Debunking the “Obama Recession” myth.
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In case you haven’t heard yet, the Wingnuts… most notably Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are filling the airwaves day after day with tirades blaming the plunge in the Stock Market and the growing economic collapse of Wall Street, on the election of Barack Obama.
As sure as “Death & Taxes”, Republicans are monster freakin’ hypocrites that have an uncanny ability to ignore inconvenient facts and forget the past whenever it suits them. John McCain was capable of “flip-flopping” multiple times in under an hour, but not once did you ever hear anyone compare him to “Flip-Flopper John Kerry”. And while GOP convention-attendees made criticizing Kerry’s military record a contact sport (e.g. “Purple Heart band-aides” at he Convention), ANY mention of John McCain’s military record as anything other than “Presidential” (e.g. Biden: “Simply being a P.O.W. doesn’t qualify someone to be President.”) received WEEKS of personal attacks and Media scrutiny that resulted in Biden feeling the need to apologize for his (wholly accurate) remark. Incredible.
Last September, I felt it necessary to dismantle the Republican Party’s oft repeated “Party of Lincoln” myth used to try and entice more African-Americans into voting Republican, demonstrating… not only that The Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t anywhere NEAR as progressive as most people falsely believe it to be… but that what Lincoln did all those years ago would of been SO anti-Big Business today, no self-respecting Conservative would have stood for it.
And now we see it again, as Conservative Pundits have decided that the current economic crisis is “All Obama’s fault”, calling it the “Obama Recession” (no link. Find it yourself if you’re so inclined, but I won’t honor them with a link from my site), even though he hasn’t served a day in office yet or made a single policy decision. His mere election (they claim) has the Markets in crisis fearing what an Obama Administration might do to the (fabulous Bush) economy. The excellent Progressive website, Media Matters has recorded… and attempted to debunk… this new meme, but I fear their “debunking” falls flat in its defense of Obama, citing only that the economic crisis goes back “before the election”. That argument doesn’t work with Republicans, because to them, the mere possibility of a Democratic victory was all that was needed to send the Markets into a tailspin all those months ago.
Take it from one who has lived around Republicans his entire life, you can’t win an argument with them that way.
Let’s go back to the 1992 election.
In 1992, the country was in the midst of a Recession. The Market was stagnant, growing (yes, growing) a mere 24 points that year to 3,256. The Clinton campaign rally-cry was, “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”, criticizing the first President Bush for focusing on personal attacks and Security issues (the first war in Iraq had ended just the year before) while the economy sank into Recession. But as soon as Clinton took office, the Markets started to recover, climbing over 650 points his first year in office. Seven years later, by January of 2000… the start of Clinton’s final year in office… the market peaked at 11,722.
Then, the 2000 Presidential campaign started.
The Republican candidates knew there was no way on Earth they were going to beat Gore on the economy. Governor Bush’s solution: at every campaign stop, he’d tell people, “the economy isn’t really as great as they say (or “could be”, depending on where he was giving the speech). His argument was that, though good (“thanks to a Republican Congress”), the economy isn’t NEARLY as good as “it could have been”. If only we of had a Republican president with a Republican Congress for those eight years, then you REALLY would of seen an amazing economy! Yes, that really was Bush’s argument. (to be fair, Bush didn’t say “Amazingly good“. He just could as well of meant “Amazingly bad“). By the time Bush took office, the Market had fallen nearly 1,100 points and a Recession looked inevitable.
So we put a Republican President in charge of a Republican Congress, and watched as the country fell into a Recession… not once, but “TWICE”… as we see the National Debt EXPLODE, more than DOUBLING in less than eight years. That must be what they mean by “fiscal Conservative“.
I seem to remember the newly elected President Bush claiming he had “inherited a recession”.
NOT ONCE did I hear Rush Limbaugh or Fox News blame “the election of George W Bush” for the looming recession. No, instead, they blamed Clinton for handing George Bush a Recession. And they CONTINUE to blame Bush’s bad economy on Clinton to this day! Not once did they call it “The Bush Recession”… especially not before he entered office.
For nine months (prior to 9/11), there was plenty of debate on whether George Bush had “talked the economy into a Recession” (Cheney too) just to get elected. And try as they might, Republican’s can’t blame 9/11 for Bush’s inability to stop the economic slide those first eight months prior to the attacks (as a reference, the DOW rose 365 points Bill Clinton’s first eight months in office – vs 24 points for all of 1992).
And while Republican’s LOVE to use “9/11″ as a catch-all “get out of jail free card” to excuse the Bush Administration for every failure, “9/11″ didn’t stop the DOW from hitting a record high of 14,000 points in July of 2007. So they can’t blame 9/11 for the miserable economy in 2008 if “9/11″ didn’t stop the DOW from hitting a record high in 2007 (nor can they blame the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006).
Republicans will never blame the 2001 Recession on the election of George W Bush, and they can’t blame 9/11 (or the Democrats) for the 2008 Recession in light of the July ’07 record high. Yet, they see no problem laying the blame for the current economic crisis at the foot of President-elect Barack Obama.
Now, as bad as George Bush has been, there was still a very good chance a Republican might of been elected President this year. Only in the past couple of months, did Barack Obama’s lead in the polls open up to the point where a McCain win looked improbable. So for Republicans to try and argue that the likelihood of a Democratic win caused the economy to tank, is without merit. The economy started to tank even when a Republican victory still looked probable (if not likely. Remember, for years, Rudy Giuliani supposedly had a lock on the presidency, and was regarded “unbeatable” by the punditocracy).
If Republicans are looking for a reason for the recent economic slide since the November election, might I suggest they start their search here: Jobless claims hit 25-year high as imports plunge.
Or, going back a bit further…
Sorry Wingnuts. This one’s ALL on Dubya.