‘Of Course The Economy is Getting Better . . . ’

by Jonah Goldberg

As it looks like Romney is pulling away with it in Florida, I can’t help but think Sarah Palin is right. Let’s keep things going a while longer. Gingrich is making Romney a better candidate, but not good enough.

I know this was posted earlier in the Corner but I think it’s worth revisiting. When Romney was on Laura Ingraham’s show last week he was asked if the economy is getting better. He replied.

Of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after the recession. There’s always a recovery. There’s never been a time anywhere in the world where an economy has never recovered. The question is how is recovered by virtue of something the president has done or has he delayed the recovery and made it more painful? And the latter, of course, is the truth.” “The president’s policies have made the recession deeper and have made the recovery more tepid and more difficult on the American people. This is the worst recovery that we have seen from a recession since Hoover. And President Obama wants to take credit for things getting better, he’s in fact made things worse. He’s made this recovery take much longer, but, will our economy get better someday? Of course it will.

When Laura asked Romney if that’s a hard argument to make — that “Obama is making the economy better, but vote for me,” Romney replied: “Do you have a better one Laura?”

Well, I do. First, while Ingraham was right and smart to ask the question that way,  Romney should have rejected the premise that “Obama is making the economy better.” The whole upshot of his position is that the economy isn’t getting better because of Obama, it’s getting better in spite of Obama and the president’s policies are a drag on what should be a roaring recovery.

Moreover, if he wants to know how to talk about an improving economy under an unpopular president, there are several thousand hours of remarks from Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama he can crib from. He could say something like “Sure, the headlines are better, but if you  go around this country and ask people if they feel like there’s a recovery, their answer is no.” Or he could say, “It’s not a recovery until the millions of people who’ve been chased out of the workforce entirely feel like it’s even worth looking again.” Or, “It’s not a recovery for the millions of people underwater on their mortgages.” Or, “Hey look, I’m a numbers guy. And I won’t lie that there are some improving numbers out there, but those numbers aren’t people and if you ask people what they think of the economy, if you ask them ‘Are you better off than you were 4 years ago’ the answer is a loud ‘No!’”

I’m no political consultant, but it seems to me that these are the sorts of no-brainer responses that come naturally to natural politicians. Mitt Romney is not a natural politician. If duking it out with Gingrich for another month makes him a better politician, then even if you don’t want Gingrich to be the nominee you should probably vote for Gingrich.