Politics & Policy

Kerry’s Alternative Economic Universe

Kerry's economic gloom-and-doom.

The Kerry campaign is doing its best “Chicken Little” routine by claiming, despite surging job growth, that the economic sky is falling.

The Washington Post dutifully reported on this ill-fated strategy, ironically putting a chart titled “Retail Sales Improve” next to “Kerry to Step up Economic Crusade: Candidate will dismiss recent good news and emphasize gloomy picture matched by polls.”

The timing of Kerry’s gloom offensive got even worse when Manpower released its newest survey of 16,000 American employers at 12:01 A.M. on June 15. Running 180 degrees counter to the Kerry strategy of talking up economic gloom, Manpower’s survey reported that “U.S. employers continue to show optimism in their hiring plans moving into the third quarter.” In fact, the highly regarded survey found that 30 percent of employers expect to add employees to their payrolls in the third quarter and that only 5 percent expect to reduce payrolls.

As is now commonplace, Gene Sperling, formerly Bill Clinton’s economic adviser and now John Kerry’s, said America was entering a “dark fiscal period” and claimed the jobs picture was equivalent to that of the 1930s.

In a different time, Kerry’s gloom campaign would have been labeled as “talking down the economy.” Back in late 2000 and early 2001 Democrats attacked President Bush’s honest assessment of an economy headed into recession and a tax package needed to jump start economic growth as “talking down the economy.”

But the press has conveniently forgotten this historical tidbit and decided not to hold John Kerry and the Democrats to their own standards from 2001.

For the record, it’s worth going back in time to see what they said then:

Gene Sperling told Good Morning America on March 16, 2001, that Bush had “hurt consumer confidence” by being “very pessimistic in talking down the economy.” Mr. Sperling, how is John Kerry’s gloom offensive not “talking down the economy?”

On March 15, 2001, Senator Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “when President Bush looks at the economy, he doesn’t see the doughnut, he just sees the hole.” Senator Durbin, would it now be fair to say that when John Kerry looks at the economy he doesn’t see the doughnut, he just sees the hole?

On the March 14, 2001, broadcast of World News Tonight Peter Jennings opined that President Bush “has been talking down the economy for months as a way of selling his tax cut.” Mr. Jennings, would it be fair to report to your audience that John Kerry has been talking down the economy for months as a way of selling his candidacy?

Robert Moran is a vice president at Republican polling firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates. He is an NRO contributor.

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