Pethokoukis's Top Nine: Disaster for the Dems


I suspect that a word limit prevented him from reaching double digits, but the always clever James Pethokoukis list nine reasons the December jobs report is very, very bad news for Democrats:

1. Remember this simple formula: Unemployment drives presidential approval numbers and presidential approval numbers drive midterm election results.

2. President Barack Obama's approval numbers are hovering just a tick below 50 percent. Since 1962, the average House midterm loss for the president's party when his approval is sub-50 percent is 41 seats. The GOP needs 40 to take the House.

3. And make no mistake, the December unemployment numbers were bad both economically and politically. The 85,000 job loss was worse than expected and will be played that way the media. The continuation of a double-digit unemployment also resonates with voters. And not a in a good way.

4. Then will come the second-take stories that will notice the shrinking labor force, which dropped by nearly 700,000 from November. Had it stayed stable for last month, the jobless rate would have been 10.4 percent. Had it stayed stable since August, the jobless rate would be 11 percent!

5. But wait, there's more! The U-6 rate rate which combines the basic jobless rate, discouraged workers, part-timers-who-would-rather-be-full-tim ers climbed to 17.3 percent. And the average duration of unemployment rose to a record high 29.1 weeks.

6. Also, there is every indication that as the slowly growing economy eventually draws workers back in the labor force, the jobless rate will creep up to new highs. (Big companies remain cautious about hiring, and small biz remains under pressure due to tight capital markets.) The validity of the Obama recovery plan will seriously be cast in doubt.

7. The sickly labor market will also make is that much harder for the White House and Hill Dems to celebrate what is likely to be a brisk upcoming GDP report in the 4-5 percent range. That seems like an abstract number compared to the unemployment rate.

8. Combine a weak labor market – which may appear to be getting worse to voters – with the moribund housing market and rising gas prices, and you got a toxic triple threat that will be poisonous to Democratic incumbents and further drain Obama's political capital

9. Also, watch how these numbers play with Senate and House Dems thinking about resigning like Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan.  A big improvement in the jobs numbers might have reassured any worriers that 2010 might not be as tough as some currently think. Now it looks a bit more like the worst fears of Democrats might be realized: losing the House and a half-dozen or more Senate seats.

Full piece.

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  1. I don’t think the Democrats have much chance of retaining control of Congress. If the GOP had its act as together as it did in 1993-4, it would make a killing. Not because people like the GOP–most don’t–but because this Democratic Congress is so horrible. It’s one of the worst ever, I think.

    1. It’s extremely unlikely that the Dems lose the Senate. They’re definitely going to lose the supermajority, though, probably down to around 54 or 55.

      1. Don’t bet on it. They’re pushing way too hard and should accomplish great acts of self-immolation this year. As if they hadn’t done enough in 2009.

        You’d think they’d have learned something from the GOP’s experience in the mid-Aughts.

        1. They’d have to lose 10 seats in one election. That didn’t even happen in 1930.

          1. Agreed – losing the Senate in a single election from the position they’re in is almost impossible, especially when the opposition is so feeble. Fortunately, losing the House is generally sufficient to hamstring the administration, and that’s almost always doable.

          2. the gop winning either house is unlikely, but if one is going to happen it will be the house. There just arent enough dem seats up for election in center right states for the gop to take the senate even if it was an absolutely horrible year of epic proportion for dems.

            If i had to bet now id say 3-4 seats in net for the GOP int he senate and 25-30 seats in the house.

        2. Mid-Ohs, damn you. But don’t forget, they’re politicians. Learning isn’t their specialty.

    2. Yes. What we’ve had to endure for the last two or three years or so is definitely the most worthless, incompetent, corrupt, and unrepresentative government we’ve ever had in the history of this country.

      There’s no question that in November the people will take a huge step towards getting these maniacs under control. The bad news is that they can still do a significant amount of lasting damage in the meantime.

  2. If only there were a way to sink both major parties…

    1. Some think there is.

      1. PRO L: please warn when linking to erotica!

        1. Wordy erotica counts I suppose.

      2. Or malware.

    2. Maybe there is. If you don’t mind killing the government off along with both parties — and you aren’t concerned that what came after would probably be worse — then just keep voting for those liberals. They’ll bankrupt the Fed soon enough, and then we can all rub it in Tulpa’s face.

      1. Leave my face out of this!

        1. Uncle Sam is aaalllllmooooosssstttt bankrupt.

          [rub rub rub]

  3. That piece needs to come with a cyanide pill. Never mind the retarded politics, that’s just flat out fucking depressing.

    1. Not for those of us who have government jobs. (Sorry)

      1. You goldbricking mother fucker.

        1. Stay out of my beachfront community!

      2. I knew something seemed wrong about you. Begone!

        1. I thought you guys would like having a man on the inside.

          1. Would we ever!

    2. Really? I’m pretty encouraged that the Republicans will take the house away from the Dems. Gridlock here we come.

    3. I was speaking to all the reasons they will be loosing their seats. Basically because life is going to suck so much for voters they will vote for someone new.

  4. I don’t know guys. It may be just wishful thinking on our part that we can get back to stalemated government. Just today, Obama came out vigorously pushing for Green Jobs because he said he is willing to look at any solution to the job creation problem, and do whatever it takes. With that kind of gumption and initiative coming from Obama it will be solved. We will be back down to an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent and declining before the elections. We just haven’t given the administration enough time, and our negativity is as much to blame as anything else to which we can point fingers.

    Now, where is my $400,000 check? That was a tough paragraph to write, I’m totally deserving of it, taxpayers.

    1. he said he is willing to look at any solution to the job creation problem, and do whatever it takes… as long as it involves increased regulation and spending tax money, and doesn’t upset government workers, unions, trial lawyers, or other left-wing pressure groups.

  5. As soon as Republicans are in office they will reverse the Obamacare.

    1. Well then, maybe Tulpa will be able to keep his job. Then I won’t have to finish polishing his face.

      1. It’s not a federal job.

        1. You state-level goldbricking mother fucker.

        2. Nonetheless, odds are high that your state got bailed out by Uncle Sam. So the Feds and the State are both almost broke.

          So don’t go thinking your off the hook here, or anything like that.

          1. The state made me a promise, and as we all know promises must be kept at any cost. If they have to raise the income tax rate to 90% to fulfill that promise, so be it.

    2. btw, what combination of illegal substances did you have to take before you dreamed that line up?

    3. The Senate Dems wrote some comical language in their bill declaring that no one could ever change it. They’re no longer even pretending to “support and defend the Constitution.”

      1. They gave up all appearances and pretensions of being fettered to the Constitution decades ago. What worries me even more though, they are not even trying to appear smart these days. They don’t even give a damn about that anymore.

        1. thats wht i laugh when a lefty gets pissed at busha nd gang violating the constitution… as if they actually care about it. Its almost how i get a chuckle wen lefties defend abotion on gounds of “right to chose” as if personal choice is some principle they adhere to.

          But i don’t know which ones worse… if they are just lying about it and know they are rtying to fundimentally uproot the american system of government or if thhey actually think they are true to it. The green party candidate for state office in my district this year tried to argue that george masonm the guy who voted against the constitution because it didnt restrict government power enough, was a “progressive” and if he were alive today would want a single payer healthcare system.

      2. Assuming you’re referring to this, that only applies to the part of the bill creating and empowering the Medicare Advisory Board (Palinish: death panels).

      3. The Senate Dems wrote some comical language in their bill declaring that no one could ever change it.

        “PS No one can ever change this bill NO TAGBACKS INFINITY!!!”

  6. So is Pethokoukis saying that businesses menaced by onerous taxation, crushing regulation, enormous mandates and the specter of forced unionization aren’t going to charge out and hire flocks of new emplyees? Where are Chad and Tony to refute this nonsense?!

  7. Goin’ down, down, down, down, down
    On that homebound train


  8. If the press continues their current trend of sort of criticizing some things BHO does then this might come true. I don’t see it.

    1. All I see are articles that sort of criticize BHO, but then go on to tell you the real problem is that people just don’t realize how much the O-man is really doing for them. Or they don’t remember how much worse it was under Bush. Or anyway, it’s not the O-boy’s fault that people don’t like him.

      I don’t care who’s fucking “fault” it is, as long as O-boy and his buddies get thrown out on their ears.

  9. Why are zombies always left out of the jobless statistics?

    1. They are already employed. When your only job is maawwwaaaa brains it’s a little hard to be unemployed.

      Plus who wants to stand by zombies in the unemployment line. Wait a second there might be an idea there.

    2. DURKA DER!

    3. Because they are fully employed. Any zombie that needs a job is instantly hired by either the TSA, the DMV or some other government agency. They fit in perfectly there.

      1. Or they can get a job modeling Reason apparel.

        1. They are preferable because they take direction better than libertarians. Have you ever tried to give directions to one of them?

          Cat herders use the phrase “Like organizing a viable Libertarian party” when they want to describe something as difficult.

  10. The way I see it, it’s like a bad action movie or splitting an arrow with another arrow. The LP needs to do something seemingly simple (but very difficult). If they miss, they get egg on their face. If they succeed, then something cool is gonna result.

    1. That’s actually not a bad thought. But that’s also assuming the LP can get it’s shit together for once. Can they do it?


  11. It appears that we are ready to change from the blue hat to the red hat again. Sunrise/Sunset.

    It doesn’t matter which party is in power because we have already established a permanent bureaucracy that is insulated from actual elections.

    Spending, Spending Spending, Debt, Debt, Debt, & a gold-plated benefits package for government workers.

    1. But big targets on their heads when the government goes bankrupt.

  12. OK this actually makes sense dude!


  13. What odds are the bookies giving that Obama resigns before the end of his term? I say it’s close to fifty fifty.

    1. Only in your dreams.

    2. HA! Obama will run for a second term. And if there’s any possible way he could do so, he’ll run for a third as well.

      1. The only place obama will be running for is THE HELL OUT OF THE UNITED STATES.

      2. The only place obama will be running for is THE HELL OUT OF THE UNITED STATES.

  14. It is time that we stimulate the economy by launching a Golgafrincham-like NASA program!

    I am referring to the building of Space Ark B.

    Being our betters, I definitely think we should make sure that politicians get priority seating on Space Ark B.

    1. You do know that the Golgafrinchams on Space Ark B survived longer than everyone else, right?

      1. But they survived somewhere else. I don’t care if our telephone sanitizers live or die, just as long as they do it somewhere else.

        And there isn’t anything that would prevent us from learning from the past and sending our space ark directly into the sun.

      2. I thought we were the B-ers. It does explain a lot.

  15. Looks like Dingy Harry needs to calibrate his words better:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized Saturday for calling Barack Obama a “light-skinned” African-American who lacked a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”


    Reid’s remarks were revealed in a new book, “Game Change” by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann about the 2008 race. According to the book, Reid was impressed by Obama’s candidacy during the primary campaign, and privately said the country was ready for a black president ? particularly a “light-skinned” one “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

    1. Don’t forget clean and articulate.

      1. “He speaks so well!”

  16. “1. Remember this simple formula: Unemployment drives presidential approval numbers and presidential approval numbers drive midterm election results.”

    I would really like this little maxim if it didn’t reflect the dismaying fact that modern Americans view a president as king of the economy.

    If bad approval numbers strictly meant “this president meddles too much; we actually want limited government,” that would be great. But that’s not what they mean. What they mean is “we think the president should be a king who runs everything, and in this case he’s not doing that task well; now make him go ‘create a job’ for me.”


    1. People think that the President is a kind of domestic policy god with the power to remake American political economy in his own image. Bush was blamed for everything from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina to the housing bust and the financial panic of 2008. This allowed the real culprits – local officials and Congress as the case may be – off the hook.

      1. Yep.

        We tend to get caught up in all the big political projects and sexy headlines. But it’s the little stuff like this (“unemployment drives approval numbers”) that can serve as the real reminder just how far gone America is, just how hopeless is a return to limited government. It’s a measure of how deeply ingrained — and accepted — these big-government assumptions are at this point.

        Americans no longer have any interest in individualism and liberty. We still throw those words around as if they’re part of the country’s fabric. But a nation that holds a president responsible for employment, and takes that role for granted, is not a nation with any interest in actual liberty.

  17. “Now it looks a bit more like the worst fears of Democrats might be realized: losing the House and a half-dozen or more Senate seats.”

    This would be absolutely my best case scenario…

    Democrat White House.
    Republican House of Representatives.
    Democrat Senate (but with less than 60 seats).

  18. It’s all Bush’s fault.

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