You knew this was coming, and perhaps it’s a sign of uncommon common sense that the media didn’t give it very much play. With their economic policies collapsing, Democrats are desperate to fend off electoral catastrophe in the midterm elections. Harry Reid offered the first salvo in their strategy to blame the economy not on the havoc caused by their radical and high-spending agenda of the past two years, but on Republicans who point out that it hasn’t worked:
Republicans hope unemployment rates jump higher to give them a better shot at retaking Congress, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday.
At a press conference announcing a package of proposals to help small business, the Nevada Democrat said Republicans were obstructing legislation to help the economy for political reasons.
“They think the worse the economy is come November, the better they’re going to do election-wise,” Reid said.
We have heard this before, and to be fair, Republicans complained about this in reverse when John Kerry kept talking about the “jobless recovery” in 2004. There was a major difference between 2004 and now, however. In 2004, the American economy was actually adding jobs, the civilian participation percentage in the workforce never got below 62%, and the unemployment rate didn’t get over the mid-sixes. By the time of the general election, the US economy was adding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month — real, private-sector jobs, and not Census Bureau temps.
We actually had an economy to “talk down” in 2004. In 2010, it’s almost ludicrous to talk it up. Civilian participation has plummeted to generational lows. The Democrats spent over $860 billion to save jobs, and the only jobs actually saved were government jobs that will have to get rescued again with more state bailouts. Retail sales have begun falling again as the false optimism of the first quarter gives way to the clearer picture after the short-term stimuli have dissipated. Capital remains on the sidelines, not because Republicans point out the economic indicators, but because investors don’t want to sink money into excessive uncertainty about future taxes, regulations, and top-down mandates.
No one wants this to continue. Republicans are just pointing out that these are the predictable outcomes of government running amuck, just as we predicted would happen all along. If Obama suddenly became a free-market Friedman acolyte and demanded an end to Democratic Keynesianism, we’d cheer him on.
There is a difference between rooting for failure and observing that the natural consequences of class-warfare, populist, anti-capital policies have unfolded just as predicted. The fact that Reid can’t actually tell the difference is Exhibit A in the argument that he needs to be retired by his constituents.
Update: The irony of the man who announced on Capitol Hill in 2007 that “the war is lost” complaining about cheerleading for failure was lost on me this morning, but not on our commenters. Nice work!
Update II: The irony doesn’t end there, either. This is Harry Reid in April 2007:
“We’re going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) told reporters yesterday. “Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding.”
Reid was referring to Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Senate Democrats’ campaign chief. “You look at the polling numbers of Republican senators, and the war in Iraq is a lead weight attached to their ankles. They know that,” Schumer said.
Senator Reid, who cheerleads failure and defeat for political gain?