The Democrats diverted attention from shortcomings big and small for a decade of depression by hauling poor old Herbert Hoover out for frequent floggings, and Mr. Obama obviously thinks he can similarly use George W. Bush. But that was then and this is now; no president now can monopolize the microphone as FDR did, with his mastery of press and radio and equipped with a terrified and compliant Congress. Barack Obama once imagined he could make it so by saying it’s so, but that only works for a little while. He’s learning what presidents before him learned, that the job of president is harder than it looks.

As the effects of the stimulus, such as they are, begin a slow fade, the unemployment number, already the highest in 26 years, is projected to keep rising. Shrinking payrolls naturally restrain growth. A jobless recovery driven by federal spending may improve certain numbers, but “it’s the economy, Stupid.” Stupid, standing in the rain out there on the street will say, “Where are the jobs?” Stupid is not actually as stupid as presidents sometimes hope he is. He’s not so stupid that he can’t see who that is in the White House.