulate everything to death.

    It’s as I’ve been saying for a lot of years; and when you make enemies out of anyone’s subscribing to the profit motive, the successful, the rich, why is anyone the least bit surprised when the economy takes a dump?

  19. Me Me Me says:

    @JKB:

    Or should we more accurately ask, will Valerie Jarrett tell Obama what she has planned for his second term?

    Is this some new wingnut meme I have missed?

  20. Well, if one in invested in the stock market, one is better off that one was four years ago: link.

    Indeed, we are better off than we were. The problem is that we are not as well off as we would like to be.

    The Republicans also don’t want to deal with this question too much, however, because then the issue becomes: are you better off than you were five years ago?

  21. @JKB:

    The President’s budget is on-line, and asks none of the “just trust me” numbers that make Romney-Ryan mathematically impossible.

    The President’s budget scores trillions better than the alternatives

    Looking at a 10-year period through 2022, Vanke says Romney has not explained $5.7 trillion in tax changes and spending cuts..

    Six trillion is a pretty big “just trust me.”

  22. @Steven L. Taylor:

    What’s really amazing is that the President called the turn. I remember him clearly saying “buy the SP 500 now” and commentators (here?) decrying his descent into financial advice.

    Turns out, he made that recommendation at the bottom.

    (Could have had something to do with Bernanke’s game plan ….)

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Make enemies of the rich? You’re insane. We kept the tax cuts for the rich. Remember? The Bush tax cuts that got us precisely zero jobs?

  24. Spartacus says:

    In addition to all the reasons Michael Reynolds cited above, the country is much better off today because of the following:

    1. It’s not being led by a guy that’s eager to go to war in Iran, Syria and Georgia.

    2. The country does not face the very real prospect that only the heartbeat of a geriatric cancer survivor will keep the idiot Sarah Palin from the Presidency.

    3. For the first time ever, healthcare coverage will be available to all Americans.

    The only metric by which the country is worse off today is on the size of the debt. It is clearly larger today than it was four years ago. Is it larger than it would have been if McCain had been elected? It’s impossible to know, but we do know that the last time a Republican was in the White House the debt exploded and McCain was offering only more of the same failed Bush economic policies. More importantly, we also know that Romney’s plan is just like Bush’s policies and will increase the debt by over $3 trillion.

    So one the one measure where the country is worse than it was four years ago, the GOP promises to make the problem even bigger.

    I would like to hear someone intelligent argue that the country really is worse off than it was four years ago, but I seriously don’t think intelligent people can make that argument.

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:
    So the Romney Plan – with deep tax cuts, increased defense spending, and wider annual deficits is better because … it’s a Republican plan?

  26. Me Me Me says:

    @Eric Florack:

    They can’t make any money, which after all is the primary focus of any business. That’s right, the primary focus of a business is to make money for the investors, not to provide jobs…. that’s merely a happy by-product. And why can’t they make any money? Because of an over-intrusive government, that is currently making an enemy out of anyone with a profit motive, and intends to regulate everything to death. It’s as I’ve been saying for a lot of years; and when you make enemies out of anyone’s subscribing to the profit motive, the successful, the rich, why is anyone the least bit surprised when the economy takes a dump?

    Eric, please read this:

    Corporate Profits Just Hit An All-Time High – Jun. 22, 2012

    And then please read this:
    Dow finishes at highest since 2008, Nasdaq at highest since 2000

    When you are finished, please come back and tell us who this straw man is – the person or party who you say has made enemies out of anyone subscribing to the profit motive.

    Because it sure as hell isn’t Obama or his administration. Actual facts prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  27. JKB says:

    @Me Me Me:

    The NY Times has started that meme.

    Of course, we can always add in that Valerie overruled the raid the killed Osama twice.

  28. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    @Eric Florack:
    Make enemies of the rich? You’re insane. We kept the tax cuts for the rich. Remember? The Bush tax cuts that got us precisely zero jobs?

    It’s that alternative Republican reality, where facts do not matter. As the Romney-Ryan announced after Ryan had been caught lying repeatedly in his convention speech, they are not going to be deterred by fact checking.

  29. Herb says:

    @JKB:

    “Historically, the second term is weaker for a president’s accomplishments. Can we tolerate even worse performance on economic issues?”

    I would not be surprised to see Obama change how we view the lame duck term. His re-election will prove 4 years of GOP efforts to be an utter failure. The GOP can hope they take back the Senate and increase their lead in the House and commit themselves to 4 more years of solid opposition, but it’s going to take some steel hearts. I suspect there are some members who will, at some point during their political career, wish to accomplish something besides being the sand in the gears. No one wants to wear the “I spent 8 years in Congress and Obama got re-elected anyway” T-shirt.

  30. DRE says:

    Of course we are better off. The problem is that those who ask the question want you to forget that Wile E Coyote had already run off the cliff by then, even if he hadn’t looked down yet. Nor had he compared the size of his umbrella to the size of the rock he had launched in the air.

  31. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    Well there you go. Obama can explain his budget and he’s in like Flynn.

  32. Let me be clearer. I support that Obama budget because it’s OK. It’s not terrible. I can see it.

    Do you guys “further right” want my vote instead?

    Explain where Romney’s missing $5.7 trillion comes from.

  33. DRE says:

    @Eric Florack: And why would that be? There’s only one reason for this: They can’t make any money, which after all is the primary focus of any business. That’s right, the primary focus of a business is to make money for the investors, not to provide jobs…. that’s merely a happy by-product. And why can’t they make any money?

    Right question; wrong answer. The reason is lack of demand. And everything that Republicans have done or proposed for the last 4 years (20 years?) has attempted to suck even more demand out of the economy. Business needs customers, not expressions of support and respect from politicians.

  34. Me Me Me says:

    @JKB: OK, JKB, I read that whole article. Explain to me why wingnuts see a meme there that needs to be spread. Is the problem that Obama takes advice from advisers before making decisions? Or is the problem that one of those advisers is a woman? Or is it that she is a black woman? Or is it OK to for him to have advisers, even ones that are women and black and or both, but it is not OK for him to consult with one of them more frequently than he does the other?

    Of course, we can always add in that Valerie overruled the raid the killed Osama twice.

    What is that supposed to mean? There was a raid, OBL was killed. Therefore, Obama made a good decision. Are you saying he did so against her advice? Well then, there goes your meme in a puff of smoke. Are you saying she urged him to delay it until the time was right? Well then, that was good advice, since the raid was a total success. So again, there goes your meme in a puff of smoke.

    Why don’t you tell a piece of your dining room furniture about your Valerie Jarrett obsession – I’m sure you’ll find it to be me a more gratifying debate opponent than myself.

  35. JKB says:

    Is that the budget that no Democrat in the Senate voted for?

    See, it is one thing to have a budget or even some other legislative initiative but another to show you have the chops to get things passed by working with the legislative branch. You try to blame the Republicans for the last year and a half but what about the 2 years prior where Obama’s party had overwhelming control of both houses?

    So let’s see

    Obama has shown no ability to get legislation passed
    Obama has shown ineptness in foreign affairs
    Obama whispered to the Russian prime minister about being “flexible” after he wins election
    Obama has shown no capability to build confidence among small businesspeople and the at-risk workers.

    If a person can’t do the job….then we have to let them go.

  36. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “By the time the 2012 election cycle was heating up, it was rather obvious that President Obama would be faced with Reagan’s question when he ran for re-election.”

    The big difference between now and 1980 is that Reagan was offering something that hadn’t really been tried before. The electorate had reason to believe that by doing something different from what Carter offered they would get a different response. Now, however, Romney is asking if people are better off than they were four years ago and, if not, he’d like them to go back to the same policies that got them in this mess.

    This is why I’ve believed for some time now that it’s only the social issues that are even keeping the GOP in the game. The so-con wing of the GOP are die-hard believers whose religious beliefs will not permit them to even acknowledge inconvenient facts.

  37. jan says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Much like Obama, Romney has yet to lay out the ‘details’ of his so-called plan.

    He has, however, cited a 20% across-the-board tax cut to the marginal base. But such a benefit will be augmented by closing down various deductions. This is what was done in MA, and created criticism as well from people effected by raising certain fees and closing loopholes. Romney has also said he would lower corporate taxes, aligning them more with other competing countries. There will be changes in capital gain taxation as well as estate taxes — much of which will be more advantageous to the middle classes.Cutting EPA-like regulations and encouraging a greater variety of energy exploration is all related to easing some of the obstructions holding back the growth of the economy, directly linking to more job creation, which then adds more tax revenue to the government coffers. It’s a circular remedy.

    Regarding military spending, Romney has talked about cutting waste and fraud in all areas of government, including the military. But, he balances that out with asserting he wants to do it in a way that will keep the military strong and updated, throwing out a 4% of GDP as a number, which, like all things in all campaigns, is subject to change. Just look at Obama’s campaign stances and promises, and see how they have ‘evolved’—> bringing the EU number dramically down (should be 6 instead of 8.3% by now), halving the deficit (instead it is over 5 trillion more), not wanting to raise the debt ceiling, was for marriage between a man and woman (now he is all in for gay marriage), was going to bring up immigration reform in the first year of his presidency (instead he concentrated on healthcare)… and on and on….

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    In just under four years, Obama’s added about six trillion to the debt, kept unemployment over 8%, doubled gas prices, and weaned us of that awful habit of having a federal budget, just to name a few of his accomplishments.

    Imagine what he can do with another four years! Maybe he can fish out Bin Laden and kill him again!

  39. Me Me Me says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    doubled gas prices

    Sept 1 2008 the national average was $3.65 gallon. So is gas $7.30 where you are? If so, you are desperately unlucky and should consider moving, because the national average is $3.75.

  40. jan says:

    Actually the economy, at the moment, reminds me of a kinked hose. When this happens, literally a strangulation within the hose occurs, which either slows or altogether stops the flow of water. If you pull the hose straight, un-kinking the knotted area, the unobstructed water begins to flow once again. But, if you fail to recognize the simple task of straightening out the hose to create a better water flow, then the hose will eventually just burst, much like a country’s economy tanks when the right solutions are not applied.

    It’s simplistic, but very applicable to today’s problems, of having no one want to put money in an economy so beset by government regulations, bureaucracy, and threats of higher taxes everywhere. If you make it easier to do business, have incentives to work, people will comply and the economy will grow.

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:
    Yes Jan, I understand:
    Republicans deficit spending plan = good, and
    Democratic deficit spending plan = bad.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Me Me Me:

    One of my IKEA Poang chairs is very politically involved, the other one is kind of apathetic.

  43. Herb says:

    @JKB:

    Obama has shown no ability to get legislation passed
    Obama has shown ineptness in foreign affairs
    Obama whispered to the Russian prime minister about being “flexible” after he wins election
    Obama has shown no capability to build confidence among small businesspeople and the at-risk workers.

    Obamacare never happened? It’s funny…I seem to remember that while that legislation was being passed, we were told he was making us a socialist liberal fascist state against our will. Glad to see that’s now become “no ability to get legislation passed.”

    Ineptness in foreign affairs….I guess this is a judgement call. He’s backed up our allies, provoked no major confrontations with our rivals. It’s a departure, I admit…but I see nothing major to complain about. Oh, that time he “assassinated” an “American citizen?” Yeah….that dude was a terrorist. Too bad.

    “Obama whispered to the Russian prime minister ” You’re right. There is no need for frank discussions among world leaders. They should always discuss things as if the media is listening.

    “Obama has shown no capability to build confidence among small businesspeople” I don’t even know what that means. This is one of those things that’s asserted but can never be verified, not really, because how do you define “small businesspeople?” And then how do you measure their confidence? It’s not really a metric if you get no measurement.

  44. JKB says:

    @Me Me Me:

    Wait, you are playing the race and feminist card right off the bat? That meme must have you worried.

    But you lay out a nice argument, so no worries. She’s just an adviser who pushes agendas independent of the president that rile up an entire segment of the electorate (Catholics). But Obama can take the advice of anyone he wants but a leader is judged by those whom they seek counsel. And by those counselors’ actions taken due to their influence on the throne.

  45. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Avoiding the “Reagan question” is an obvious strategy, and the reasons therefor equally are obvious, but if I were running Team Obama I’d actually pull a Crazy Ivan and I’d have him address it head on. It’s not as if what a Democrat says has to be logical. Plus it’s not as if the national media will gainsay it.

    Obama could respond to this question as follows: “Americans are better off than they were four years ago. The banking sector is stable. The economy is growing. Jobs are being created. The housing market is not in the midst of a total meltdown.”

    Zombieland might actually fall for it.

  46. al-Ameda says:

    @Me Me Me:

    Sept 1 2008 the national average was $3.65 gallon. So is gas $7.30 where you are? If so, you are desperately unlucky and should consider moving, because the national average is $3.75.

    Jenos is used to the Republican way of doing things: repeat a talking point long enough and magically, it will become a replacement for the truth.

  47. al-Ameda says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Obama could respond to this question as follows: “Americans are better off than they were four years ago. The banking sector is stable. The economy is growing. Jobs are being created. The housing market is not in the midst of a total meltdown.”

    Zombieland might actually fall for it.

    Actually, that is the truth. That said, fall for the truth? Imagine that. It certainly won’t happen in Republican Land

  48. jan says:

    @Me Me Me:

    “Sept 1 2008 the national average was $3.65 gallon. So is gas $7.30 where you are? If so, you are desperately unlucky and should consider moving, because the national average is $3.75. “

    No cherry-picking the time table. What was the average price of unleaded gas when Bush left office?

    Gas when Bush left office was $1.78; gas today $3.64; highest average price in CA is $4.20

    (CNSNews.com) – The average price for one gallon of unleaded gasoline has increased nearly every month since Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. At that time, when George W. Bush was leaving office, the price was $1.78 per gallon. Today, three years and one month later, the average price is $3.64.

    In addition, according to the average price data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices (in nominal dollars: not adjusted for inflation) peaked during Bush’s second term at $4.09 per gallon in July 2008 and then fell to $2.15 in November, when there was an election, and fell further in December 2008 to $1.68 per gallon.

    When Bush entered office in January 2001, the price was $1.47 per gallon. (It peaked in Bush’s first term at $2.02, in October 2004.)

    Under President Obama, prices have not fallen below $2.05 per gallon since April 2009, and the highest average price, so far, was $3.93 in May 2011.

  49. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    Actually, what you just did is the very definition of cherry-picking. From your own link:

    In addition, according to the average price data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices (in nominal dollars: not adjusted for inflation) peaked during Bush’s second term at $4.09 per gallon in July 2008 and then fell to $2.15 in November, when there was an election, and fell further in December 2008 to $1.68 per gallon.

    So, why don’t we use Bush’s peak price and contrast it with Obama’s lowest price? I mean, if we’re cherry-picking like you. See, that way gas prices have actually fallen.

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Nice try.

  50. David M says:

    @jan:

    So you’re now claiming the economy is doing too well? Because the only sure way to reduce gas prices is another recession.

  51. JKB says:

    @Herb: Obamacare never happened?

    Reid and Pelosi passed that and in the end, only be enforcing strict party allegiance.

    There is no need for frank discussions among world leaders.

    Well, there are frank discussions and then their is the inference that he is willing to sell out America but only after his employers renew your contract since if they knew of his disloyalty they would let him go.

    I don’t even know what that means.

    Small business confidence hits 2012 low as President Obama offers more ‘help’ by hiking taxes

  52. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:
    I had no idea that world oil prices are set by the president of the United States?

  53. David M says:

    @JKB:

    See, it is one thing to have a budget or even some other legislative initiative but another to show you have the chops to get things passed by working with the legislative branch. You try to blame the Republicans for the last year and a half but what about the 2 years prior where Obama’s party had overwhelming control of both houses?

    That Congress is considered one of the most productive in recent memory as the Stimulus, Health Care Reform and Dodd-Frank were all passed. Not liking the laws doesn’t mean they weren’t passed. Maybe you should try looking things up before posting?

  54. jan says:

    @al-Ameda:

    “Republicans deficit spending plan = good, and
    Democratic deficit spending plan = bad. “

    Come on al-Ameda. That reply is kind of whimpy. It’s about the substance of a plan, the direction a leader wants to go, and the effort put in by that leader.

    For example, if Obama really was concerned about job creation why hasn’t he met with the Job’s Council created by him for over 6 months! The WH’s explanation has been, “He has a lot on his plate.” But, then if that’s the case why does he have more fundraisers this year than any other president — I think, combined? Does he care more about his own reelection than getting people back to work? It seems like that’s the way he is acting. And, if so, what’s the rush to reelect such a man?

  55. jan says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Policies can determine price. And, policy is what the POTUS is hired to at least oversee.

  56. DRE says:

    @jan: Gas when Bush left office was $1.78; gas today $3.64; highest average price in CA is $4.20

    I am willing to grant you that gas price in return for your acknowledgement that the state of the economy that day reflects the wisdom of Republican economic policies, and is what Romney wants us to compare today with.

  57. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The post commented on was price at the end of Bush’s term, not a peak price, Michael. It all depends where you want to measure and move the needle. However, did you notice how gasoline went down, after that peak price at the end of Bush’s term? And, when you analyze Obama’s gasoline legacy, it just continues to do a pretty consistent rise.

    Back at you —-> “Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Nice try. “

  58. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    It all depends where you want to measure and move the needle.

    Exactly. That’s why it’s called cherry-picking.

    You know what? When the economy is falling like a rock demand for gas drops. When demand drops, so does price. When the economy strengthens, demand for energy goes up. You’re actually trying to claim that the Bush collapse was a good thing because it lowered gas prices.

  59. David M says:

    @jan:

    The post commented on was price at the end of Bush’s term, not a peak price, Michael. It all depends where you want to measure and move the needle. However, did you notice how gasoline went down, after that peak price at the end of Bush’s term? And, when you analyze Obama’s gasoline legacy, it just continues to do a pretty consistent rise.

    Do you really not know the gas price changes you’re discussing were due to the recession? And as the economy recovered the demand for gas increased and prices went back up, it’s not complicated and should be common knowledge.

  60. Me Me Me says:

    @JKB:

    She’s just an adviser who pushes agendas independent of the president that rile up an entire segment of the electorate (Catholics). But Obama can take the advice of anyone he wants but a leader is judged by those whom they seek counsel. And by those counselors’ actions taken due to their influence on the throne.

    Again I am left wondering what on earth you think you mean. A White House adviser has no way to push agendas independent of the president. The “entire segment” of the Catholic electorate is not “riled up” – just K-Lo and the rest of the Dolanophiles at the National Review.American Catholics are overwhelming pro-contraception coverage. And where I’m from a leader is judged by their actions, not by who they bounce ideas off of. And as for ” And by those counselors’ actions taken due to their influence on the throne.” – all I can say is WTF is that supposed to mean?

  61. marginoerra says:

    @jan:
    “For example, if Obama really was concerned about job creation why hasn’t he met with the Job’s Council created by him for over 6 months!” Or, in what could have been a constructive move, why didn’t the repubs work in a bi-partisan fashion to pass the American Jobs Act?? Oh, wait, that might have put more Americans to work and improved the economy…..

    $1.78/gal. gas was the result of the Great Recession. Along with the loss of 780,000 jobs/month. Anyone want to return to those days?? One could say that the “the constant rise” of gas prices after Obama took office is a positive. See how picking numbers out of context is a bad idea??

  62. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Indeed, we are better off than we were. The problem is that we are not as well off as we would like to be.

    Noah Millman’s reaction to Romney’s speech unpacks this issue quite well:

    Romney’s acceptance speech: Every small business wanted these to be their best years ever, when they could hire more, do more for those who had stuck with them through the hard times, open a new store or sponsor that Little League team. Every new college graduate thought they’d have a good job by now, a place of their own, and that they could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future. This is when our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt and rolling back those massive deficits. This was the hope and change America voted for.

    I don’t have the transcript yet (the above is from the pre-released excerpts), but the next line is something like, “That’s what Americans deserve.”

    Think about that: immediately after the biggest economic crisis since the great depression, Americans deserved to have “the best years ever.”

    I guess that’s what makes America special, what makes us an exceptional nation. This is the only place where nothing bad is ever allowed to happen, where you are entitled to the “best year ever” because you want it.

    That was one half of the infantilizing message. The other half: the “trust me” presentation of his “plan” to revitalize the American economy.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/millman/an-infantilizing-speech/

    While it’s fair to say that members of both parties fall prey to this sort of thing, it’s easy to see (because it’s on display in this comment thread) how a number of Republican/Conservative leaning folks on this site are prime examples of this sort of infantilization.

  63. mattb says:

    @mattb:

    I guess that’s what makes America special, what makes us an exceptional nation. This is the only place where nothing bad is ever allowed to happen, where you are entitled to the “best year ever” because you want it.

    BTW, Millman’s point in that section also helps account for why many populist Dems are not particularly fired up by this election. Far too many of them bought into the idea that we would immediate bounce back to even better times.

  64. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    Obama’s added about six trillion to the debt

    Once again, you are telling a big fat lie. And this particular lie is quite popular, appearing over and over again in various forms (link).

    The debt today is $16T. As you might know, 16-6=10. The debt was 10T on 9/30/08 (link). Is it your impression that Obama became responsible for the debt before he was even elected? Is that sort of like Mitt’s retroactive retirement? Or Ryan’s retroactively fabulous marathon time?

  65. Pete says:

    @mattb:

    Think about that: immediately after the biggest economic crisis since the great depression, Americans deserved to have “the best years ever.”

    Stephen, why do you think this is? Could it be that Americans have been fed BS for generations about the government’s ability to always make things better? I can hear the politicians now: Elect me and I will do this or that. Just consider what Obama promised and what he could deliver on. The electorate is so dumbed down by lies, disinformation, half truths, obfuscation, distortion and any means of avoiding the truth, that that is likely why they act like infants and victims. The public gets weary of hearing the same BS, stops paying attention, tries to improve their lives regardless of the endless hurdles (indecipherable tax code, silly regulations, fear of free speech due to hate speech laws, etc., fear of warrantless litigation). Good God man, who wouldn’t want to curl up in a ball and play the victim card after being subjected to such abuse?

  66. Spartacus says:

    Does anyone know of a site that offers intelligent, fact-based comments and analysis from conservatives/GOPers?

  67. Me Me Me says:

    @Spartacus: Sparty – hello! It is me, Watusie. Although someone else has taken that name here.

    I’ll give you a list, in alphabetical order:
    Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish
    Bruce Bartlet at Economix/NYT

    erhh…that is it.

  68. An Interested Party says:

    I can certainly understand why conservatives, Repulicans, and people like Doug (who I wouldn’t dare want to lump in with those first two groups!) would want this election to be a replay of 1980…sadly, for them anyway, the President isn’t like Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney sure as hell isn’t like Ronald Reagan…

    But, hey, let’s vote these people into office for another term, while ragging on the contenders because of the latest talking point about a man inflating a marathon time, 20 years ago, by one hour’s time they would return the same Republican policies that got us into this mess in the first place!

    Happy to be of help…

    Or should we more accurately ask, will Valerie Jarrett tell Obama what she has planned for his second term?

    This meme is so cute…on the one hand, we hear about how the President is the evil Socialist/Communist/Marxist who is carrying out a not so secret plan to destroy this country then on the other hand we hear about how he is nothing more than a puppet of a whole bunch of evil people from Chicago…it would be most helpful if the people pushing these memes could get their delusions straight…

    No, we need to get to where we wouldhave been had the GOP actually came up with a conservative instead of a centrist in 08.

    Oh, so that sounds like an endorsement to vote against Romney, as he certainly isn’t the conservative you want…

    It’s not as if what a Democrat says has to be logical.

    Oh, they must have taken lessons from the person behind the pseudonym of Tsar Nicholas…

  69. An Interested Party says:

    Could it be that Americans have been fed BS for generations about the government’s ability to always make things better? I can hear the politicians now: Elect me and I will do this or that.

    Indeed…BS like tax cuts pay for themselves, smoking guns turning into mushroom clouds, our military forces being greeted as liberators, etc. etc. etc….

  70. anjin-san says:

    @ michael reynolds

    Damn. Very impressive. I always knew you were you own man!

  71. anjin-san says:

    indecipherable tax code, silly regulations, fear of free speech due to hate speech laws, etc., fear of warrantless litigation

    I am substantially better off than I was four years ago despite all these government efforts to reduce me to serfdom. I must be a remarkable guy.

  72. anjin-san says:

    I remember September and October of 2008 well. The smartest, most successful, most informed people I know were scared shitless by the state of the economy. Yes, we are still living with the fallout, but we are quite a bit better off than we were four years ago. Housing is recovering, and a businessman can get credit when he needs it (assuming he has good credit)

  73. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Reid and Pelosi passed that and in the end, only be enforcing strict party allegiance.

    Yes, and the Giants beat the Cubs today, but only because they scored more runs.

  74. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Me Me Me: Sept 1 2008 the national average was $3.65 gallon. So is gas $7.30 where you are? If so, you are desperately unlucky and should consider moving, because the national average is $3.75.

    Let’s see… in September 2008, he was still Senator/Nominee Obama. On the day he became president, gas was around $1.78/gallon. If you multiply $1.78 times 2, you get $3.56.

    I’m choosing Obama’s first day in office vs. today. Why are YOU cherry-picking a week right around the DNC?

    @al-Ameda: I had no idea that world oil prices are set by the president of the United States?

    The Obama administration’s talking (again) about tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Apparently, “Obama might lose” is considered a strategic threat to our national security.

    @jukeboxgrad: Once again, you are telling a big fat lie. And this particular lie is quite popular, appearing over and over again in various forms (link).

    The debt today is $16T. As you might know, 16-6=10. The debt was 10T on 9/30/08 (link). Is it your impression that Obama became responsible for the debt before he was even elected?

    Jesus H. Christ, you are an insane douchenozzle. I said “about.” And if you want to be that anal, it’s just UNDER 16 trillion. If you’re going to call me a “big fat liar” for rounding, then put that label on yourself for doing that yourself.

  75. michael reynolds says:

    @anjin-san:
    It’s cool, you can still use my bridges.

  76. anjin-san says:

    I’m choosing Obama’s first day in office vs. today.

    Yes, and if we do the same thing with the DOW, we can conclude that Obama is the greatest President in history and all go home.

  77. anjin-san says:

    They can’t make any money,

    Wow. Really? Because I know people who are making a great deal of money.

  78. Spartacus says:

    @Me Me Me:

    Hey, Watusie!!!! Wow, it’s good to see a name from the past. I see you are still greatly endowed with the patience to deal with the likes of Jenos, Jan, et al.

    I read Sullivan and Bartlett and find their debunking of conservative myths refreshing. But I’m really looking for someone in the GOP who can intelligently defend any of the GOP’s current policies or is willing to propose new, thoughtful policies.

    I thought James Joyner had the potential to fill that role, but he’s just like David Frum. Both are capable and willing to identify the reasons Romney would be an inferior president to Obama, but they’ll vote for him anyway because he wears the same jersey they wear. So even though they’re both more intelligent than people like Sarah Palin, it does no good because they make the exact same policy choices Palin makes.

  79. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You didn’t bother to notice the gas price nonsense you posted had already been debunked? It pretty much takes willful ignorance to believe that idiocy.

  80. anjin-san says:

    I don’t recall Reagan ever owning a business. Clearly, but the standards of today’s conservatives, he should never have been President.

  81. DRE says:

    @jan: However, did you notice how gasoline went down, after that peak price at the end of Bush’s term? And, when you analyze Obama’s gasoline legacy, it just continues to do a pretty consistent rise.

    Back at you —-> “Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Nice try. “

    And then there is absolute intellectual dishonesty. I know this is redundant but WTF?
    You want to argue that Reps have better policy ideas than Obama, and you use the drop in gas prices at the end of 2008 as evidence? If you had any honesty (I’m being generous and assuming you’re not stupid) you’d be explaining why you don’t think that price drop and the economic conditions that caused it should be blamed on Republican policies. And maybe trying not to say this:

    However, did you notice how the economy went down, after that peak at the end of Bush’s term? And, when you analyze Obama’s economic legacy, it just continues to do a pretty consistent rise.

  82. michael reynolds says:

    Here’s the way it works. First Jan comes along to say something dumb in a relatively pleasant way. Her statement is instantly shot-up, like Butch and Sundance, just annihilated.

    Then come Jenos to repeat whatever dumb thing Jan has said, but in a more abusive fashion. So a bunch of people have to say, “Hey, genius: scroll up.”

    Sometimes Drew comes in as closer to remind us all that he’s rich and therefore must be right, even though he’s repeating things already twice debunked. When questioned he snarls and runs away.

    And thus another day passes in OTB land.

  83. michael reynolds says:

    @anjin-san:
    No, Reagan was a union man, as I recall. And a Hollywood actor. Also gave weapons to terrorists and cut and ran from Lebanon when the Marines were hit by terrorists.

  84. jan says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Calling people liars is sometimes all they have.

    In the meantime, even some in the MSM are getting a bit tired of the Blame Bush meme!

    On CBS’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asked: “Can you honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?”

    Responded O’Malley: “No, but that’s not the question of this election. The question, without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars — charged for the first time to credit cards, the national credit card.”

    Quipped Schieffer: “George Bush is not on the ballots.”

    If John McCain had won in ’08, exactly replicating Obama’s moves in office, with the identical results we have today, OTB social progressive regulars would be going off the charts in their chastisement of his policies, shouting to the rafters that McCain had to be replaced. It would have been Bush derangement syndrome all over again, except louder.

    Consequently, most social progressives’ objections seem to swirl around the party affiliation behind a politicians’s name rather than what is transpiring under that person’s leadership (just look at Biden, FGS!). Unlike many republicans, who rose up and criticized Bush during his years in office, especially tea party people, who to this day want nothing to do with supporting another Bush, you circle the wagons around your lame politicians and just chant their praises, as you condemn anyone else wanting to have an opportunity at doing better.Oh I know the routine of labeling any R with going back to the days of Bush. But, that’s just another scraped together talking point in an attempt to bring back the oh-so-successful days of ABB.

    It’s all about blind ideology….

  85. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    Calling people liars is sometimes all they have.

    Well, that and proving it.

  86. An Interested Party says:

    Unlike many republicans, who rose up and criticized Bush during his years in office, especially tea party people…

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! As I wipe away the tears that that belly laugh produced, I can only thank Jan for providing a constant stream of humor for anyone who reads this blog…

    Oh I know the routine of labeling any R with going back to the days of Bush.

    Well, considering what Romney has said about what he would like to do regarding taxes, regulations, and foreign policy, among other things, the above “routine” does have the virtue of being true…but, judging from your inane writing, I understand why you might be allergic to the truth…

  87. DRE says:

    @jan: If John McCain had won in ’08, exactly replicating Obama’s moves in office, with the identical results we have today, OTB social progressive regulars would be going off the charts in their chastisement of his policies, shouting to the rafters that McCain had to be replaced. It would have been Bush derangement syndrome all over again, except louder.

    Yes, but when we included the economic destruction that occurred in 2008, it would make sense, because that happened on his sides watch. See most of us social progressives are of the opinion that more should have been done to repair that damage. Most of us are willing to criticize Obama for not doing more, but we are also aware that Republicans wanted to do less, and made every effort to block the efforts that were made. And I’m pretty damn sure that none of us would have complained that gas prices weren’t still $1.78/gal.

  88. JKB says:

    @Me Me Me: And by those counselors’ actions taken due to their influence on the throne.” – all I can say is WTF is that supposed to mean?

    You answer your own question.

    A White House adviser has no way to push agendas independent of the president.

    Therefore, the president is responsible for all the official actions taken by advisers and “czars”. He can, of course, disavow actions taken by his staff but that require immediate reversal of orders and removal of the adviser, otherwise it is a de facto ratification.

  89. DRE says:

    @jan: Unlike many republicans, who rose up and criticized Bush during his years in office, especially tea party people, who to this day want nothing to do with supporting another Bush…

    There is also the concept of time and how it relates to cause and effect.

    The economic collapse happened before Obama was elected. It is quite possible that it resulted in him being elected, but it can not have been caused by him being elected.

    On the other hand the “Tea Party” protests started after Obama was elected. It is not possible that these protests in any way caused his election, but it quite possible that they resulted from his election.

  90. @JKB:

    Me: Obama has a better budget than any GOP challenger

    JKB: Is that the budget that no Democrat in the Senate voted for?

    What are you saying? That you think the Senate is doing better than Obama or any of the GOP challengers? It strikes me that their approval rating is about 15%, and most people think they can’t hack it. First they pass sequestration, then they complain that they shouldn’t be held to their own plan. Etc.

    In that environment, what the heck sense does it make to ding the President because Congress won’t do anything right?

    Congress is one of the problems here.

  91. anjin-san says:

    http://gasbuddy.com/gb_retail_price_chart.aspx

    Look at the gas price trend under Bush. There were fluctuations, but the net effect is prices climbing throughout his administration, to a record high. Then the economy crashes, and so do gas prices.

    Unlike many republicans, who rose up and criticized Bush during his years in office

    I mostly remember Republicans standing patiently in long lines for an opportunity to kiss Bush’s ass. Now, of course, he is persona non grata, but then there was loud cheering as he made vast increases in the size, cost, and power of the federal government.

  92. @anjin-san:

    The most poignant thing I remember about gas prices under Bush was him having to hold hands with the Saudi Prince.

    (Gas prices are another thing with wild cycles, independent of Presidential term. It is an idiotic thing to argue is tied to Presidential term.)

  93. Me Me Me says:

    @Spartacus:

    But I’m really looking for someone in the GOP who can intelligently defend any of the GOP’s current policies or is willing to propose new, thoughtful policies.

    Not possible. The GWB Administration broke the Republican brain by proving that it is incompetent in fiscal and national security matters.

  94. Dazedandconfused says:

    Just compared my Feb 09 401K balance with the current one.

    Yes. Heck of a lot better off, in terms of net wealth.

  95. Me Me Me says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’m choosing Obama’s first day in office vs. today. Why are YOU cherry-picking a week right around the DNC?

    Because only a moron would make a January-to-September comparison instead of a September-to-September comparison.

  96. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: You didn’t bother to notice the gas price nonsense you posted had already been debunked? It pretty much takes willful ignorance to believe that idiocy.

    I noticed that I mentioned the price of gas on the day Obama was inaugurated, and I saw someone “debunking” involved citing a gas price from about 2 months before the election.

    Could you kindly explain why the price of gas in September 2008 would be more relevant to evaluating Obama’s performance as president than the day he took office?

  97. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:

    Come on al-Ameda. That reply is kind of whimpy. It’s about the substance of a plan, the direction a leader wants to go, and the effort put in by that leader.

    Details? So, you do approve of Romney’s plan for tax cuts, increased spending, and deficits of the same magnitude we have today for at least the next 10 years.

  98. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No, Reagan was a union man, as I recall. And a Hollywood actor. Also gave weapons to terrorists and cut and ran from Lebanon when the Marines were hit by terrorists.

    Those were the ‘good old days,’ right? America, shining city on the hill and all that, right?

  99. Me Me Me says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Could you kindly explain why the price of gas in September 2008 would be more relevant to evaluating Obama’s performance as president than the day he took office?

    Because it is now September, not January. You are either disingenuous or an idiot.

  100. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Me Me Me: Fine, jackwagon. But let’s take it from Obama’s first September, shall we? Then it was $2.64 a gallon.

    Or let’s go look back to the closest reading to January 20, 2012. Rounded to the nearest penny, it was $2.45 on the 16th and 23rd.

    Now, as to the federal debt under Obama: it was just over 10.6 trillion on January 20, 2009. It’s going to break 16 trillion any day now. So, under Obama the debt has gone up over 5.2 trillion, almost 50%,

    And no one wants to talk unemployment. In January 2009, it was 7.8%. August 2012 was 8.3%. And for a month-to-month comparison, in August 2009 it was 9.8%, so he has that going for him.

    On the other hand, though, every single month since February 2009 — meaning, “every full month of the Obama administration” — it’s been over 8%, so there goes the seasonal argument.

  101. @Jenos Idanian #13: Not this hasn’t already been pointed out, but it is worth noting again: it is asinine beyond words to cite the gas prices at the time of the financial collapse as if it a positive metric. Global gasoline prices collapsed because a lot of economies were contracting and therefore not buying oil. This is a very basic supply/demand dynamic that has nothing to do (at least in a positive way) with the policies of GWB. Further, the degree to which presidents affect gas prices is negligible and at the margins. To continue to argue otherwise (and I include Jan in this) is simply an argument not to take you seriously at all.

    And if you want to talk unemployment, please note the trends: click. If you wish to adhere to the simplistic notion that whatever is happening when a president is in office belongs to that president, and using the unemployment rate to do so you have to come to two conclusions: Bush was as disaster and Obama has been a moderate success.

  102. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    I said “about.”

    This is what you said:

    Obama’s added about six trillion to the debt

    The correct number is $4.1T, or a bit higher. That is not “about six trillion.” One more time: your claim is a big fat lie. It’s inflated by roughly 50%.

    And if you want to be that anal, it’s just UNDER 16 trillion. If you’re going to call me a “big fat liar” for rounding, then put that label on yourself for doing that yourself.

    The national debt as of today is $15,990,541,092,391.91. That rounds to $16T. Expressing 15.99 as 16 (what I did) is nothing like turning 4.1 into 6 (which is what you did). Especially because my rounding is in the direction that is unfavorable for the point I am making.

    Turning 4.1 into 6 (what you did) is not fairly described as “rounding.” It’s fairly described as making shit up. Thanks for proving, yet again, that you are both stupid and dishonest.

    Now, as to the federal debt under Obama: it was just over 10.6 trillion on January 20, 2009.

    Using that date is wrong (link).

    Now, as to the federal debt under Obama: it was just over 10.6 trillion on January 20, 2009. It’s going to break 16 trillion any day now. So, under Obama the debt has gone up over 5.2 trillion

    This is what you said before:

    about six trillion

    This is what you’re saying now:

    over 5.2 trillion

    Your claim is shrinking. Why? You have mysteriously lost track of about eight hundred billion dollars. Where did they go? It’s pretty amazing that you could lose them so quickly.

    Anyway, you need to keep heading in that direction, because you are only about halfway to the truth.

  103. @Steven L. Taylor: I mean, seriously, some arguments are just so ridiculously stupid that it drives me up a tree. One is entitled to one’s own philosophical and policy preferences, but some assertions are so thoroughly irrational and illogical that they need to be called out.

  104. @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think Jenos and Jan argue about gas prices “because it’s a thing they can say.”

    When they are operating at that level, what can you do?

  105. jukeboxgrad says:

    Laugh and/or cry.

  106. jukeboxgrad says:

    jan:

    Calling people liars is sometimes all they have.

    As Michael pointed out, it’s not just that you have been called a liar. It’s that proof has been presented (example). When you run away from that proof, as you routinely do, it becomes reasonable to conclude that the lying is quite intentional.

    The GOP is packed with liars, all the way from the very bottom to the very top. Serial, brazen, shameless liars. Hardly an hour goes by without another vivid demonstration of this sad reality. And it’s entirely natural and predictable that the leadership and the base would become increasingly congruent, in this manner. Everyone eventually gets the leaders they deserve, and leaders eventually get the base they deserve. Birds of a feather etc. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to watch a party flushing itself down the toilet.

  107. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I just can’t wait for you to turn your keen intellect and loathing on liars on to the Democratic convention this week. You’ll go through three keyboards minimum just on Biden, and another on Obama.

    Oh, that’s right. That’s presuming that your outrage is not selective, and you are intellectually honest for once. I ain’t betting on it.

  108. mattb says:

    @jukeboxgrad

    As Michael pointed out, it’s not just that [Jan] have been called a liar. It’s that proof has been presented (example). When you run away from that proof, as you routinely do, it becomes reasonable to conclude that the lying is quite intentional.

    And the issue is that she, and others, continue to repeat the lie across multiple threads despite many corrections on each thread (in addition to the book jacket lie, there has been the “Obama said American is not an exception nation,” and a number of other read meat whoppers).

    These are not cases where it’s a matter of interpretation. It’s that these are things that are demonstratively false.

  109. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Gas prices are a readily-tracked statistic that directly affects average people. If you would prefer others, how about groceries? Food’s gone up pretty steadily. Especially under Obama’s push for burning food for fuel. Electricity? That’s going up, too — and Obama’s cracking down on coal power plants.

    None, however, are as readily assessable and notable to the average person as the price of gas. Hell, I drive past a minimum of three gas stations just going to work, and the numbers are about a foot tall.

  110. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Here’s the short version: Obama was handed a bad situation. (More accurately, he competed hard to take that situation into his hands.) But for the most part, he’s either been ineffective or actually made things worse.

  111. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I guess you are reading Ezra Klein:

    It feels like the case for Paul Ryan has gone from “bold truthteller” to “well, all politicians lie and deceive, why is everyone picking on Paul Ryan for doing it?” That’s not good.

    (That was his #1 take-away from the Republican Convention.)

  112. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Even more to the point:

    Obama addressed the debt situation by appointing a blue-ribbon commission — whose report he tossed in the trash.

    Obama appointed a job council — that hasn’t met in ages.

    Obama appointed a cabinet — that hasn’t met in ages.

    However, he’s set a record for the number of fundraisers he’s attended over his less than full term.

    This is not a man who is concerned with the responsibilities of his office.

  113. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Do me a favor, Jenos. Scroll down this page until you reach the graph “Who Is To Blame?”

    Most middle class respondents blame Congress, more than anyone, for their problems. Then Banks, then Corps, then Bush, then foreigners, THEN Obama, and below him just themselves.

    You claim to have a truth, but what you have is a minority view.

  114. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: Ezra Klein? I appreciate the hell out of that guy. He’s the one who set up the JournoList cabal, which showed just how the media, leftist activists, and liberals in government collaborate to push their agenda. Hell of a guy, Ezra.

    And by your comment, can we assume you won’t be fact-checking the Democrats this week? After all, that wouldn’t be helpful.

  115. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I warn people about self-refuting comments.

    When you bring too much crazy it is counterproductive.

  116. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So, Steven, have you and Doug coordinated your “more in sorrow than in anger” rejection of Romney post, and his “to hell with both side” endorsement of the libertarian candidate?

    You see, I’ve got fifty bucks riding on who goes first, and I could use the money.

  117. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: If I gave a faded fart about being part of a minority, I’d stop commenting here.

    And thanks for the fascinating link. Did you go even further, and read the Five Questions? That, sir, is the most critical part of that piece.

  118. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You have an odd way to convince a majority who thinks different.

    On his 5 questions, Mish is an interesting guy, but a little out of the mainstream on hard money and etc.

    Contra Mish: Return to the gold standard

    In a thumbnail, if we were on a gold standard, we’d have to have yearly pay cuts, because population increases faster than gold mining. We can’t possibly earn the same ounces for the same work, year after year.

  119. BTW, did you catch that the Republican Platform proposes a return to the gold standard?

    The 2012 Republican platform warns against “our dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer,” for example, while demanding that “any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the 16th Amendment, which established the federal income tax.” It recommends the formation of a commission to study whether we should return to the gold standard, the last vestige of which was abandoned under President Richard M. Nixon.

    Actually that paragraph is rife with economic nuttery.

  120. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: Hey, chum, Misha was YOUR link, not mine. Never heard of him before, myself.

    Man, you threw him under the bus faster than Obama does.

  121. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    It recommends the formation of a commission to study whether we should return to the gold standard, the last vestige of which was abandoned under President Richard M. Nixon.

    I presume that that was included in the Platform to placate Ron Paul.

    People who support Ron Paul are generally not aware of his nutty ideas concerning our economy – such as a return to the Gold Standard, and elimination of the Federal Reserve, and turning over management of our monetary policy to congress.

  122. Buzz Buzz says:

    I suggest everyone bookmark this thread, so that after the elections in a few months we can come back and see just how far out of touch with reality the mindless drones of the OTB hive turned out to be.

    Personally, after the disastrous “New Direction For America” that started when the Democrats were given full control of Congress in 2006 (compounded by giving them the Presidency in 2008), I fully expect that the American electorate will use the 2012 election to finish the job they started in 2010.

  123. Eric Florack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Since when do you suggest that the market is in any way related to reality? Funny how you cite the market when it suyits your overall position.

    @john personna: About those gas prices…. If you’re a caller was all the rage back during the 2008 campaign to blame Bush for high gas prices and the popular meme was that he (And Cheney) were supposedly profiting by those high gas prices. THey tended to ignore, of course that Government was making far more per gallon than “Big Oil” but since when has fact ever entered into a good leftie bleat?

    In any event, funny, that since Obama took the throne, the prices of gas have better than doubled, and the complaints from the left about high gas prices have mysteriously disappeared

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Klein is likely the least honest blogger out there.

    @michael reynolds:Yes, he was. THen he came back to the reality of the situation.

    @anjin-san: No, Regan was the last conservative we had. And the centrists running the GOP establishment didn’t like him much… thought him too right wing. Forced Bush in as VP to balance the ticket so as not to scare the lefties too much. Funny how that lesson has yet to be learned by the GOP, to say nothing of the left.

    @DRE: Utter nonsense. Demand is controlled by the avilability of money to spend. When 60% of your income and more is going up for taxes of all kinds (which when included with taxes levied on businesses, which are after all paid by the consumer anyway as a hidden tax, goes to well over 75%) why would there be no money, hmmm?

  124. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Three things: 1) Mish was reporting the poll, it was not his. 2) I like Mish and respect him. 3) I do not go as far with him as those questions lead.

  125. al-Ameda says:

    @Buzz Buzz:

    (compounded by giving them the Presidency in 2008)

    Your presidentGeorge W. Bush crashed the economy in 2008 – the worst financial catastrophe in 80 years – and now you’re promising us that if Republicans are given one more chance they’ll finish it off?

  126. jukeboxgrad says:

    matt:

    And the issue is that she, and others, continue to repeat the lie across multiple threads despite many corrections on each thread

    Yes. And this is precisely congruent with what the leaders of her party are doing: repeating their lies even though many people have pointed out the lies. What we’re seeing is an unprecedented attempt to run a presidential campaign based on pure unadulterated bullshit.

    Link:

    RYAN LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN THEME OF LYING ABOUT EVERYTHING … In his speech to the Republican National Convention last night, Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan test-drove what the Romney-Ryan campaign says will be a major theme for the 2012 Republican campaign: “lying about everything.”

    “The question was, how many whoppers could you pack into one speech?” the campaign adviser Tracy Klugian said. “All I can say is, when Fox News accuses a Republican of lying, you know you’ve witnessed something historic.”

    Mr. Ryan pronounced himself pleased with his performance, noting that he only strayed into the truth when he recited the names of his wife and children.

    “That won’t happen again,” he laughed. “Call it opening-night jitters.”

    As for Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, he said he was working “around the clock” to add additional lies to his speech tonight: “I’m no Paul Ryan, but, darn it, I’m going to do my best.”

  127. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    I just can’t wait for you to turn your keen intellect and loathing on liars on to the Democratic convention this week.

    I will do so when they rely on lying as much as Mitt does. Feel free to point that out to me, when it happens. In the meantime, I will continue to focus my attention on what looks to me like the much bigger problem.

    Obama addressed the debt situation by appointing a blue-ribbon commission — whose report he tossed in the trash.

    I guess you mean the report that Ryan voted to block. Speaking of brazenly repeating lies.

    Also still waiting for you to explain why you told this brazen lie:

    Obama’s added about six trillion to the debt

    You just posted a bunch of new comments where you try to change the subject. This only underlines the cowardliness of your lie.

  128. jukeboxgrad says:

    buzz buzz:

    I suggest everyone bookmark this thread

    I suggest everyone ask florack/bithead/buzz buzz why he keeps changing his name.

  129. An Interested Party says:

    I suggest everyone ask florack/bithead/buzz buzz why he keeps changing his name.

    Perhaps for the same reason that JayTea/Jenos Idanian #13 does…

  130. anjin-san says:

    No Bounce for Romney in Florida
    A new Public Policy Polling survey in Florida finds President Obama leads Mitt Romney, 48% to 47%, exactly as he did five weeks ago.

    Key findings: “The Republican convention being held in Tampa appears to have been a wash. 33% of voters say it made them more likely to vote for Republicans, 33% said it made them less likely to vote for Republicans, and 34% said it didn’t make a difference to them either way.”

    http://politicalwire.com/archives/2012/09/02/no_bounce_for_romney_in_florida.html

  131. Hoyticus says:

    Is the economy weak? Yes it is. Does the office of the POTUS have any effect on the economy? Outside of appointing Federal Reserve Board Governors and bureaucrats in a few agencies and a bit of interpretation on the part of said bureaucrats, no not really.

    I’d we want GDP or Y=C+I+G+X-M or output to increase we need to boost one of the constituent terms of the equation/import less. How do you do that when households are constrained by debt and large parts of the population reject increasing G? Well you can use general wage and price inflation to lower the real debt burden for both public and private…oh wait we’re at the lower zero bound and can’t tinker with interest rates to do anything. That pretty much leaves increasing I, which doesn’t happen in the face of weak demand. Unless you’re okay with government investment. Which leaves increasing exports and decreasing imports. But around half our imports are energy…so dealing with that in the short run is near impossible. That only leaves boosting our exports and buying less stuff from Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and Germany. Which likely requires a weaker dollar and maybe even subsidies plus nitty gritty industrial policy

    Needless to say that’s a pretty arduous task. That’s without dealing with all the political machinery one has to go through to do anything.

  132. jukeboxgrad says:

    spartacus:

    … the last time a Republican was in the White House the debt exploded and McCain was offering only more of the same failed Bush economic policies. More importantly, we also know that Romney’s plan is just like Bush’s policies and will increase the debt by over $3 trillion.

    Yes. And it’s important to notice that GWB exploded the debt with the complete support of Paul Ryan, whose reputation as an alleged deficit hawk is a total fraud. Ryan voted to support GWB every single time GWB wrote a huge check that was unfunded. Which is why one conservative said this months ago, in response to the idea that Ryan should run for POTUS:

    What many people don’t know, but will find out if Ryan were crazy enough to run, is that he has not been a very good fiscal conservative in the past. The only reason that I can see why Ryan is being touted as the acceptable alternative is that no one is paying any attention to the rest of his record. … [Ryan] supported adding significantly to the government’s long-term liabilities without making any effort to pay for them, and now he is supposed to be the voice of fiscal sanity? On the two biggest, most controversial votes of the last decade relating to the financial sector and entitlements, Ryan was on the wrong side, and if they are at all serious about fiscal responsibility many, perhaps most, conservatives would hold these votes against him if he ran.

    Ryan’s elevation, despite warnings like this, demonstrates that today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ are not “at all serious about fiscal responsibility.” They’re against deficits, debt and ‘big government’ except when they and their friends are in charge of the government. Then it’s party time, and “deficits don’t matter,” as Cheney famously said.

  133. Stonetools says:

    Doug has a funny way of reading a calendar. Apparently for him, four years ago takes us to January 2009. For me, four years ago , takes us to September 2008. What happened in September 2008? Oh yeah, the Bush Administration let Shearson Lehman go bankrupt and the financial house of cards created by years of Republican mismanagement came crashing down. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression began. The answer to ” Are we better off than we were four years ago is Yes, by any measure of economic health.
    The issue is not ” Are we better off” but ” Are we as well off as we would like to be. ” Let’s take a look at history. FDR got elected in 1932 at the bottom of the Great Depression , when unemployment was 25 per cent. Four years later, unemployment was down by half- but was still 13 per cent when he ran for re-election. The economy was still horrible by any historical standard- and much worse than the economy now. Yet FDR was elected overwhelmingly. Why? Because the public saw that not only were they better off, but that under the Republicans they would have fared worse. The one good thing with two years of the Republican house of 2010 is that the public has seen exactly what a return to Republican control would do. They also seee that Romney is offering up more of the Bush policies that precipitated the crisis.
    All that said, the Democrats need to create and script a better answer to this question. Cutter, O’Malley and Axelrod gave three different answers- all of which were defensible , but not all that great, with Cutter’s answer being best. One possible response would have been to respond by arguing that we would have been much worse off with no stimulus, no ACA, no financial regulation, no focus on getting OBL, etc.

  134. Stonetools says:

    How the hell was it that Michael Reynolds came up with a better answer than the best the Obama team could offer? Michael, it’s time to offer your services as a consultant to the Obama team.

  135. jukeboxgrad says:

    jkb:

    Obama will have all next week to explain all those wonderful things

    Speaking of wonderful things that need to be explained, you need to explain your habit of depositing the same fraudulent nonsense in multiple threads and then promptly disappearing when your nonsense is shown to be nonsense (link). You should clean up those old messes before you show up in another thread and start making a pile of new ones.

    Is this your way of trying to make sure that no one takes you seriously?

  136. @Stonetools:

    It’s possible that the Obama team is saving their best answer for a better moment. Obama’s inauguration speech would not be a bad moment for it, etc.

  137. PJ says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    The correct number is $4.1T, or a bit higher. That is not “about six trillion.” One more time: your claim is a big fat lie. It’s inflated by roughly 50%.

    Mutt Williams is fan of the Paul Ryan about.

    Paul Ryan said he ran a marathon in about 2:55 or so, he actually ran it in 4:01.
    Mutt Williams said that Obama added about $6T, he actually added about $4.1T.

    Fact-checking is so yesterday.

  138. Stonetools says:

    @john personna:

    I hope so. However, we got four different answers, none of them as good as Micheal’s . I think the Obama team was just not ready for the question. The good thing is that they have till Thursday to craft a better answer.

  139. michael reynolds says:

    @Stonetools:

    How the hell was it that Michael Reynolds came up with a better answer than the best the Obama team could offer? Michael, it’s time to offer your services as a consultant to the Obama team.

    What, me work for consultant money? And put in consultant hours? Hah.

    But I wondered about the same point: I can narrow the list down to four or six big hits. Why can’t they do the same?

    The other thing that surprised me is how ineffectual the right-wing commenters have been. I lined up 13 juicy targets. And they got nothing? Wow.

  140. @michael reynolds:

    I let you skate on one 😉

    12) Women can get equal pay for equal work.

    In a offer, counter-offer, society there is no equal pay. There is only the next negotiation.

    Of course, I speak as someone who enjoyed negotiation.

  141. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: jan 2009 avg gas price was $1.84 according to consumer reports. no need to repeat history. i’ll even throw you link, you’re welcome.

    http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2009/01/average-gas-pricesjanuary-26-2009.html

  142. bill says:

    i think the majority of America will say no, those working for the gov’t. might say yes. that’s what happens when you elect someone with minimal qualifications.

  143. @bill:

    You are aware that the reason that energy prices were so low in January 2009 is because the world was going through the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, right?

  144. matt says:

    @Doug Mataconis: NO NO NO Lower gas prices had NOTHING to do with the slump in demand due to the worst economic crises in 80 years. No supply and demand doesn’t work like that. It was all because we elected the fine upstanding conservative man known as Bush. Once the evil marxist islamic kenyan anti-american god hating baby killing socialist was elected that all the problems began and that’s why gas prices are so high now.. AT this rate if we re-elect the empty suit with no experience or accomplishments gas will rise to $1000 a gallon!!!

  145. bill says:

    @Doug Mataconis: yeah, “fact checking” is all doug! i like “facts” vs. “rhetoric”.

  146. DRE says:

    @Eric Florack: @DRE: Utter nonsense. Demand is controlled by the avilability of money to spend. When 60% of your income and more is going up for taxes of all kinds

    Are you even trying? Please explain to me how taxes suddenly took all the money out of the economy in 2008? Why was there any money at all in the economy in the 90’s before GWB’s wonderful tax cuts?

  147. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “None of this is surprising, of course. While it’s technically true that the economic condition of the country is better than it was on January 20, 2009 in that we’re not in the middle of a deep recession and shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per months, it’s also true that we are experiencing the worst economic recovery since the end of World War II”

    If this is honesty on your part, Doug, what would dishonesty look like?

  148. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “You are aware that the reason that energy prices were so low in January 2009 is because the world was going through the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, right?”

    In which case we are undeniably better off now than four years ago.