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Recently there has been a lot said about President Obama's chances in 2012 to win re-election if unemployment remains high.  There was an article in the NY Times which breathlessly states in the first paragraph that

No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent.

Nate Silver followed that up with some analysis in his article in the NY Times.

Friday all day the loons at CNBC picked up on that meme and kept repeating it throughout the day.  

Finally very recently a troll posted an article on Dkos titled Obamas loses if unemployment rate 8%.

I'm going to examine and debunk some of this BS hopefully once and for all by looking at not only the last 100 years (as opposed to conveniently leaving out FDR who won re-election TWICE with unemployment in double digits) but by looking at each case where a sitting president went up for re-election with unemployment at or above 7.2%.

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First of all, if you look at the second column in the chart above you will notice that there is ONLY ONE CASE in the last 75 years where ANY president went up for election or re-election with an unemployment above 8% and HE WON!!! BY 10%!!!

In fact, if you go back 100 years there has only been 3 cases of an election with an unemployment above 8% and FDR won all 3 including 2 when he won re-election.  Herbert Hoover is the only president who has lost an election and/or re-election with an unemployment above 8% in the last 100 years.  So for someone to proclaim that no president has won re-election with an unemployment above 8% in the last 75 years conveniently omits the fact that FDR did it AND WON and also conveniently omits the fact that there hasn't been ANY OTHER SINGLE CASE where there has been an election with 8% unemployment at the time of election.  You might as well say Obama loses if unemployment rate 88%.  It's as meaningless as saying the Yankees never won a world series when they played a team in the playoffs who won 117 regular season games.  Of course they didn't.  No team ever won 117 regular season games in all the history of MLB.  

As for the premise of the NY Times article which breathlessly stated that

No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent.

well let's examine how many there have actually been...

1) In 1976, Gerald Ford went up for re-election with an unemployment of 7.8% and he lost to Carter.  

Unemployment was alot lower when Ford took office for starters.  Inflation grew out of control during his 2 years.  Oh there was that thing called Watergate which was directly responsible for Ford to have that opportunity to go up for re-election in the first place oh and then there was that little thing called a presidential pardon.  It was also Gerald Ford that finally got us out of Vietnam, much to the chagrin of the right wing of his party who ran Ronald Reagan in the GOP primary against him in 1976 and forced him to drop moderate republican Nelson Rockefeller for a more conservative Bob Dole as VP, much to the chagrin of the more moderate wing of the GOP.  

At one point Ford was down by 33% to Carter and it had less to do with the unemployment as it did with the resentment the people had with the GOP over Vietnam and Watergate (in the 74 midterms the Dems gained 49 seats and had a total of 291 seats in the US House).  Ford lost the presidential election to Carter by 2.1% and I suspect that him pardoning Nixon had as much if not more to do with why he lost than the 7.8% unemployment at the time of election.  On the day of election he was in a statistical tie with Carter and he ultimately would have won had 25,000 shifted his way in Ohio and Wisconsin.  Had unemployment been a big issue, Ford would probably not have lost by as close a margin as he did.  

2) In 1980, James "Jimmy" Carter went up for re-election with an unemployment of 7.5% and he lost by a significant 9.7% to Ronald Reagan.

In the 4 years of Carter unemployment barely budged.  He was elected with it at 7.8% and he lost 4 years later with it at 7.5%.  Inflation had turned to stagflation.  Energy became a serious issue and turned into a crisis with Carter opting for sweaters and solar panels on the White House.  During his 4 years Carter started to deregulate the airline industry and reinstated the draft which alienated his college aged liberal base.  His primary battle with Teddy Kennedy was difficult and cost him with that liberal base as well.  Carter cut pay raises to military vets which angered vets and their families.  Oh and Carter had to deal with the Iranian hostage crisis.  He also ordered the failed mission to save them in April 1980 which resulted in soldiers dying.  The crisis is one of the things most cite (along with the economy) as the reason why he lost.  President Obama even cite the failed mission Operation Eagle Claw as one of the concerns he had when ordering the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.  Carter was portrayed as weak and ineffectual throughout his presidency (as well as the presidential campaign against Reagan) and the crisis capped that.  The campaign was also one of the most hard fought.  He was challenged from the left (Teddy Kennedy), he was challenged from the hard right by a popular governor and ex actor (Ronald Reagan) and he was challenged from the center by a moderate Rockefeller republican (John Anderson).  By the time of election Carter had a 31% approval rating and he left office with a 34% approval rating.

3) In 1992, George H. W. Bush went up for re-election with an unemployment rate of 7.4% and he lost by 5.5% to William Jefferson Clinton.

In the 4 years Bush was president unemployment went up from 5.4% to 7.4%.  Despite telling everyone to red his lips Bush raised taxes not once but THREE TIMES, including raising the highest marginal rates and eliminating many exemptions at the end of 1990.  This last increase angered many in the republican party caused his popularity to nosedive among conservatives and earned him a primary challenge by Pat Buchanan.  Bush also started negotiations on NAFTA which angered many union people and was an issue with Ross Perot's famous independent campaign which culminated with his quote of the sucking sound heard round the world.   Bush was also hurt by the fact that the Clinton campaign portrayed him as being out of touch with the common person when it was reported that he didn't know how a scanner at a grocery store worked.  The economy played a role in the election as Clinton made it a central issue.  Bush ended up losing by 370 EV to 168 EV.  One of the issues aside from jobs that is often cited as being why he lost was his broken pledge of 'No New Taxes'.   Of the voters who said him breaking his pledge was very important to them, 2/3rds voted for Clinton.    

And finally...

4) In 1984, Ronald Reagan went up for re-election with an unemployment rate of 7.2% and he won in a landslide by 18.2%.

Unfortunately the NY Times article conveniently cut off at 7.2% unemployment.  So when they state that

No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent.
     

it is technically accurate but only because they artificially set the bar at 7.2%.  Had they set it at 7.0% they would have been wrong.  This also completely ignores the fact that Reagan won by 18.2% and won in a near total electoral landslide (Mondale only won his home state of Minnesota).  It is very likely that Reagan would have still won had unemployment been at 7.3%.  It is also likely Reagan would have won had unemployment been at 8.0% (being that he won by such a huge margin with it at 7.2%).  Considering the margin of his win, it is even somewhat probably he would have STILL won had unemployment been at 10%.  Unfortunately this is a common RW tactic when they try to skew stats or facts to suit their talking point.  They conveniently cut off a stat at the point where it proves them wrong or overlook a fact when it doesn't suit their talking point.  By stating that "no president since FDR...", the NY Times completely ignores the fact that FDR won re-elections TWICE with unemployment rates above 7.2% in the last 100 years.  By setting the bar above 7.2% they conveniently set it at a point where had it been .1% lower Reagan would have proved them wrong.    

So even if you fall for the false premise being pushed and simply look at the three presidents other than FDR (who is conveniently overlooked) who did go for re-election when unemployment was above (not at but above because if it was at 7.2% then the premise would be false) 7.2% in the last 75 years, one thing that is very clear is that unemployment was not the sole cause of those presidents losing.  The economy was an issue in at least 2 of the three (with Ford being the only likely exception) and yes in 92 it was clearly an issue (It's the economy stupid!).  However, there were alot of other things at play which cast doubt and may have had a hand in the defeat of those three presidents.  In Ford's case it was the stench of Watergate and the presidential pardon of Nixon.  In Carter's case it was the Iranian Hostage Crisis.  In G. H. W. Bush's case it was the breaking of his "No New Taxes' pledge.  In all three cases, there was a challenge within the party of the president which caused some animosity within the party and opened up a rift with people in the party either opting to sit out or vote for someone else.  In 2 of the 3 cases there was a third party challenger who won 7% (Anderson) or 19% (Perot) and may have muddied up the situation, although this can be disputed.  In all three cases, the president who lost had less than 50% approval ratings on election day.  Both Bush and Carter had approval ratings under 40%.  Finally, in all 3 cases the challenger who won was either seen as credible, charismatic, an outsider or a combination of the three.

Looking forward, there does not appear to be any credible challenger from the left of President Obama.  While he has angered many in his base (myself included), his base remains relatively intact.   None of the viable candidates on the GOP side have effectively portrayed themselves as charismatic, credible or as an outsider let alone a combination of the three.  If anything the challengers are all seen as radical, boring, not in the least bit credible and certainly not as outsiders (other than Cain who is NOT credible).  In addition, due to the extreme rightward shift in the party, the candidates are all being forced to take extreme positions which have essentially made this class of challengers appear as one of the weakest and least serious in decades.  If there is to be a third party challenger who may muddy the outcome, it is far more likely to come from the extreme tea bagging right than the left or center.  So far there has not been any serious crisis that could potentially derail his presidency (although there is still plenty of time) and the few cases where a potential crisis has brewed, President Obama has handled them cautiously and well enough.  And while it is still far away from November 2012, Obama's approval ratings are above 50% and have remained relatively stable for the better part of his presidency so far, with only a few minor blips (Post OBL spike for example).  

It is very likely that the unemployment rate will be well above 7.2% come election time.  However, in no time SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION has there been as deep and serious a recession/depression as the one Obama inherited in 2009 and lest we forget, the president during the Great Depression, FDR, won re-election TWICE with unemployment rates in the teens.  Like FDR, Obama has had many missteps but also a few successes along the way.  Unlike FDR, Obama has not as effectively come across as a populist and change has been slow at best which may be a cause for concern come election time if the voters perceive Obama as not having done enough to help.  However, the GOP has set himself up to become a populist defacto by simply opposing them.  Their policies are so radical and extreme that any alternative will be seen as populist.  While that alternative may not be the most truly populist or best policy wise (especially if the alternative is GOPlite), politically it's a winner.    

So when next you hear the obvious right wing BS talking point

No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent.

try throwing some facts their way.  Hopefully this diary helps.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (112+ / 1-)

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 03:29:36 PM PDT

    •  The wing-nut trolls will have nothing if... (9+ / 0-)

      you remind them that Obama got Osama.

      That should shut their yap.

      'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

      by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:13:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The percentage point doesn't matter... (13+ / 0-)

        The percentage point of unemployment doesn't matter... its the trend line.

        Unemployment in the great depression peaked at 25% and FDR got it trending down to 14% in 1935.

        Then the Republicans and conservative Dems started howling about the deficit and FDR ran in 1936 on the promise to reduce the deficit and balance the budget. The effect was that unemployment shot back up to 19% in 1937 and didn't start trending down again until the war effort had the government forced into massive spending again.

        What got him elected even with 14% was that it had been trending downward.

        What worries me is that Obama and everyone in the beltway are howling about the deficit and not talking about unemployment. The cart is before the horse and I smell trouble in 2012.

        •  I forgot to include the Graph (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis
        •  Some more detail (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          icebergslim, mightymouse, TimmyB, denise b

          that refutes much of the discussion in the diary:

          The direction of the economy is more important than the direction.  For example, in 1992 Bush lost re-election with unemployment at 7.4% (he got 41% of the viote)and Reagan won re-election at 7.2%(he got 59% of the vote).  Finally Carter lost re-election with unemployment at 7.5% (he gote 41% of the vote).

          This, of course, obscures the truth.  In November of 1982 U3 was at 10.6%.  In June of 1990 U3 was at 5.2%.  In November of 1979 unemployment was at 5.9%, and more importantly inflation in 1980 had taken off.  

          The 1980 CBS exit poll indicates inflation was considered a bigger problem than unemployment by 54-46.  It also notes that economic concerns dominated the election.  When asked to choose the two biggest problems facing the economy, 30% said inflation, 31% said other economic issues.  Only 22% choose Iran.

          It is impossible to argue that these elections were not decided on the economy, and the direction of the economy more specifically.

          This link will take you to a document with Presidential Approval Ratings, Unemployment and gasoline prices for every month since 1977.
          https:/spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?hl=en_US&key=tJpM-17XjpXekJ7BsT91ztA&hl=en_US#gid=0

          https:/spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?hl=en_US&key=tJpM-17XjpXekJ7BsT91ztA&hl=en_US#gid=0

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:49:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some more facts to add (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sebastianguy99, WineRev

            When Carter lost to Reagan U3 was at 7.5%.  The fact that it was 7.2% in 84 hides the fact that it peaked above 10% during his first 4 years.  It can and has been argued by some that the reason U3 went up in the first place was because of the Reagan Tax Cuts as soon as he came into office.  It tanked the already fragile economy.  He ultimately raised taxes in both 82 and 84 to counteract the tax cuts he signed in 81 and the economy picked up.  At least that's a theory that is out there by Thom Hartmann among others.  

            So trend lines may show that unemployment was going down when he went for re-election, but they also show that upon entering office they went up, DRAMATICALLY until peaking in 82.  Neither really explain why he won so decisively.  And yet despite all this, he STILL managed to win in a landslide.  

            Carter on the other hand had the opposite happen.  U3 went down and then up and by the end of his 4 years they were essentially at the same point as when he won in 76.  Other factors came to play as you indicated.  You cite inflation as a reason the economy tanked which leads to my point that unemployment above 7.2 wasn't a primary concern in the 80 election.  It was inflation, other economic issues and Iran came in a not to distant third with over a 5th of the electorate citing it as a concern.  Unemployment was clearly not the reason why Carter lost.

            The bottom line is that unemployment above a certain percentage is not an indicator of whether or not a president will win re-election.  There are too many other variables at play.

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:04:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't forget Volker (0+ / 0-)

              The meaning of Paul Volcker's comeback
              http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/...

              •  Yes Volker had a big influence (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Flint

                on the outcome of the 1980 election.  Unfortunately not the influence Carter had hoped when he chose him.  

                This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:07:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  A huge part of the explanation in '84 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mightymouse
              Neither really explain why he [Reagan] won so decisively.  And yet despite all this, he STILL managed to win in a landslide.
              has to do with the opposition.

              Walter Mondale? REALLY? A man who was bland before Tim Pawlenty stole the idea and dumbed it down?
              Mondale? Who faced such luminary heavy weights such as Alan Cranston, Ernest Hollings and Reuben Askew in the primaries? Good grief, George Freakin' McGovern (the '72 loser to Nixon in the biggest Democratic wipeout on record) gave it another go.

              Of course there were "serious" candidates: John Glenn--Mr. Right Stuff and Ohio's Blander answer to Minnesota Bland.

              Jesse Jackson--who actually had some ideas and character and fire......and who since he was black had no chance in '84. (Although he was part of a "chain of causation"; as someone put it in '08:
              Rosa sat so Martin could march.
              Martin marched so Jesse could run.
              Jesse ran so Obama could win.)

              And finally Gary Hart, leader of the cutting edge "Atari Democrats", thoughtful, competent, and with streaks of vision....brought down by a Wendy's commercial slogan "Where's the Beef?"----and Wally the Mondale hadn't even heard the slogan. A staffer had to fill in Mr. Bland that, yes, there is another hamburger chain beyond McDonald's, and yes, they are also national, and yes, they even advertise on television.

              Mondale is a nice guy, friendly, good-hearted. He was also the last remnant of the Liberal Idea (of FDR & Truman) that had hardened into the Liberal Ideology (LBJ & HHH) and by 1984 was sclerotic. The ideology was stunned by Hart's call for 'new ideas' since all the good ideas had already been thought of, they just needed to be implemented. Wally and the rest of the establishment had enough inertia left to stop Hart but no clue how to take on Reagan.

              FWIW.

              Shalom.

              "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

              by WineRev on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 06:25:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It's the rethugs and corrupt media that are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sebastianguy99, sunbro

          'howling about the deficit', not the president and the dems.

          One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists.
          A No-Drama Obama Site & Some Straight Talkin'

          by amk for obama on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:24:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Apologies for my snarkiness down below. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david mizner, Eddie L

      Honestly, I'm sick and I shouldn't make comments about diaries I only skim.  My original intent was truly to be helpful.

    •  Rules require you get dinged for lying. (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Tomtech

      You called a Trusted User a "Troll" and that's a lie.

  •  I think you mean 8.8% (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, shanikka, Loge, blueoasis

    That changes the tone of the diary... some people might think you're trying to be sarcastic by the title alone. You have the same typo in the text as well.

  •  He would still win because... (12+ / 0-)

    Everyone would be home instead of at work and have nothing else to do but vote. And as Republicans know, the more people vote, the more Democrats win!

  •  Elections are Dynamic; not Static (17+ / 0-)

    Normally, if unemployment were 9% in October 2012, up from what it was four years before, the incumbent would lose.

    But if unemployment is 9%, and the challenger vows to dismantle the safety-net (Medicare) that provides some comfort to those just getting by, then I would argue, advantage incumbent.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

    by PatriciaVa on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:09:50 PM PDT

    •  Good point they ARE dynamic (9+ / 0-)

      there is alot more going on than just unemployment.  That's why trying to predict an outcome based on a statistic like unemployment is ridiculous.  Especially when you arbitrarily set it at a certain number to make your case.

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:15:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly my point (6+ / 0-)

        in the diary put up by the individual trying to make hay of the NYT's B.S. piece.  

        There is a LOT of stuff going on -- with various aspects of the economy, as well as the positions of certain politicians who vow to make things way much WORSE if given the chance.

        "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

        by smoothnmellow on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:13:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The employment rate itself (9+ / 0-)

      isn't very meaningful, as it only vaguely reflects the degree of misery in the country.

      The salient fact for Obama's reelection hopes -- and much more importantly, for the country -- is that the economic condition of the country is absolutely crappy, and poised to get crappier.

      Wage growth over the last ten years is worse than during the Great Depression. There are some 14 million unemployed people, with almost that half that many long-term unemployed. That's not counting the millions of part-time workers who want to work full-time. The employment-population ratio is as bad as it was several months ago. You get the picture. And now the stimulus is running out. Respectable folk are throwing around the d-word. Moderates like Brad DeLong are saying it's time to panic. And the government is about to cut spending.

      If you want to comfort yourself by saying a 9 percent UER doesn't doom the President, well okay -- he is, after all, a great campaigner who'll have a billion dollars to spend against a bad candidate -- but if you don't think the economic situation is a grave threat to Obama's reelection chances, you're deluding yourself. All in all, I'd say it's fortunate for us that Mitt Romney is a Mormon and passed Obama's health care plan in Massachusetts, because he's a plausible president who's focusing on the economic misery in the country.

      •  a propos of made up statistics, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        david mizner

        no president (or incumbent party) has ever won a Presidential election with home prices falling.  Home values and gas prices are the vehicle by which middle class people perceive their wealth.  Some look at the stock market; some look at the price of food, but elections are won or lost in the middle.  This is why trends matter more than raw unemployment numbers:  people with jobs (most of them), only care about unemployment if they think they might be next, but foreclosures have a snowball effect.  

        If I were on the political team, I'd start finding some allies on the economic team to make this point, or vice versa, because that's the biggest risk.  It was always inevitable that price to rent ratios would fall to historical averages, which is where we are, but now they look to keep falling.  This is worrisome, and there are no easy fixes.  Even cram-down could never pass Congress, and if it did, what if it created another financial panic as banks had to write down loans instead of marking to magic?  

        America voted for Dubya 1.5 times, don't think it can't happen again, especially with Romney who's smarter than Bush was.  Oddly, the best way to beat Romney is to run a populist campaign -- make his positives into negatives.   I think you'll start see something like this after August.  The debt ceiling fight will be over, and Obama will have to get back into campaign mode so the GOP circus clowns don't steal all of the media attention.  

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:16:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      icebergslim, mightymouse

      if U3 is still over 9, Obama is toast simply because there would be no evidence tht things were getting better.

      It is very important to note that Obama does not poll well on his handling of the economy today.  That is only going to get worse if the economy doesn't approve.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:51:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not certain (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amk for obama

        First of all U3 reached 10% at one point during his term.  So 9% is somewhat of an improvement, albeit not a big improvement.  The current trend is troubling, however even that is not a guarantee of electoral defeat.  The strength of opponent will be a bigger factor in whether Obama can win or not.   If the opponent is Sarah Palin, then Obama might win even with a U3 at 10%.  Conversely, if the opponent is a credible one, even a U3 below 7% may not save him.    

        Point is the U3 figure will not be the determining factor in the election.  There will be other factors that will have more influence on the outcome.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:11:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd say ALL of the old models of who (7+ / 0-)

    gets elected or not we should throw out. The climate is changing, the country is changing, the demographics are changing, the technology is changing, it's all changing.
    The old predictors might be worthless.

    Obama can get reelected with a high unemployment rate and just may start a new paradigm. Think positive. We just might have to try harder to get him reelected. So what?
    All of this doom and gloom won't help.

    O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

    by Wildthumb on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:24:14 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, disNoir, (8+ / 0-)

    You made my day.

    Maybe the cartoon character will come to debate you here and tell you how much Obama hates Medicare and BTW how bad a program Medicare is. And how no one has ever won re-election when the average temperature in the South in July is below freezing.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:27:59 PM PDT

  •  The number can go down. (11+ / 0-)

    But realistically, Obama does not need the unemployment number over 9%.  If it keeps climbing then consumer confidence in Obama handling the economy slides downward.  Remember, in all the public polling and I am sure Obama's private, the one problem he has is the public does not believe he has worked hard enough for job creation.  Now we can argue that until the cows come home, but if the unemployment number is higher this time next year than 9%, Obama has to defend his economic position and that will be tough.  Lastly, pray that the Republicans remain in a clusterfuck and don't get it together.

    •  I have lots of fears (6+ / 0-)

      about the 2012 elections.  However, I suspect that if unemployment does go down, in particular to slightly above 7.2%, Obama will win pretty easily.  

      My big fear though is that the U3 number WON'T go down.   I don't think this economy is in a recovery and I don't think it will rebound all that quickly.  

      I ALSO think that the GOP is purposefully looking to drag it down.  A few senior GOP House officials have come out the last few days stating that if the debt ceiling isn't raised it may benefit them electorally in 2012.  

      He has high ratings now but come the campaign he will be getting pot shots from a dozen or so GOP candidates and it may very well knock him down if the U3 rate is at or above 9% and doesn't seem like it is going down and they're hammering him on it.  I do think though that once the debates come Obama will more clearly make his case than any potential GOP candidate can which will help him.

      I'm not afraid of a dark horse coming in and winning the GOP primary.  For starters the big names have stayed on the sidelines.  Second and most importantly it is impossible for a GOP candidate to stake out a moderate position to try and appeal to the middle.  The teabagging nutsacks will make it impossible and will derail any one who tries to stake a moderate position ala Newt in the primary.  Plus they're soo busy trying to be the most batshit crazy candidate right now that it will make it impossible to come back to the middle come the general.  To do so would anger their base and by not doing so it will make them unelectable.

      I think ultimately that will help Obama more than anything.  Even with a 9% unemployment, if the GOOPer is calling for ending Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and any other social program while simultaneously calling for massive tax cuts to the rich they're toast.  At this point it doesn't seem like any are backing away from that either.

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:52:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I highly doubt unemployment will be @ 7 or 7.2% (3+ / 0-)

        We need over 275K+ jobs a month for that and if you look at the past numbers it has been very sporadic.  Barack Obama has not been paying attention.  The housing market is rocking this country like nothing before.  With numbers like that means folks DON'T HAVE JOBS, meaning foreclosures will be over 1M AGAIN.  Sorry, but Obama really has not done much for Main Street out here and next year will be about this very sorry economy.  He will have to defend his economic record and overall in the public view, it is not that good.  Just read through the poll numbers.

        •  You're right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional, mightymouse

          Obama really has not done much to help with foreclosures or jobs or for Main Street.   I really do believe that foreclosures will be a huge issue.  Especially considering the effect they're having on housing prices.  It's a vicious downward spiral.  Foreclosures drag prices housing down because they're so many they're swamping the market.  Houses that sold 6 months ago will be underwater by year's end, if they're not already.  For example, I recently saw a case where a condo by me sold for $130,000 like 6 months ago.  Today there are no less than 3 similar units in the same complex for sale (short sales) at under $100,000 and a few at about $125,000.  Already the ones not in short sale situation will sell for less than that one which sold for $130,000 and only AFTER the 3 under $100,000 sell first.  One already has an offer and an approval from the bank.  That means that there will be up to 5 sales all under $130,000, with some significantly under $130,000.  That person who bought the unit for $130,000 is already losing and if they got a loan with little money down then they're upside down.   I'm seeing this situation alot more.  Prices are dropping like a stone.  People are still losing their jobs which means foreclosures will continue which means prices will continue to drop.  

          Jobs of course plays a huge part in all this.  People losing their jobs are likely to be unable to pay their mortgages which means possible foreclosure.  

          Obama isn't addressing either the jobs problem or the housing problem and that may well be a HUGE problem for him.  

          I highly doubt that unemployment will get below 7.2% by 11/12.  As you stated, it would require substantial job creation between now and then and it just isn't going to happen while the GOP is focused with laser like precision on abortions.   However if the situation does improve somewhat it will make life alot easier for Obama, especially with the GOP doubling down on fucking over the elderly, children, sick and poor.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:36:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •   It's distressing that Obama... (5+ / 0-)

      ...doesn't talk about jobs, unless I'm missing something.  I've been traveling and avoiding news for about a month now but my  observation- before and after my news blackout- is that "Jobs" are not a priority for either party.  The topic only seems to emerge in progressive blogs.  

      I am so open to criticism here.  Someone please tell me that "Job creation" is the number one priority for Dems (most particularly the President) going into 2012 or that, at least, it's in the top ten list.

      •  Actually he was on the road talking about jobs... (9+ / 0-)

        just yesterday.

        "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

        by smoothnmellow on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:14:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what did he say? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevej

          And of course, our mission for a better America led by better Democrats is still in its early stages. -- Markos Moulitsas, 5/26/11

          by mightymouse on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:08:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, he talked about how the gov't investment (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse, OLinda

          in Chrysler and GM has helped and turn around the industry.  But that is one industry which does not employ the massive numbers of individuals as in the past.  Obama did not address the unemployment numbers and the paltry 54K jobs added, nor did he address how the numbers of the previous months had to be readjusted downward.  He really is not talking about job creation as in a jobs program for the millions of upward 14M unemployed.  That is not coming out of his mouth and that is a problem.

          •  I'm late getting to this response but... (0+ / 0-)

            My impression of the "Detroit Miracle"....  Yes, Detroit has come around and I was so impressed with Obama's willingness to take the industry on during his campaign.  Wow, what guts.  

            In retrospect, it wasn't gutsy at all.  It was the low hanging fruit of the corporate world.  I doubt that taking on Detroit posed any backlash from Wall Street or the insurance companies and, as Slim points out, it doesn't even tap into the larger issue of jobs.   Yeah...I'm cynical.

      •  The question is what leads to job creation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, cazcee, cas2

        Is it a stimulus? Additional food stamps and UE benefits? Quantitative easing? Tax cuts? Business incentives like a payroll tax holiday?

        These have all been tried, with fairly tepid results.

        I'm not saying there are no answers, but it would be nice to hear people settle on one, since the Washington elite obviously hasn't.

        •  WPA and CCC. FDR did it. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse, Crazy like a fox
        •  What to do - be comprehensive: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ukit, sebastianguy99

          1. Point out to the people that there has been a serious degradation of our economy over the past 30+ years. Areas that provided full employment no longer do so, since we don't manufacture so much, trade balance, etc. Further, point out that more and more of our nation's wealth has been captured by the elite, which hurts regular Americans and also means that consumer demand (driver of employment) suffers. Say that we have depended way to much on unnecessary home construction and borrowing to buoy our economy. Finally, mention that rising energy costs impact our economy - in the past growth & employment have gone with cheap oil, which we don't have anymore. Point these things out over and over and over.

          2. Propose a serious industrial policy, a la Germany, under which American industry is protected from cheap imports and American manufacturing is encouraged.

          3. Propose a serious investment program in national infrastructure with a preference for green stuff (given the rising cost of oil and need to avoid climate change). This can be done in various ways, either direct govt spending on govt programs or incentives for private companies or whatever.

          4. Propose fixing our tax policy so that less of our national wealth is siphoned off and captured by elites. Areas to address include income tax, capital gains, financial transactions, etc.

          That's for starters. There are other ideas.

          The main point is that we have serious problems, and fooling around with little stuff on the edges, trying not to upset the elites, won't help.

          And also there is an argument that high oil prices will block the vigorous growth which used to bring us out of recessions. This means QE2 and stimulus type responses won't do so much in today's world. (For an interesting talk by Jeff Rubin about this, see this link.)

          Finally, none of this will pass the current or even the previous Congress. However, the president needs to advocate forcefully for it - there really are no other options. Hopefully doing so will drive a political impetus for real change.

          And of course, our mission for a better America led by better Democrats is still in its early stages. -- Markos Moulitsas, 5/26/11

          by mightymouse on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:28:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cas2, mightymouse

        and that is a shame.  

        Job creation is a nice catch phrase by neither party is actively doing a goddamn thing to actually create jobs directly.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:47:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Intelligent point, DisNoir. (0+ / 0-)

          "Job creation" really is an abstract value, rather than a concrete method.  I think both parties are invested in shoring up the financial sector in order to create jobs but we all know how that's working out.  

          Objectively, it's interesting. If the parties don't pander to the rich, they haven't the funds to get elected.  If they don't pander to average folks (who need and want real jobs), they don't get votes.  it's a tightrope walk.  

          We sure as shit need massive campaign finance reform but neither party has the will to take that one on. It's a gridlock.  Our government doesn't work.

    •  The problem for Obama (6+ / 0-)

      is that the country will be worse off in 2012 than in 2008, the financial crisis notwithstanding. Obama won't gave a convincing answer for the Reagan question: are you better off than you were four years ago?

      •  Not true (7+ / 0-)

        In November 2008 they economy was on the brink of collapse.  Jobs were being lost at 500,000, 600,000 and 700,000 a clip.  

        Now we're at a point where only 50,000 jobs being created is considered a failure.

        I'd say we've come a long way.  Still have a loooong way to go but we're NOWHERE NEAR where we were in 2008-2009 when Obama was elected.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:50:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not the important (8+ / 0-)

          metric. Sure, the monthly reports are better now, but a higher percentage of people will be un and under employed in 12, and wages will have continued to go down.

          I know that Obama and his team are counting on the saved-the-country-from-a-great Depression narrative, but that won't resonate with most people, because most people's economic plight has gotten worse.

        •  The real issue isn't the level (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          icebergslim

          it is the direction.  I actually agree with you in many respects about this.  Had you told me U3 would peak at 10.1 - below the recession of '82 - I would have been very surprised.  

          The problem is that each time we appear close to a real recovery, external events cause the economy to stall.  In the last few months gas prices have really hurt.

          The Fedpredicts U3 at the end of 2012 of between 7/6 and 7.9.  That is inline with the business surveys I have seen.  If that holds, Obama wins, and maybe by more than people think.

          But forecasts haven't been very good over the last few years, and if the economy stalls and U3 stays over 9, I think Obama is toast.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 07:19:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The direction is a better indicator (0+ / 0-)

            which is why the whole article in the NY Times is utter bullshit.  

            I suspect that the U3 will be alot higher than 7.6% to 7.9% come 11/2012.  Partly because there are too many forces acting against the economy.  Not the least of which are the republicans and speculation in the commodities market which is contributing as much as 30-40% to the price of gas at the pump.  If Obama were able to simply take care of that problem and we saw gas prices drop by a third come election time, his chances of re-election would dramatically improve, regardless of the U3 number (well unless the U3 number spiked above current levels).  

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:17:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

          for you. There are millions of us a lot worse off now then in 2008.

          A place I was laid off from in 2008 is still laying people off.

          It's a downward slide.

  •  Let's go folksy metaphor on them (a la Bush 2004) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda

    "It's dangerous to switch horses while you're climbing out of a ravine!"

    Pollution isn't free.

    by Frameshift on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:43:35 PM PDT

  •  Bears weather (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DisNoir36, Deoliver47, KJG52

    Reminds me of Chicago Bears fans who would drone on and on about "Bears weather" whenever the Tampa Bay Bucs would come to town.

    "they've never lost to Tampa when the temperature is below X degrees..." they'd say.

    Yeah, you know the thing about that?  Tampa was a lousy team for a very long time.  They would have lost no matter the weather.

    "Why do we see the same old Republicans all over the news all the time when they were kicked out for screwing everything up?" - socratic's grandma

    by Michael James on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:50:58 PM PDT

    •  but to follow you analogy (0+ / 0-)

      you might say that they had a point if Tampa went 1-5 in cold weather, but 8-2 in warmer weather.j

      cuz, that's the stats we are looking at here.

      -7.79, -7.75 http://www.politicalcompass.org/ Gosh!

      by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:56:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another analogy (0+ / 0-)

      The Red Sox never win when the leaves fall from the trees.  That held true for 86 years.  The leaves falling from the trees didn't have squat to do with them never winning come October, it was just a coincidence.  The leaves could have stayed on the trees and in those 86 years they would have still choked.

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:19:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Come on, be honest (9+ / 0-)

    Take a quick look at your numbers.  

    Of the ten elections since WWII with an unemployment rate under 6%, the party in power won (at least by the popular vote) 8 of ten elections.  One of those losses would have represented a sixth consecutive Democratic term and the opponent had just beaten Hilter.

    Of the six elections since WWII with an unemployment rate over 6%, the party in power lost 5 of 6.  As noted, that one win was Reagan's reelection.

    Now, I fully believe each election is taken on its own and Obama will win.  However, I am a committed member of the reality-based community, even if the facts don't go my way.

    So next time you see a kossack trying to spin away the obvious fact that high unemployment is terrible news for the incumbent party, just throw the whole data set at them and tell them to get real.

    Otherwise, our BS spin isn't any better than their BS spin.

    -7.79, -7.75 http://www.politicalcompass.org/ Gosh!

    by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:52:55 PM PDT

  •  obama can lose this race (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justalittlebitcrazy

    to ryan or romney if unemployment is high. that is just a fact.

    believe it.

    Any man can stand some adversity. If you really want to know a man's character, give him power. Abe Lincoln.

    by maskling11 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:00:34 PM PDT

    •  Ummm. Yeah. Right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008, xndem

      "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

      by smoothnmellow on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:17:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Romney can just avoid (0+ / 0-)

      too many public appearances (like he's been doing) and rely on massive amounts of corporate-funded advertising to get his message out, then I could see him actually pulling it off. Message-wise, he's been on point with the unemployment focus and shifting to the center more than in 2008.

      I don't think Ryan would be a contender even if he ran simply because he's too directly tied to the Medicare-slashing budget.

      But Romney can convincingly muddle his stance on the issue and then pass entitlement reform once he gets elected. He's the perfect guy after all to oversee the gutting of the U.S. welfare state, being a former private equity exec.

  •  Proving once again that correlation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    is not causation--and this isn't even a good example of correlation. Note that Humphrey and Stevenson lost despite lower unemployment. And what explains Taft and Coolidge?

    This whole meme is dumb.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

    by marketgeek on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:11:14 PM PDT

  •  The minutiae of the numbers (7+ / 0-)

    is a bit beside the point, whether it's coming from this diary or the press.

    Either way, 8-9% unemployment is horrible, and will be a significant drag on Obama's (or anyone's) reelection.

    Basically, conditions for the American middle class are the worst they have been in decades, and the sad thing is that our only choice is between Obama (with likely a Republican legislature) or a hardcore Ayn Rand Republican.

  •  Lying with statistics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terra

    That's the best way to describe the NY Times statement. Thanks for taking their claim apart!

    •  not sure who is lying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevej

      since obviously, he didn't take into account the entire data set.

      as I noted above, if unemployment is under 6%, incumbent party wins 80% of the time.

      Over 80%, it drops to 16%.

      Which odds would you prefer?

      -7.79, -7.75 http://www.politicalcompass.org/ Gosh!

      by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:29:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The whole point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The BigotBasher, FiredUpInCA

        was that using a number arbitrarily was bullshit.

        You want to argue the other way go ahead but again that only proves my point that using an arbitrary number is bullshit.

        It really is as meaningless as saying that any president running for re-election with a job approval rating below 30% has never won.  Or conversely that any president with a job approval rating about 70% has never lost.  

        However even as pointless as it is, the RW noise machine is out there pushing it.  We need to push back first by using facts to prove it completely false and second by making the case that the whole meme is stupid to begin with.  Ultimately as many have already stated, the elections will come down to a whole lot more than whether or not unemployment is above or below a certain number.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 05:59:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not meaningless at all (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse, BradyB

          as it turns out, the correct approach is to use the entire data set to see if it has predictive power.

          Here, unemployment rate undeniably does.  I find it ridiculous for anyone to argue that it doesn't.  

          And, yes, the approval rate is also strongly correlated with reelection.

          Now, I think there are good reasons to think this election will be an outlier, as several others have said.  For example, Obama's approval ratings appear to be totally impervious to the unemployment, probably because we know that this recession isn't like an other we've faced since the 1930's so the old dynamics probably don't apply.  In fact, given the nature of this depression, there's an argument that these elections are more like FDR's elections than any of the post WWII ones.  Time will tell.

          I agree with using facts, but do so honestly.  Here, they are squarely against your thesis that it is somehow a distortion to say that unemployment rate has a tremendous impact on elections. .

          -7.79, -7.75 http://www.politicalcompass.org/ Gosh!

          by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:15:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

            You said it yourself.  

            First of all setting the bar above 7.2 is artificial.  If you set it at 7% then Reagan stands as contrary evidence to the claim and it's only an accurate predictor 75% of the time.  That's if you simply dismiss all other variables.  Ford for example almost win in 76 with high unemployment.  May have won in a vacuum if there were no other issues which would have affected the attitude of the electorate (such as Watergate and Nixon's pardon).  Had Ford won, the accuracy would have been 50% not 75%.  No different than a coin flip.  

            Conversely if you examine the outcomes of elections where the incumbent's party went into election with unemployment below 6% you have 4 cases where the incumbent or his party's candidate lost.  That's 4 out of 16 or a 75% accuracy.  On top of it Adlai Stevenson got soundly beat even though unemployment was at an unheard of 2.8%  If unemployment was an accurate predictor of the outcome of elections then how the hell do you explain that, other than the fact that people REALLY liked Ike?  Or how do you explain the fact that Cox lost in 1920 by the widest margin in 100 years even though the unemployment rate was at 5.2%?  There are alot of reasons why he lost so badly, none of them had to do with the unemployment rate.  

            So there is no distortion at all when I say unemployment rate does not have a tremendous effect on an election.  Either way you look at it, there is evidence that other factors have as much if not more to do with the outcome of elections.

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:38:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed I think but one of those #'s is wrong? (0+ / 0-)

        And of course, our mission for a better America led by better Democrats is still in its early stages. -- Markos Moulitsas, 5/26/11

        by mightymouse on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:40:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  GIGO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Maikeru Ronin

    You're using Unemployment numbers which measure wildly different things.

    Your overall point stands - Obama is a shoe-in to win with 44-45% in a three way race, the spoiler taking 10-15% and the Republican Palooka taking mid to high thirties.

    But to use the unemployment data of the 30's with todays U3 (without adjustment) is like mixing and matching Celsius and Fahrenheit.

    "That's what Slink gets for commenting around with those short one-line posts and wearing all of those liberal ideals."

    by JesseCW on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:19:40 PM PDT

    •  And, yes. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, Maikeru Ronin

      I get that they did it first.

      But the de-bunk would be sounder if the underlying numbers were.

      "That's what Slink gets for commenting around with those short one-line posts and wearing all of those liberal ideals."

      by JesseCW on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:22:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just adds to the absurdity of the claim (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        and if that was taken into consideration then it would have simply shown even more how ridiculous the claim by the NY Times and other Right wingers is.  

        For example (since 1994 when the stats were dramatically changed), Clinton win in 96 despite the fact that the U6 figure was at 9.3%.   Al Gore lost in 2000 despite the U6 being at 7.1%.   Bush won in 2004 despite it being back up to 9.4%  I'm not 100% certain but I recall reading that the current U6 is a much more apples to apples comparison when comparing the unemployment of today with unemployment of the 1940's for example.   If that is really the case, then there are 3 more examples since 94 where unemployment of 7.2% or above being an indicator of electoral failure is complete and utter BS.  

        The fact that you're really comparing apples to oranges when comparing unemployment stats from 1930 to 2010 wasn't lost on me.  I was just trying to be consistent with the claims made.  

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:00:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  U6 is closer, but it's still not all the way there (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse

          In the 30's, they considered a person unemployed if they made less than a certain amount.  I forget what that amount was.

          So, back then, if you were pushing an apple cart and making a nickle a day...."unemployed".

          Today, if you're "self employed" and trying to sell meat in some MLM scheme and losing money...."employed"

          "That's what Slink gets for commenting around with those short one-line posts and wearing all of those liberal ideals."

          by JesseCW on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:22:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This threshold business has a fatalist edge to it. (4+ / 0-)

    Where do I hope unemployment will be in autumn 2012? Hopefully, below 7.2 percent. Where will it likely be? Somewhere around where it is right now. Where could it be, if the situation in the Middle East grows markedly worse, Europe's response to the debt crisis triggers its own depression or the Republican effort to trigger an artificial debt crisis here succeeds? Maybe substantially higher than it has even been so far in this recession.

    If the numbers are worse rather than better, what do we do? Do we say "Damn, too bad Obama, if unemployment was below nine we'd stand a chance?" Or, do we explain to the American people how the free market policies enacted by the Republicans led us to this disaster, and how the free market policies that the Republicans will enact will make it even worse?

    We have to be able to fight no matter what the state of the economy is, and to offer rebuttals to the Republicans. That will be harder if unemployment is higher, yes. But not insurmountable. After all, progressives got a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. elected president in the first place.

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 06:27:04 PM PDT

    •  I think it affects how he runs, (0+ / 0-)

      even though this is the product of 30 years of Reaganomics, politically, Obama's had 3 whole years to fix the economy, so that dog won't hunt.  Especially when Obama, himself, campaigned as a "transformative president."  I think he's done a pretty decent job, under the circumstances, but that makes a terrible bumper sticker.  What's he to do?

      Make the election not about what he did the past 4 years.  Don't sit on his laurels, say I did health care.  Run like a challenger.  Use a variant on "Change we can believe in."  Ditch the necktie.  Half the country thinks he's foreign, so use it to his advantage:  despite being President, what if he can still present himself as an outsider?  Do that.  Take advantage of relative youth.  Where an incumbent has the advantage in incumbency is foreign policy, but the GOP is not in a million years going to make the election about foreign policy.  Anyway, it didn't work for George Bush Senior.  

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 08:31:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the response is (0+ / 0-)

        that didn't do as much as he wanted because the republicans prevented him from doing so.  

        I mean all last year the GOP and Boner were running around crying "where are the jobs?'  Well now they're in charge and the jobs picture gets worse.   They ran around saying that if the Bush Tax Cuts weren't extended the economy would get worse.  Well they were and the economy is getting worse.  They ran around stating that cuts had to be made or the economy would get worse.  Well they were made and the very next month the economy went south.  

        So there are ways to combat the bullshit.  It won't be easy but it can be done.  Obviously if the picture gets worse it will make it that much more difficult but if it improves somewhat he can run on the job not being finished and on not going back to the policies that got us here.  Not a winning bumper sticker but considering the alternatives not a loser either.  Plus if they nominate someone like Sarah Palin well it will be that much easier.  Hell ALL of their candidates will make it easier.  They all suck on levels that are off the suckitude scale.  

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:48:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Blame is lame (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vacantlook

          I think GOP obstructionism has to be part of the message, but only because the only chance at legislative progress is to retake the House.  Still, that's far short of a reason to vote for Obama.  

          If the GOP nominates a tea partier, it means they're going to put all of their efforts into Congress, and the Dems need to be prepared for that by giving challengers something to run on.

          Romney is the only one who might actually win, but i'd give him no better than 5:2 odds.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:00:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is lame (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse

            but frankly unless this economy turns around it may be all he has.  That and 'Vote for me.  I'm not batshit crazy!'

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:23:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  he needs a plan (0+ / 0-)

              he can advocate it even if he can't implement w/ the GOP House.

              thanks for the diary btw.

              And of course, our mission for a better America led by better Democrats is still in its early stages. -- Markos Moulitsas, 5/26/11

              by mightymouse on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 08:05:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Well, unemployment on Indian reservations (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, jan4insight, amk for obama, neroden

    in South Dakota is north of the 80% range...somehow I don't anticipate a GOP tide out there, though.

  •  GOP Jobless Recovery people (0+ / 0-)

    are creators of snow jobs.

  •  Numbers show Obama will lose at 7.8% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BradyB

    That is the break point at which Reagan won re-election while Ford, Carter and Bush all lost the election due to high unemployment numbers. But being conservative we can say that Obama will lose if the unemployment rate is 8%.  It's 9.3% and rising now so Obama's chances don't look good.

    This is actually what Silver's stats showed until Silver plugged in FDR's numbers as US clawed out of the great depression.  

    Over the last 75 years though since FDR's depression wins of the 30's, the unemployment rate as been the biggest determinant.

    It goes back to Obama's too small stimulus and the warnings by the Nobel economists Krugman, Nourini and Stiglitz. Obama ignored them, went with people like Summers and Geithner who caused the Great Recession.

    Krugman et all were right, unemployment is rising in the 9% range vs. the 7.8% when Obama was elected.

    Add to that Obama's litany of broken promises from public option to opening East coast to oil drilling to extending Bush tax cuts and hard to see who will be voting for Obama.

    •  Oh For God's Sake..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snout

      Since unemployment was only 7.8% when Obama was elected, why didn't John McCain & Sarah Palin win?  Wouldn't it follow that the incumbents party would win again....since things were going so swimmingly?

      In January 2009, the full fallout of the sub prime market & deregulation wasn't completely known. Nor was the fact that the rescued banks had NO intention of lending.  It was a nasty little surprise that kept unfolding over the months of the Obama Administration....when we were losing 800,000 jobs/month.

      Yes...Krugman is brilliant. But.... Somehow he never actually serves in an Administration.  Instead.....He sits on the sidelines & carps & advises & carps.

      He gets his share of the attention because of his Nobel, but somehow he's never gone all in.  He's never held a real position of influence in any recent administration.  

      •  Magical thinking won't change historical #'s (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Crazy like a fox

        The numbers are what the numbers are, no president in  the last 75 years has been re-elected with unemployment above 7.8%

        It's a simply fact.

        "why didn't John McCain & Sarah Palin win? "

        What part of RE-ELECTED don't you understand.

        Obama is a president running for re-election.  Those are the historical stats you need to look at.

        •  It's a fucking lie (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snapples, IT Professional

          FDR did it in 1940.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:38:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And to prove how much bullshit it is (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snout, IT Professional, sewaneepat

            I'll turn the tables.  

            No president in the last 75 years has LOST a re-election with unemployment above 14%.

            It's a simply fact.

            These are historical stats you need to look at.

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:55:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Let's See.....Barack Obama versus (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional

          Sarah Plain.....in a pig's eye.  Barack Obama vs Herman Cain.....he can't tell the difference between the Constitution & the Declaration of Independence.

          Barack Obama vs Mitt Romeny....Mittens is a believer in global warming & instituted universal healthcare in Mass.  The Baggers hate his guts.

          Barack Obama vs TPaw.....a colossal bore but has a chance of getting the nom.  Barack Obama vs Michelle Bachmann.....she'll never get past Iowa.

          Barack Obama vs Gingrich.....stop me now before I bust a gut laughing.  Barack Obama vs Rick Santorum.....wimpy is as wimpy does.

          Barack Obama will cream these little Medicare killing drones.  

      •  what tha fuck (0+ / 0-)

        John McCain and Sarah Palin were members of the incumbent (Republican) party, who were also making damn fools of themselves on national television telling everyone how fine it was that the economy was in total collapse.

        Unemployment was climbing because we were still in the process of losing jobs, please understand this it isn't very hard.

        You're odd shot at Krugman is unjustified; he has done more to help the world in a day than you will in your whole life.

    •  It (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BuzzLightyear235, mightymouse

      goes back to Obama choosing Wall Street instead of the people.

    •  if the election were tomorrow (0+ / 0-)

      If the election was this Tuesday, there is no doubt in my mind that Obama would be reelected[based on his approval numbers].  A lot can happen in the next 16 months[who knows the repubs might find a credible candidate], but unemployment is around 9% now and he would win now.  That would seem to put paid to the theory that he can't win with unemployment that high.

  •  Says who? The talking heads in the lazy MSM? (0+ / 0-)

    I mean, for crying out loud, the GOP is so desperate, compromised, sold out and confused that the whoring desperados for Wall St. are actually thinking about running TX Governor Rick Perry.

    ha ha.

  •  Even if it were true, (0+ / 0-)

    there's a first time for everything. Just because something hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it can't happen.

    By November 2012, people may be as fed up with Republicans as they were fed up with Democrats in 2010...

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:11:26 PM PDT

  •  If unemployment hits 88% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maikeru Ronin

    We won't have to worry about the Presidential election, the government will have been overthrown by mobs already.

    I'm pessimistic enough to have considered the possibility seriously.

    Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

    by neroden on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 09:16:22 PM PDT

  •  2012 Will Be Decided On Whether Repugs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    want to kill medicare and social security, not on the economy.  The economy is important, but not as important as voting for someone who will kill medicare, or more than likely privatize it.  Older voters will not vote for repugs in 2012.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:07:29 PM PDT

  •  No US President with the last initial "O" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    ... has EVER lost re-election at all.  No matter what the unemployment rate!!!!

    He's a shoo-in!

    Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

    by snout on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:14:11 PM PDT

  •  Where (0+ / 0-)

    are the goddamned jobs Obama? Congress? Criminal Rich?

    Oh, forgot, the banks got all the money.

  •  No US President born in Hawaii... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, IT Professional

    ....has ever lost re-election.  

    I'm not kidding.

    Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

    by snout on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:21:27 PM PDT

  •  Every Democratic President since Jimmy Carter... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, IT Professional

    ...has won re-election.

    Suck on that GOP.

    Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

    by snout on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:23:21 PM PDT

  •  The numbers may be meaningless ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    ...but the point is correct.

    We have a two-party system. If one party doesn't perform as voters would like it to, they elect the other one. Thus, the shitty economy brought us the 2010 Republican wave.

    That may help the Democrats, as the Republicans are revealing themselves to be too fanatical for many people's liking, but that's what you'll have to count on to produce a Democratic victory in 2012 if the economy remains in the crapper. And since Obama seems too wedded to the doctrine of austerity to take the actions necessary to fix it, it likely will.

  •  No President has one re-election who.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...didn't kill the number one terrorist in the world. President Bush excepted.

    I didn't intend the above as a factual statement.

    by Bensdad on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:34:00 PM PDT

  •  We were told that Bush would lose in 2004 because (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    ...he was an incumbent who could not get above 50% in preelection polling. Well, we saw how the so-called "Incumbent Rule", defied the data it rested upon in 2004.

    Remember when "if you don't win Missouri, you cannot be president", was historical fact?

    I think 2012 will be hard fought, but that the majority of voters will not believe the Republicans have better answers for the unemployment crisis, or high gas prices (notice how Obama has basically been generous with the whole the idea of increased domestic production thus taking that away from Republicans in 2012), or the budget deficit.

    TradMed, pundits, and the president's critics on both sides of the aisles all make the mistake of believing that ,much like them, the voters will not closely examine what the Republicans are proposing as alternatives to what President Obama is doing. These folks believe there is a drop-dead number in voter's heads; a point where all the other side has to do is show up (I predict now that after the first debate, we'll hear and read how it was a victory for the Republican because s/he passed the mythical looked-presidential-on stage test).

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

    by sebastianguy99 on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 11:45:30 PM PDT

    •  Bush had help from his Diebold pals (0+ / 0-)

      in Ohio to get elected in 2004. The list of shenanigans is as long as my arm.

      I don't think the Republicans can take the White House in 2012 without stealing it, but they've got experience in doing just that.

  •  the core point here is sound (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    that there are no magic formulas to predict presidential elections, which have their own historical and economic context, and whose results rely on an ever-shifting electorate with complex internal demographic, cultural, religious and class components.

    and yet 99% of all discussion of presidential race handicapping acts as if the electorate is a static thing, with recognizable stock characters that are the same from election to election.

    it's utterly ridiculous, but it's the natural outcome of a process designed to produce hard number metrics because people believe such things to be more true than mushy stuff like hunches, narrative, context, and on-the-ground reporting.

    less than a year and a half out, we'd all be better off trying to shape the context and narrative of the 2012 election than trying to divine it from the entrails of poll numbers and government statistics. go out and make news, don't try to derive the future from observing it.

  •  A few months ago it was (0+ / 0-)

    No President can lose if he fucking kills Osama bin Laden.

    Then they killed Osama bin Laden and it was time to revise.

    Great diary!

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 01:27:46 AM PDT

  •  More alsoer.... (0+ / 0-)

    These are FACTS! Not unreliable statistics:

    No one has ever LOST, running for President against Mitt Romney.

    No one has ever LOST, running for President against Sarah Palin (anywhere on the opposing ticket).

    No one has ever LOST, running for President against Tim Pawlenty.

    No one has ever LOST, running for President against Michele Bachmann.

    and...

    Barack Obama has never LOST, against anybody, running for President of the United States.

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 01:33:36 AM PDT

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