House Speaker John Boehner told a closed meeting of his colleagues that a Republican pollster found that for the first time, most Americans blame President Barack Obama for the economic troubles, not George W. Bush.
“Barack Obama came into office blaming George W. Bush for the state of the economy and the lack of job creation,” Boehner said, according to a source in the room. “For years, that pass-the-buck strategy worked. But at the end of last year, a turning point was reached. For the first time, a majority of Americans now say they believe the troubles in our economy are more the result of the policies of the present than the policies of the past.”
The poll, conducted by longtime Boehner ally David Winston, shows that in November 2013, 41 percent of those polled blame the economic woes on policies of the past while 49 percent blame policies of the present. After the 2012 election, 53 percent blamed past policies and 44 percent blamed today’s policies.
— John Boehner: Poll finds Obama to blame, Jake Sherman, Politico, today
Each time I read about some Republican pol blaming referring to the high unemployment rate as “the Obama economy” as a way to obtain approval from the Tea Party to support an extension of unemployment compensation for the long-term unemployed (which I the last few weeks has happened repeatedly), I momentarily, but only momentarily, expect Obama to make a statement detailing the dramatic reductions in public-sector employment, virtually across the board: federal, state and local throughout the country. In that brief moment of reflex, I expect him to point out that this is unprecedented since the Hoover administration and differs dramatically from what occurred during and immediately after recessions ever since.
I expect him, in other words, to educate the public about basic Keynesian economics. And to point out that the economy we have is in fact the one chosen by the Republicans, not by the Democrats in Congress and not by him.
Or, to borrow Boehner’s phrasing, I expect him to explain that the troubles in our economy indeed are more the result of the policies of the present than the policies of the past. And to explain exactly what those policies are, and who has insisted upon them. The specifics of the sequester, for example, might be a good thing to include in an explain. Should he provide one.
He won’t, of course. That would require him to deviate from equating family finances and government finances, and back several years ago some political advisor told him that all economics matters must be presented to the public as analogy to family economics, even when the analogy is baldly false and undermines your position. And, Obama being Obama, he not only believed it but hasn’t since noticed the ill effects of this on fiscal policy and consequently the overall economy.
Obama has the opportunity to upend the Republican claim that this is “the Obama economy, by providing a clear, detailed statement of the actual facts–statistics, competing policy proposals, and actual economics–in his upcoming State of the Union address. He won’t, though; that would require actual specifics placed into a coherent explanation, rather than a one-off sentence or two. It might even require charts and graphs!
Charts, graphs, statistics, economics, and other facts are people, my president. Just like corporations. In exactly the same way that Romney actually meant that corporations are people, my friend. But, no matter. He won’t employ them.
But the slack can be picked up, to some extent, at least, by Senate Dems. Dick Durbin, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Patty Murray, Barbara Mikulski, Chris Coons, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall. And, yes, Harry Reid. Please pick up Boehner’s gauntlet, senators. And soon.