Steve Benen put up a post the other day about an exchange between Candy Crowley and David Axelrod that is a perfect illustration of how the media has morphed into stenographers for politicians, mostly Republicans. Many in the media have abandoned critical thinking and analysis in lieu of the easy routes – polls, talking points and false equivalency nonsense.
Here is the exchange that has Candy Crowley doing the heavy lifting for the Romney campaign.
CROWLEY: But couldn’t that huge gap, which is a pretty big gap between those who think you could handle the economy as opposed to Mitt Romney — couldn’t it also be that, from the day — from the month the president took office, we still have 1.7 million fewer jobs in the marketplace?
AXLEROD: Candy, let’s have — you know what, I’m happy to have that discussion. Do you know that, when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and 2008, Governor Romney had nothing but praise for the economic policies that were in place at that time, as America was sliding into the worst recession since the Great Depression, after eight years in which we…
CROWLEY: But this isn’t Romney. This is a fact.
Steve Benen goes on to point out that in the first 6 months of the Obama presidency, the country lost 3.89 million jobs. And yes, President Obama was president at the time of those job losses, but if anyone thinks that a single thing that President Obama did in that first 6 months had ANYTHING to do with the job losses, they are seriously deluded.
Here is a chart that shows the number of job losses/gains over the last 10 years or so.
You can clearly see that the recession began under the Bush administration in 2008 and continued into the first year of President Obama’s “first” term. Notice the downturn in 2001 under President Bush, that wasn’t Bush’s fault either. If anyone is responsible for that downturn, it would be President Clinton.
In the many economics classes I suffered through in college, there was one thing that was pounded into our heads over and over again. It was the idea that the economy flows in cycles. What goes up will surely come down. They also taught us that policies enacted by any administration only have a marginal effect on the overall economy. I would argue that the stimulus package that was passed in 2009 had a greater impact than most, simply because of its size. But to be honest, what President Obama did was to stabilize our economy, which then allowed for it to begin to grow again.
Another concept we learned in these economics classes was that it takes time for changes in policies to have an impact. There is a lag time between when actions by the Fed or laws passed by congress have an impact. The analogy that it takes time to turn a giant ship around applies very nicely to our economy.
So regardless of what administration is in office, I try not to play the blame game when it comes to the economy. But I do play the “push back” game on those who do like to play the blame game – especially in instances like the one above. Candy Crowley clearly doesn’t understand how our economy works, or she is choosing to play dumb in order to further the new TeaNN network she works for.
When you include the fact that the first budget President Obama signed was one that was negotiated by the previous congress and President Bush, it becomes even more tenuous to try to pin those job losses on President Obama. President Obama reluctantly signed that budget into law, not wanting to create any more uncertainty than already existed. Remember how people were freaking out about the “Second Great Depression?” I do.
And then there is this little tidbit that Steve Benen posted today that shows that the vast majority of Americans don’t blame President Obama for the bad economy, no matter how hard the Republicans and Fox News have tried to do so.
The key to understanding this is simple — most folks still don’t blame the president for the mess he inherited.
A majority of Americans believe that former President George W. Bush is more responsible than President Obama for the current economic problems in the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Fifty-four percent of respondents said that Bush was more to blame while 29 percent put the blame on Obama; 9 percent said both men deserved blame while 6 percent said neither did. Among registered voters, the numbers are almost identical; 54 percent blame Bush, while 30 percent blame Obama.
Independents, widely considered the most critical voting bloc this fall, continue to blame Bush far more than Obama for the economic troubles. Fifty-seven percent of unaffiliated voters put the blame on the former Republican president, while 25 percent believe the blame rests more with Obama.
Heck, even one in five Republicans say Bush is more responsible than Obama for the state of the economy! (emphasis mine)
The same poll shows that the American people hold the Republicans responsible for the gridlock in Washington with 60% saying that President Obama is trying to work with Republicans to “accomplish” something while only 27% say the same about Republicans.
At some point, you would think that Candy Crowley would actually pay attention to some of the polls that run counter to the memes she is trying to push and realize that she looks pretty stupid to most people when she trumpets Republican party talking points that exist only in the wet dreams of the Tea Partiers.