How Republicans Won the Economy Argument

For starters, wrongly blame Obama for unemployment

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 23, 2009 1:53 PM CST

(Newser) – Republicans have won the political argument over the economy with a "nifty" two-step strategy, writes Jonathan Chait. First, blame President Obama for unemployment by focusing on the simple—make that simplistic—fact that more people are out of work now than when he took office. Second, beat him up even more as a whiner when he rightly points out that he inherited this mess.

Republicans have cinched their advantage by suddenly embracing the need for a balanced budget right now. "That is, of course, insane," writes Chait in the New Republic. "Thus the Democrats’ predicament: High unemployment is making them unpopular, but the only steps they can take to reduce unemployment are themselves unpopular. If the Democrats actually gave the people what they say they want—$1.4 trillion in spending cuts and/or tax hikes to eliminate the 2010 deficit—Republicans would capture approximately 100% of Congress in the next election."

President Obama makes a statement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Tuesday as Timothy Geithner looks on.
President Obama makes a statement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Tuesday as Timothy Geithner looks on.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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The trouble is, public opinion tends to get loose with the purse strings during boom times and tight during recessions, which is the opposite of what you want. - Jonathan Chait, New Republic

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