Politics & Policy

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

David Plouffe tried last week to soften the blowback from the impending jobs report. From The Hill:

President Obama’s senior political adviser David Plouffe said Wednesday that people won’t vote in 2012 based on the unemployment rate.

Plouffe should probably hope that’s the case, since dismal job figures aren’t expected to get any better for Obama and the economy on Friday.

If we’re now in the anti-Clinton territory of ‘it’s not the economy, stupid,’ one wonders on what exactly the president’s reelection campaign is going to be based? Perhaps it could be based on whether or not he has delivered his promises. From CNN back in 2008:

President-elect Barack Obama offered an outline of his economic recovery plan Saturday, and jobs were the top priority.

American workers will rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, modernize its schools and create more sources of alternative energy, Obama said in the weekly Democratic address, posted on his Web site.

“The plan will mean 2.5 million more jobs” by 2011, Obama said. His Web site clarified that the plan would “save or create” that many jobs.

“These aren’t just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis,” he said. “These are the long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long.”

Clearly, though, these concepts are too concrete for the postmodern age. We learn from David Plouffe that it’s not actual jobs that matter, but empathy:

“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said, according to Bloomberg. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’

This is I-feel-your-pain identity politics at its absolute worst, the implication being that it doesn’t matter whether or not one has a job as long as the president is thinking about you. Forgive my being an ingrate but if Friday’s numbers are the consequence of attention, I’d rather Obama had other thoughts.

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