Ramirez on presidential grade inflation

It’s taken people almost two weeks to catch up to a nugget in Barack Obama’s interview with 60 Minutes that CBS, for obvious reasons, didn’t show on air but included in the transcriptThe Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke immediately recognized the absurdity of Obama’s claim to have been more accomplished than any other president in his first two years, with the possible exception of FDR, LBJ, and some guy named Abraham Lincoln almost two centuries ago:

President Obama suggested, during his recent CBS interview, that his domestic and foreign policy achievements over his first term surpass any other United States president, “with the possible exceptions” of Presidents Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.

“I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln,” Obama told Steve Kroft, “just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history.”

This would make a great Obamateurism — and it did last week, also winning the OOTW poll last Sunday.  You’ll get a chance to vote on it again next week in the OOTY polls, so keep your eyes peeled.  It’s getting noticed by more commentators this week than last, too, including our old friend Michael Ramirez, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for Investors Business Daily.  Rather than calling him the most accomplished President ever, Ramirez awards him another distinction entirely:

Say, didn’t Ronald Reagan inherit a worse economy and manage to produce better results by the same point in his presidency?  Why yes, in fact, he did.  Reagan came into office with a jobless rate of 7.5% and economic malaise; Obama came into office with the jobless rate at 7.8%.  By November of the third year, Reagan’s unemployment rate was 8.5%, while Obama’s is 8.6%.  Reagan got those numbers while growing the civilian labor force participation rate slightly from 63.9% to 64.1%, a trend that would accentuate the jobless rate.  Obama, on the other hand, got to 8.6% while the civilian labor force participation rate dropped from 65.7% to 64.0%, which artificially lowered the unemployment rate figure.  Not coincidentally, Obama has now brought the participation rate to its lowest level since … Reagan.

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.