Declaring Victory Despite Failure – When is it Possible?

Iraq is a mess. (The best description of the current situation I’ve seen is from Matthew Yglesias). Everyone, even GW, is willing to admit things haven’t turned out as planned. (The plan, as I recall, involved finding WMDs, US troops packing up and going home six months later, etc.)

But things in the economy haven’t gone according to plan either. And yes, there was an official plan, the administration’s Economic Blueprint. My favorite part is the first and biggest policy initiative – expanding the surplus and paying down the debt.

But when it comes to the economy, there are still plenty of people touting how successful the plan was. How many times have you heard that the tax cuts are working – the evidence being a small shrinkage in the deficit that didn’t even exist when GW took office, or a growth rate that is up from the recession?

The signs of failure (i.e., the vast chasm between declared goals and current conditions) are, if anything, bigger when it comes to the economy than when it comes to Iraq. At least with Iraq, GW can claim to have vanquished Saddam. With the economy, he vanquished the surplus. So what accounts for the fact that Fox News viewers are willing to admit there are problems with Iraq, and nevertheless think GW knows what he’s doing when it comes to the economy?