By Cheri Jacobus - 06/09/11 10:21 PM EDT
Let’s get this straight — President Obama says he’s not at all worried that the nation is on a double-dip recession track, even though he admits he has no idea what the meaning of the sudden downturn in job growth foretells. He claims the nation is on a path of solid but uneven recovery and we should not “panic.” I guess in his view, cheery optimism will save the day — or perhaps he can rely on the faux security of presidential denial.
Far from calming our fears, the president’s nervous state of denial sends chills down our spines with the depth and breadth of its naiveté and dishonesty. A new CNN/Public Opinion Research poll indicates nearly half of Americans believe the United States will likely suffer another Great Depression within the year. While there are many divergent definitions and varied opinions as to what constitutes an economic depression as opposed to a recession, long-held fears, family memories, history and similarities between the Great Depression and what Americans are currently experiencing suggest a forshadowing of electoral uprising against congressional Democrats and Obama for economic woes felt nationwide. The same poll places the economy as the No. 1 issue Americans care about, while showing a sharp decline in Obama’s approval numbers — now below 50 percent.
The news of economic disarray doesn’t end there for Obama despite one positive nugget of news — that Obama’s beleaguered chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, would soon be out of the catbird seat and is leaving his post — post haste.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that monetary policy should not be viewed as the “panacea” for economic downturns, as the Fed is ending its controversial buying of Treasury bonds, pouring cold water on Obama’s plans to continue to rely on the Fed to help stave off further economic downturn.
And, with home prices falling another 4 percent, Obama seems reluctant to let it color his Pollyannaish view of the economy he leads, and for which he is largely accountable. It should not come as any surprise, then, that we learned just this week the president has eliminated his daily economic briefings, provided by his economic team, from his schedule. Instead, he now only gets daily documents from his National Economic Council. To further confuse matters, the only daily in-person economic briefing on our failing national economy Obama treats himself to appears to be with, and by, Vice President Biden. This would be the same Joe Biden who claimed the economy was recovering and “gaining traction” only six days before the poor jobs report was released. The same Joe Biden who claimed the Obama administration’s bailout “saved” the American auto industry from bankruptcy, despite the fact Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, followed by GM only a month later — both AFTER receiving the very generous wad of federal bailout cash, courtesy of the American taxpayer.
Note: Ford Motors did not go under, and did not accept bailout funds, opting instead to streamline and improve in order to survive and be competitive. Ford happily announced this week that sales are expected to increase by 50 percent by 2014. However, Obama and Biden choose to ignore the Ford success story, as it does not fit into their version of economic fairytales amid their costly interference and obvious bumbling.
Revisionist history? Stupidity? Denial? Take your pick. One is not more attractive or less frightening than another.
But glass-as-half-full pronouncements, as nifty as they sound on the campaign trail when pandering for votes and applause lines, will not satiate voters come Election Day. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on you.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.
A factual error in this column was corrected at 4:23 p.m. on Friday, June 10. — Ed.