Relapse Summer

Rich Galen
  • Going into the summer of 2010, we were assured by the political geniuses in the White House that Barack Obama and Joe Biden would be out selling it as "Recovery Summer."
  • In fact, on June 17 the White House published an announcement on its website saying,
    "The Administration today kicks off "Recovery Summer," a six-week-long focus on the surge in Recovery Act infrastructure projects that will be underway across the country in the coming months - and the jobs they'll create well into the fall and through the end of the year."
  • Ah, that blasted reality.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (a subdivision of Obama's Department of Labor) in July 2010 - a month into Recover Summer - there were 14,599,000 Americans who were unemployed.
  • After three months of "focus on the surge in Recovery Act infrastructure projects" in September 2010 there were 14,767,000 Americans looking for work. 168,000 more than before Obama and Biden went out into the countryside to tell us how well we're doing.
  • Unemployment is stuck in the mid-nine-percent range and every poll with the possible exception of those taken by Newsweek shows that Americans think their economic future is not very bright.
  • According to Gallup, in June - when Recovery Summer was announced - 36 percent of Americans thought the economy was getting better. 60 percent thought it was getting worse. As of last night 32 percent thought the economy was getting better and 62 percent thought it was getting worse.
  • The Recovery Summer turned into the Relapse Summer.
  • If you don't think we're going back in time, consider this: Germany (yes, THAT Germany) reported its unemployment rate at 7.5 percent - two percentage points below Barack Obama's unemployment rate.
  • And the Germans were disappointed with the numbers because the government thought it would be a tenth lower at 7.4 percent.
  • Everyone who thinks it's good for the world when the Germans are the overwhelming economic power in Europe raise hands.
  • Put your hand down, Günther.
  • Gallup also asks people who have jobs if they are working part time and want full time work. That measure of underemployed is at 18.2 percent. I don't think they think they're recovering.
  • The Washington Post's senior political analyst, Dan Balz, wrote a piece yesterday which summarized the mood of the nation following Recovery Summer:
    "Anger is one word that is often used to describe the electorate this year. But one word alone cannot adequately capture the sentiments expressed by voters on doorsteps and street corners, at community centers or candidate rallies. Along with the anger there is fear, worry, nervousness, disappointment, anxiety and disillusionment."
  • "Recovery," you will note, was not a word which made it into that sentence.
  • The practical result of all this will be seen on Tuesday. According to the GOP has got 222 seats more-or-less in its pocket; Democrats have 177.
  • Of the 38 seats listed as "toss-ups" 36 are held by Democrats. If the Rs and Ds just split those down the middle that might give John Boehner 240 seats going into the 112th Congress or a majority of 45 seats.
  • The last time Republicans had 240 seats or more? Right after World War II. During the 80th Congress the party division was 246 Rs, 188 Ds and one independent. Plus 58 for Republicans.
  • Before you start doing your Ren & Stimpy Dance o' Joy keep in mind that in the election of 1948 the GOP lost 75 seats and was back in the minority by 92 seats 263-171.
  • But, the 2012 election is two years away. Let's focus on the 2010 election which should be Recovery November for the GOP and a Relapse Election for the Dems.

Rich Galen, columnist
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