Maryland governor flip-flops on ‘better off’ question … in 24 hours

posted at 9:31 am on September 3, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

What a difference a day makes … twenty-four little hours …  Why, just yesterday all was doom and gloom for Maryland’s Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley, who admitted to Bob Schieffer yesterday that he couldn’t say that people are better off now than four years ago, although he rushed to add, “but that’s not the question for this election”:

One day later — and presumably, one Cory Booker-esque call from Team Obama — suddenly the world looks a lot rosier to Governor O’Malley:

A day after saying, no, the country was not better off than it was four years ago, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley reversed course on Monday and said, yes, indeed it was.

“We are clearly better of as a country because we’re now creating jobs rathare than losing them,” O’Malley, a Democrat, said on CNN’s Starting Point. “But we have not recovered all that we lost in the Bush recession. That’s why we need to continue to move forward.”

He then motioned to a panel that included Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, among others. “Is there anyone on this panel that thinks we’ve recovered all we lost in the Bush recession? Clearly we’re moving forward, we’re creating jobs, unemployment is down, job creation is up. And that job creation would not happen without the president’s leadership.”

That is, of course, an absurd point.  Some jobs were going to be created regardless of government policy; even the Christine Romer rationale for Obama’s stimulus package acknowledged that in its now-notorious chart. This, by the way, is the latest iteration of what impact Obama’s stimulus actually had against the prediction without the stimulus:

Since the June 2009 recovery, we’ve added less than 66,000 jobs a month on average, about half of what’s needed just to keep up with population growth. That’s why the civilian population participation rate has dropped since June 2009 from 65.7% to 63.7% and hit a 30-year low in April at 63.6%.

Not even O’Malley can actually believe that spin, which is why his initial unguarded answer was a more accurate “no.”  But as National Journal reports, Democrats are now desperately trying damage control over their fumbles yesterday on the “better off” question:

With their national convention starting this week, Democrats took to morning television on Monday to better answer a question that many struggled with on Sunday’s talk shows: is the country better off four years after President Obama took office.

With a definitive “absolutely,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the country was moving in the right direction by pointing to job growth and the auto industry.

“By any measure the country has moved forward over the last four years,” she said on NBC’s Today. “It might not be as fast as people hoped. The president agrees with that. He knows we need to do more. That’s what this week is about, laying out a road map of how we can continue this progress, how we can continue moving the country forward.”

Cutter then placed blame on Congressional Republicans for not moving on Democratic jobs proposals, saying the GOP has not cooperated with Democrats to promote economic growth. She also said the situation left by President George W. Bush was a grave one.

Actually, it’s the Democratic Senate that’s not moving on jobs bills from the Republican House — and it was a fully Democratic Congress that ignored job stagnation for nearly two years to pass ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. That’s the point made by the RNC in a new 60-second spot, one that shows Barack Obama saying the same thing over and over again, and asking the “better off” question once again:


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