The Corner

Democratic Overconfidence

E. J. Dionne Jr. says that the weak job-creation numbers, and the press coverage of outsourcing, have put Bush’s re-election at risk. Perhaps. But consider the 2002 elections. During the summer of 2002, Republican panic (and Democratic glee) over the economy and the corporate scandals was running higher than it is now. The economy was worse then. And Republicans did extremely well in the fall.

Or consider 1996, the last time a president got re-elected–and re-elected quite easily. The end of 1995 and the start of 1996 saw a lot of press coverage of “downsizing,” the hot media scare story about the economy at that time. (It affected about as many voters as “outsourcing” does.)

The major econometric models of elections all show Bush winning, some of them comfortably.

Then there’s the what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it problem. Kerry’s plan to revive the economy is to hike taxes on high earners. Voters may not have strong objections to the idea, but I don’t know that they’re going to see it as a way to create jobs.

None of these points means that Bush is going to win, or that the jobs issue won’t sink him. But it does mean that it’s not a slam-dunk for Democrats.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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