Barack Obama gave himself a “good, solid B-plus” for his first year in office, but the rest of the country gave him a big, red F — in a CNN poll, of all places. Obama has an explanation for the tough grading system that negated his self-delivered grade inflation, of course. The economy was much worse than he could have imagined, he tells ABC News:
Nearly one year after his inauguration, President Obama admits that Americans have every right to feel deflated at the progress made in his first year in office.
“They have every right to feel deflated because the economy was far worse than any of us expected,’” the president tells People magazine in an interview, “The day I was sworn in, we now know that we were in the process of losing 650,000 jobs in December and 700,000 jobs in January, another 650,000 in March. So people rightly have been anxious this year.”
Uh, where to begin with this? First, the reason Obama gets a big fail isn’t because the economy was bad when he took office; it’s because he hasn’t done anything to improve it. Jobs have disappeared at a steady clip all year long despite passing a stimulus bill that he and his economic advisers assured Americans would halt the upward surge of unemployment at 8%. Now we’re at 10%, and the only reason it’s that low is because workers have fled the system in record numbers.
Next, we knew damned well we were in the middle of losing that many jobs in January, February, and March. We lost 766,000 jobs in May 2008, 614,000 jobs in August, another 603,000 in October, and almost 800,000 in December. In fact, by the time of the election, we had already shed 2.737 million jobs, and in November and December we would lose another 1.228 million on top of those.
Furthermore, Obama supposedly had his economic team putting together their plan during those two months, when he promised to “hit the ground running” despite his total lack of executive experience. With total job losses at the time at almost 4 million jobs the previous year, Christina Romer published her infamous projections of employment in early January that warned that unemployment could go as high as 9% if Congress didn’t give Obama a trillion-dollar stimulus package.
The only way Obama could possibly have been that ignorant of the economic position would have been to lock himself in a box for six months. Even now, a year after taking office, Obama still wants to shift blame onto Bush for a lost year in which Obama did everything he could to stall real growth and economic recovery.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!