Friday, September 7, 2012

Unemployment Rate Drops To 8.1%, Birdcage Liners Call It Bad News

In this media market, you can't win for losing. New unemployment figures were announced today. The official unemployment rate dropped from 8.3% to 8.1%, but because only 96,000 jobs were created, Greg Sargent of WaPo headlined that the news was "disappointing," and did not admit the lower percentage until the end of the second graf. A Boston Herald reporter by the unlikely name of "Herald Staff" announced the percentage at the top, but complained that "[t]he lower jobless rate is a sign that more Americans have given up looking for work..."

Clearly the news is not great. But imagine what the rags would have said if the actual unemployment percentage rate had gone up. Right. Call it the "heds [sic], Obama loses" scenario.

I'd like to blame the whole economic situation on somebody. But with all of Barack Obama's flaws, and I'm the first to admit he has many, Obama is not in a position to have fixed the GeeDubya Bush mess, with a Republican House majority and a Senate that requires a 60% vote to pass any damned thing, in one term. Let's remember Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's assessment:
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
Not to revive the economy. Not to facilitate growth in employment. Not to help people whose mortgages are underwater. Not to help women who are raped and pregnant; gawd-a'mighty, not that. No, the single most important thing the GOP set out to do over the past four years was to wreck the economy beyond easy repair. Props to Turtleface for saying it straight out... and damn him to hell for following through.

What the GOP has done may or may not turn out to have political advantage for that party. But as policy, it has held nothing but disaster for Americans in dire economic times. I believe the GOP should pay at the polls.


  1. The Republicans seem to be about power at any costs.

  2. jams, there's a good traditional story in American post-W.W.II presidential politics, possibly true, possibly apocryphal, but either way containing considerable wisdom:

    The great Adlai Stevenson, the Democrat who had the misfortune to run against Dwight Eisenhower at a time when no one could possibly have defeated Ike, was told by a supporter, "Surely you will win. Every thinking person will vote for you!" Stevenson is said to have replied, "But madam, that's not enough: I need a majority!"

    Today, the two major parties are almost equally balanced in number, and the presidency hangs in the balance to be tipped by independent voters. The Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelman and other obscenely wealthy people have realized that it is far easier to influence the small number of independents... especially those that are, to put it politely, not Einstein... than to sway members of the Democratic Party to vote for the gawd-awful candidates the GOP offers in its quest for more money and power. So the Kochs, taking advantage of the Citizens United ruling, wholly underwrote the first election campaign of the Tea Party wing of the GOP in 2010. They were spectacularly successful. The Tea Party folks are white, middle-class, middle-aged, not stupid but not insightful, and absolutely certain that something has been taken away from them, specifically by minorities of all sorts. Add the god-botherers and you've got a majority of nonaligned voters.

    And now the nuts control the asylum. I don't know what it will take to wrest it from their grasp. You are absolutely right that money is now power, power that effectively cannot be challenged, and the GOP has the money. At the moment, I cannot see how this can end well.



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