Let’s return to yesterday’s OOTD, in which Barack Obama dismissed the idea that voters had rejected his economic policies, saying that had unemployment gone down to 5%, voters would have simply loved Obamanomics:
Well, Savannah, I think that what I think is absolutely true is voters are not satisfied with the outcomes. If right now we had 5 percent unemployment instead of 9.6 percent unemployment, then people would have more confidence in those policy choices.
The statement in itself is clueless, but it may also be politically clueless. Doyle McManus, writing from the liberal perspective in the LA Times, wonders whether Obama has just set the bar to measure success or failure for 2012:
Obama was right about one big factor: He has a terrible recession weighing him down. If unemployment were at 5%, he said, his party would have done much better. He’s right, but there’s no prospect of unemployment returning to 5% for at least four years, so Democrats will have to hope voters don’t hold them to that standard when they vote again in 2012.
Part of politics is setting expectations. Overpromising and underdelivering is the fastest way to defeat, as Obama discovered with his Porkulus plan. He and his economic team promised that the stimulus plan would keep unemployment from going past 8% and would lead to significant job creation in the first half of this year. Instead, joblessness has hovered near 10% and we’re at least a year away from any significant job creation.
Now Obama is setting 5% as the threshold for success. That will be almost impossible to meet, at least under the conditions imposed by Obama and his Democratic colleagues over the last two years. If voters hold Obama to his words from yesterday, he’s boxed himself into failure.
Oh, by the way, when did Obama’s economic team originally predict a return to 5% unemployment under Porkulus? The third quarter of 2012 — right in time for Election Day. Where did Tim Geithner predict it to be now in his March 16, 2010 testimony to Congress? Eight percent.
I see the Ministry of Truth setting the employment rate at 95% and a growth of 100, 1,000, er, one million jobs a month, in the near future.
Victory Gin anyone….?