Great news: Obama to pivot to the economy

I’ve lost count of the pivots back to jobs and economic growth Barack Obama has promised over the years. (The NRCC counts eleven times, but that seems low.)  His first promised pivot came in December 2009, when he promised to put off ObamaCare and conduct a “hard pivot” to jobs, which had continued their decline 10 months after the passage of his $800 billion stimulus.  That ended up being a 360-degree pivot as the White House put on the full-court press for ObamaCare anyway.

A year later, after the disastrous midterm elections, Obama pledged that economic growth would be his “singular focus.”  Eight months later, Obama again insisted that it was his “singular focus,” despite not putting forward any pro-growth agenda and a Democratic Senate actively blocking the Republican House’s legislation. The result: American GDP growth in 2011 came to 1.8%, less than 2010’s wan 2.4%, and in 2012 came to a similarly stagnant 2.2%.

But this time, Obama really means it, or something:

President Obama will deliver the first in a series of economic speeches Wednesday aimed at gaining the upper hand in this fall’s looming budget showdown with Congress.

Obama will speak at Knox College in Illinois, the same location where he first outlined his economic vision as a Senate candidate in 2005.

What’s up with Pivot #37B?  Dan Pfeiffer tells the media that it’s to get attention off of the “phony scandals”:

Senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeffier told reporters in an email Sunday that Obama wants to steer Congress away from “phony scandals” and to prioritize economic benefits for the middle class in the looming budget wars.

First, if the scandals are phony, then the White House doesn’t need to provide any counter-narrative to them; they will implode on their own.  So far, that’s not happening, and the fact that the President needs a campaign agenda tells us they won’t any time soon, either.

That’s especially true if Obama wants to focus on jobs and the economy, which have been disappointing to say the least over the entire four years of the Obama Recovery.  We’re not even averaging enough job creation to outpace population growth, which is why our civilian workforce participation rate is near a 34-year low, reached earlier this year.  So far this year, Obama has talked about practically everything except the economy, from immigration to gun control, even though Americans are mainly concerned with jobs and unemployment.

Unsurprisingly, Obama’s standing continues to erode as a result:

President Obama’s approval rating fell for the second consecutive quarter, according to Gallup’s average of daily tracking polls for the last three months.

Obama averaged a 47.9 percent approval rating for his 18th quarter in office, running from April 20 to July 19. That’s down from 49.7 percent in the first quarter of Obama’s second term in office, and down from 51.9 in the 16th quarter, when he was reelected.

That comes despite the media often confusing “beating expectations” with actual good economic indicators.  If Obama wants to start boosting his standing and that of his party ahead of the midterm elections, his policies had better start producing more of the latter rather than relying on the former.