The GOP has a new favorite line about President Obama and if the speed with which they’ve all adopted it is any indication, then it works well with focus groups, and, through sheer repitition, it makes its way seamlessly into news article after news article.
Obama inherited a tough economy, they say, but “he made it worse.”
Mitt Romney’s saying it, members of the GOP congressional leadership say it over and over again at their weekly press conferences. It’s not going anywhere.
The problem is that, by most metrics, this is simply false. Yes, the economy shed millions of jobs in late 2008 and early 2009, so unemployment is higher now than it was when Obama took office. But, as others have pointed out, when he took office the economy was shrinking, it’s now growing again. When he took office, the economy was shedding jobs, it’s now creating them. You can fault him for doing too little, or not doing it well enough, but as bad as things are, they’re not worse than they were two and a half years ago. And non-partisan fact checkers agree.For clarity, I asked Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) after the Senate Republicans’ weekly press conference to explain how the economy is worse now than it was in early 2009, and whether he’d prefer to preside over that situation, or the current one.
“We all agree that he inherited some problems, but his job was not to get in the boat and say the boat is sinking, I found the problem, there’s a hole in the boat. The solution’s not supposed to be let’s put another hole in the boat. And that’s been the effect of what he’s done. By his decisions he’s made the problem worse. Let’s take the health care mandates, and let’s be very specific. The chain restaurants of America, which are the largest employers outside the government have all said that health care costs are going to cause them to hire fewer people — he’s made the job problem worse.”
His list went on to include financial reform, trade agreements, and debt. Republicans can argue that his policies are stifling economic growth. But the very fact of economic growth means things are not worse. But on they go, and they’re very disciplined about sticking to this line.
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