Their cognitive dissonance is mind-boggling. See, this is what happens when you THINK you are the "story setter"--that is, deciding on the day's/week's/cycle's narrative--and reality gets in your way.
Back in 2009, they decided to set their narrative when the Stimulus passed: "No President has won re-election when unemployment has been over 7.2%". And by gum, they've stuck to that one little thing as if it were their lifeline. And now that the polls are up for the President, the questions they've been asking are "WHY?" "HOW?" And they've spent the last month or so trying to figure out the answer. And you are starting to see it reflected in the punditry coming from their pens:
Mitt Romney just sucks as a candidate. Otherwise he'd be crushing the President in this economy.
That's it. That's their answer.
And now they're scrambling to catch up:
But yet again, they're completely clueless and getting it wrong.
Oh yes, the economy is important, and Mitt really does suck. But that doesn't explain the current lead of the President. At best one would think that that would make for a tight and close election.
The problem they have is themselves. For them to acknowledge reality is for them to go against everything they believe in.
For they consistently refuse to acknowledge the depth of the suckiness the economy was in during 2008 and the beginning of 2009 thanks to the policies of W and Reagan the country has implemented for 20 of the past 30 years. For them to point out exactly HOW BAD the economy was in the spring of 2009 before the Stimulus passed is to acknowledge that Republicans were and had been totally wrong, and that the President performed an economic miracle in 4 years, creating a net positive in job growth.
You hear all these Very Serious People talking about what year this election resembles: 2004, 1996, 1992, and so on. They're ALL of them wrong.
This is 1936.
But the context matters here. No president since FDR has won with a high unemployment rate because no president since FDR has had to govern at a time of a global economic crisis like the Great Depression or the Great Recession. The U.S. has seen plenty of downturns over the last eight decades, but financial collapses are fairly rare, produce far more severe conditions, and take much longer to recover from.And in the insular bubble of the Village, all they have to look at are numbers. They aren't out here. People KNEW that the economy was worse than originally reported. They also KNOW and they can FEEL that things are getting better. Slowly as they may be, they are getting better. Which is why the consumer confidence levels continue to baffle the Village. Unemployment is over 8 percent, and people are starting to feel good about the economy. Because they are out here, because they can SEE it slowly getting better.
In other words, Obama has a good excuse. Of course the unemployment rate won’t be below 7.2%. Under the circumstances and given the calamity Obama inherited, that’s impossible.
The more relevant question is what Americans are willing to put up with. In 1934, during FDR’s first midterms, the unemployment rate was about 22%. The public was thrilled — it had come down considerably from 1932. By 1936, when FDR was seeking a second term, the unemployment rate was about 17%. How can an incumbent president win re-election with a 17% unemployment rate? Because things were getting better, not worse.
And they also KNOW who gets the credit and who gets the blame. Especially after the 2010 elections.
And that the Villagers CANNOT under ANY circumstances admit to. Whether out of cowardice, or the fact that they ARE part of the same party, or whatever reason. Not even in their innermost thoughts can they admit to it. Thus the cognitive dissonance and the looking for ANY kind of semi-plausible answer.
Honestly, it's a wonder how exactly these people came to be the Founts of Knowledge of All Things Political.
Never before has Bill Maher's "bubble" analogy been more apt.