Initially I wrote this post as an update to my earlier unemployment analysis, but this deserves a stand-alone post for the sheer tone-deafness of the Obama inner circle. Just one day before the Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered the worst jobs report in months, David Plouffe insisted that jobs wouldn’t be a deciding factor in the 2012 presidential election:
Plouffe, who ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, previewed the arguments the president and his team will sound 16 months before an election that could be a referendum on Obama’s handling of the economy. While history has shown the unemployment rate to be a leading indicator of an incumbent’s success, Plouffe said Americans won’t base their votes on it.
“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’”
Really? That’s a big change from 2008, when the Obama-Biden ticket campaigned specifically on that three-letter word:
Look, John’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.
So, I guess we can infer that “jobs” has reverted to a four-letter word in the White House, eh?
This doesn’t even qualify as spin. This is denial on the scale of Baghdad Bob. The “prism” of GDP and the unemployment rate are precisely how Americans evaluate the economy. They don’t give a damn if the President makes decisions “based on me and my family” if those decisions turn out to be disastrous, and right now, that’s the case presented in the latest economic slide. Plouffe’s argument seems to be that people will vote for caring incompetence — and while that may be the only argument left for Obama’s re-election, Plouffe and company are about to find out that denial isn’t exactly a winning strategy.
Obama will address these numbers in a few minutes at the White House. Will the press corps ask him to explain Plouffe’s statement and to describe exactly how Americans don’t evaluate the economy on GDP and jobless rates?
Update: Allahpundit e-mailed me this story, in which Mitt Romney all but guarantees that the press will have to ask Obama about Plouffe’s remarks:
“Today’s abysmal jobs report confirms what we all know – that President Obama has failed to get this economy moving again. Just this week, President Obama’s closest White House adviser said that ‘unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers’ do not matter to the average American.
“If David Plouffe were working for me, I would fire him and then he could experience firsthand the pain of unemployment. His comments are an insult to the more than 20 million people who are out of work, underemployed or who have simply stopped looking for jobs. With their cavalier attitude about the economy, the White House has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of indifference.”
Ouch. It may be low-hanging fruit, but Romney managed to squeeze as much juice out of it as possible.