Wait, the Economy Is Lousy and Obama Is Unpopular? How Could That Ever Be?


The New York Times today has a one-page, two-story feature searching for clues to explain President Barack Obama's unpopularity. One boils down to crazy people think he's a secret Muslim, the other lets John Podesta make a semi-interesting argument that Obama has sullied his image by being a legislative president after sweeping into office on an above-it-all, post-partisanny campaign.

Missing from both, most egregiously from the latter (given that it talks specifically about legislative "successes"), is something that goes missing from way, way too much political journalism–any examination of whether the legislative accomplishments in question have a positive or negative correlation to the one factor everyone agrees is central to the president's poor numbers: the stinky economy. As in the case of budget-cut scare stories, I'm not asking for the Matt Bais of the world to agree with my crazy ideas, but rather to simply engage a question that seems elementary in any assessment of why a president is unpopular: Have his policies contributed to the worse-than-his-worst-case-scenario economy? Has he moved us forward or set us back?

Many people have opinions about that. Enough, I daresay, that it affects his poll numbers.