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WP: Why Obama Needs To Make History Again

From one of Obama’s top campaign advisors, Chris Cillizza, at the Washington Post:

Why President Obama needs to make history in 2012. Again.

by Chris Cillizza | Friday August 3, 2012

Amid the back and forth about Friday’s jobs report, one thing is abundantly clear: To win a second term on November 6, President Obama is going to have to defy history.

Obama has been defying the American people for years. He might as well defy history.

Why? Because the July jobs report affirmed the now-certain reality that the unemployment rate won’t drop below eight percent between today and November. And no sitting president since World War II has been re-elected with the unemployment rate above 7.2 percent.

The numbers are daunting for Obama. The unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months— its longest period ever…

We suspect that this might not be true, given the Great Depression. But perhaps it is, if you look at our U6 numbers (now at 15%), which was how unemployment was measured during the 1930s.

In any case, it’s clear that eight percent unemployment is the new normal under Obama-nomics.

Just for kicks, we asked the folks at Hamilton Place Strategies, a Republican economic consulting firm, to project how many jobs the economy would need to add in each of the next three months for the unemployment rate to get underneath eight percent. The answer? 279,000 jobs a month, a total that even in the best month of 2012 — January when 275,000 jobs were created — the economy didn’t reach.

With even the most optimistic Democrats admitting that such sustained job growth is simply not going to happen, the question now is how/whether the country’s first black president can again make history by winning a second term amid record-high unemployment in the country.

And don’t forget he is the first gay President, too.

The model for Obama in this quest is Republican Ronald Reagan who set the modern mark when he cruised to re-election in 1984 despite an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent. But, that comparison is inexact due the difference in trend lines for Reagan and Obama on the unemployment rate.

While the unemployment rate was in double digits at the start of 1983, it began a steady — and somewhat dramatic — decline as Reagan prepared to run for a second term in 1984. That trend line meant that Reagan could effectively argue that his policies were beginning to work.

Obama’s trend line — a far less dramatic decline marred by spikes in each of the last three summers — makes it far more difficult for him to make the Reagan “see things are starting to work” case.

Reagan could argue that his policies were working because his policies were working. Cutting taxes has worked every time it has ever been tried. But Obama will not cut taxes, or even given up on raising them, even to save his re-election.

Instead what Obama must do is put forward a two-pronged argument: 1) Things would have been far worse had my Administration not acted in the way that we did and 2) Have you seen the other guy?

To date, the Obama campaign has been more successful in negatively defining former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (#2) than they have in making the case that the policies the president put in place avoided economic disaster (#1).

To win, however, Obama will need to make both arguments successfully. It’s a fine line to walk but given the historically difficult economic and electoral environment in which Obama has to run, it’s likely his only shot to step outside of historic norms — again.

And never mind that both #1 and #2 are blatant lies. After all, what does reality have to do with any of this? For people like Chris Cillizza, it’s all just a game. But why is a reporter for the Washington Post giving Obama campaign strategy suggestions, anyway?

Still, this article got us to thinking. How else has Obama made history? What are some of his other historic firsts?

Obama is the first President to exceed the total historic country debt in less than four years. He has given us greatest tax increase in history. He was the first President to win a Nobel Peace Prize by winning an election. The first President to call his political opponent a felon…

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, August 6th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “WP: Why Obama Needs To Make History Again”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Stilson Hutchins founded the Washington Post in 1877 explicitly to “promote and extend the power of the Democratic Party.”

    Don’t ever forget that.

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