The Washington Post

Friday question answered

Friday’s job numbers gave economists and incumbent pols reason to worry that the “recovery” has slowed and that job growth is insufficient to reduce unemployment.

A few readers argued that the continued weakness in the economy will imperil President Obama’s reelection chances. Epigonigrp writes: “If liberal economic policies fail to lower CPI [the consumer price index] and increase production and lower unemployment, [Obama] will never see a second term.”

Ekeizer, however, argues that voters are immune to facts: “ Democrats look at the economy and see it improving; Republicans look at the same numbers and believe it’s not improving fast enough. The number of so-called ‘independents’ who aren’t sure what to think are also unlikely to be sure they’ll vote at all. I have a hard time believing that the economy will sway such a polarized electorate much at all.” Well, let’s hope the electorate is a bit less evidence-averse than that.

What was interesting, however, was how many Obama fans wanted to talk about something else or deny that even a crummy economy will be enough to dislodge Obama. Jeffreyt211 contends: “Without very high unemployment, the President will have Romney on the defensive the entire campaign.” (Apparently 8.2 percent is not “very high” unemployment in some quarters).

RegisUrgel, from my vantage point, has it about right: “Jobs continue to be created. But many ‘old jobs’ (old manufacturing) are gone forever. I expect an unemployment rate under 8%, but not lower than 7.5%. So Romney will have something to contend with as well. Not a slam dunk for anyone.”

The notion that Obama can sail by unless the economy gets much, much worse is, I would suggest, wishful thinking by Democrats. They underestimate the degree to which Obamacare’s demise may render the president without a single domestic “accomplishment” and Americans’ distress about not only jobs but our looming debt crisis. Obama better have a better defense than “Romney is radical” or “It’s Bush’s fault.” Moreover, he better have an agenda for what he still wants to do. I haven’t heard that yet.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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