You can almost hear the note of surprise in their voices when you read the Washington Post and New York Times reporters’ stories on their papers’ latest political polls.
Surprise! Just when they thought that Barack Obama was pulling ahead, with positive job ratings, and just after the mainstream media have been savaging Republicans for two words Rush Limbaugh uttered on his radio program, Obama’s numbers seem to be tanking.
Actually, the numbers are not so striking or so surprising. The media narrative for the last four weeks has been that the president’s job approval has been rising in response to good economic news.
But the economic news has not been all that striking. We had a quarter in which economic growth reached 2.8 percent. We’ve had two months with job growth of better than 200,000.
Peachy. But in 1983, the year before Ronald Reagan’s re-election, the gross domestic product rose 8.9 percent not just for one quarter but over the whole year. There were two months when job growth was 729,000 and 660,000.
That’s the kind of economic recovery that enables an incumbent president’s campaign to run a credible “Morning in America” ad. If the Obama campaign ran one now, it would be fodder for “Saturday Night Live” and Jon Stewart.