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The most important number in politics today

39

That's the percentage of voters who said economic conditions are "continuing to worsen" and that the country remains in a "downturn", according to new data from CNN/Opinion Research Corporation.

The numbers, which mark a six-percent increase on the question since an October CNN survey, landed just hours before President Barack Obama delivers a highly-touted economic speech at the Brookings Institution, and starkly cast the challenge before his Administration between now and the November 2010 midterm elections.

Much of the strength (or lack thereof) of the economy is based on perception. If people feel good about the state of their fiscal house, they are far more apt to spend their money -- whether it's on Christmas gifts, a new car or even a new, um, house. If people believe the economy is not doing well, they are far more likely to husband their money, which, in turn, slows the economy and makes growth more perilous.

The American people are clearly hesitant when it comes to how they feel about the economy. In addition to the four in ten who say that the economy remains in a downturn, 46 percent of the CNN sample agreed with the idea that the economic recovery has yet to begin while just 15 percent said the economy has begun to improve.

A look at Gallup's weekly economic indicators shows a similar skepticism/pessimism. Thirty eight percent said the economy was getting better while 58 percent said it was getting worse in Gallup data over the past week; consumer spending averaged $75 a day last week, a 21 percent decline from this same time in 2008.

Screen shot 2009-12-08 at 10.51.12 AM.png

That pessimistic perception is what President Obama must address today. He must show and prove to the American people that he and his Administration are focused on how to spur the job market, lower unemployment and get people back to work.

It's a delicate rhetorical dance, however. On the one hand, Obama wants to/has to highlight the progress that has been made to date from the stimulus package but at the same time he must acknowledge that for many Americans the recovery hasn't begun just yet.

As we've noted before, one of Obama's only weaknesses as a politician is that empathy doesn't come entirely naturally to him. He can come across -- particularly in speeches -- as almost too intellectual and too clinical, leaving people with the perception that he is at something of a remove from their struggles.

For Democrats to avoid the traditional losses that a president's party faces in the first midterm of his time in office, Obama must convince the American people that not only are things getting better with the economy an that improvement is directly related to the policies his Administration and the Democratic-led Congress put in place but also that he knows and cares about their economic worries.

That political sales job begins in earnest today.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 8, 2009; 11:09 AM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Fix: Voters are voting in Massachusetts!
Next: The White House's messaging end-run

Comments

Teeheehee. Sarah Palin wrote an op-ed on climate change. Want to read about emails and cycles?

Next Katie Couric question...

KC: Mrs. Palin, I understand that you played basketball in high school.

SP: Yah, that is right.

KC: Have you ever dribbled a basketball up a hill?

SP: You betcha!

KC: You realize that when you get to the top of the hill, the basketball is higher up than when when you were at the bottom of the hill, right?

SP: NO! BOUNCY BASKETBALL CYCLICAL SAME HEIGHT NO WARMING HATE POLAR BEARS MUST FIELD DRESS SOMETHING

Posted by: DDAWD | December 8, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked. I would have thought the most important number in politics today is 69. From what I understand, that's the "number" you need to get recommended to be a US Attorney General.

Posted by: JadedJade | December 8, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

The operative word is real as in real conservative. You may have excluded anyone who is empathetic as being a real conservative.I consider any one who would vote for the more conservative of two candidates is a conservative. I know very well two people that fit that definition who voted for Obama not because he was their favorite but because they learned in the last eight years that incompetence has consequences. One felt that Obama was fiscally more conservative than McCain and the other felt that when a government is insensitive to the needs of its people it has failed. He felt that continuing Bush economics was irresponsible.

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 8, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

"You know which part of the stimulus was *least* effective at creating jobs?

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 5:34 PM"
----
You talk in the past tense, the thick of it hasn't even kicked in yet because of Federal Procurement Guidelines.

Watch in 2010 as Dems get a little more popular.

Posted by: JRM2 | December 8, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

Are you a closet straight?

==

Jake seems to think he can win points with anti-gay bigotry.

Since I'm gay I'm supposed to be consumed with shame and self-hatred and never far from a suicide attempt. Since none of these are true then obviously I'm the "scum of the earth." I mean, how could anyone be gay and not be ashamed?

Boggles the mind!

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Telling me I am wrong when I know several people who are fed up with the Republican Party because they make no attempt to solve America's problems says your experience is limited. You simply do not know old time conservatives.

==

You're right, I haven't run into anyone I would call a real conservative, not for a long long time. But I remember them from a long time ago.

Seems to me they're extinct.

The only "conservatives" I run into are like Jake ... dishonest, baiting, uneducated, nasty, unintelligent. I do run into people who (blows A440 on a pitchpipe) claim to be

o/~ fiscally conservative an' socially liberal o/~

but they vote Republican anyway so to hell with them. They utter that little quip because it makes them feel as though they're independent thinkers.

Frankly the nasty trolls here in this blog strike me as perfectly exemplary of American conservatism today: dishonest, unintelligent, vicious.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

Are you a closet straight?

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 8, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Gold, you are entitled to see things as black and white, all you have to do is ignore the grey. Telling me I am wrong when I know several people who are fed up with the Republican Party because they make no attempt to solve America's problems says your experience is limited. You simply do not know old time conservatives. Most of them lack empathy but in the case you presented many of the mothers would burp their children some because of empathy many more because they have been instructed to.

Your example points out another difference between minds of liberals and conservatives. Intuition may play a greater role in the liberal mind.

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 8, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

You know which part of the stimulus was *least* effective at creating jobs?

The tax breaks that the GOP demanded.

==

Two facts about Republican economics

(1) it doesn't work

(2) they always have excuses about why it didn't work this time (unless that flat out lie and claim it did work) and why it'll work next time

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I hope Palin does go for the nomination, imagine what a fertile field of damnation awaits that cretinous witch with all this videotape of her nonsense answers.

"Sarah Palin: I believe that I am because I have common sense and I have I believe the values that I think are reflective of so many other American values, and I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the uhm, the ah, a kind of spineless, spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with some kind of elite, Ivy league education and, and a fat resume that is based on anything but hard work and private sector, free enterprise principles. Americans are could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership, I'm not saying that that has to be me."

Kafka couldn't make this stuff up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

True conservatives have empathy but modern conservatives ridicule people with empathy. The definition of a modern conservative is someone who will criticize his opponent solely because he is his opponent and will gladly contradict himself in doing it.

==

Actually, you're wrong. Conservatives of all stripes are lacking in humanity.

I heard about a study over thirty years ago comparing childrearing correlated with political persuasion. The scenario: a crying infant.

Liberals are more likely to go console a crying baby at any time.

Conservatives were much more likely (as in "statistically significant difference") to rationalize away the crying; the baby has been fed and is warm, he has no justification for crying, let him cry, close to door to not have to hear it.

And guess which side claims to care more about babies in the womb (sic; those are fetuses).

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Which I suppose explains his support for Palin. Certainly no sounding educated and intelligent there.

==

Did you hear the excerpt of Palin telling O'Reilly why she's qualified to be president?

A canary makes more sense.

Something about a thick resume being bad, something about elitism and working in the "pry-vit secter" (why does she sound like a nine-year-old girl?), absolute nonsense.

And in some circles this stuff gets applause. I tell myself it's just the teabaggers and it probably is but this country has an anti-intellectual Heart of Darkness that must not be allowed to grow.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Omama's critics want to tell you that he lacks empathy. How would they know since the only people they have none except for the well heeled and the power brokers of industry.

People thought Bush 2 had empathy. It was all an act that was uncovered by Katrina. True conservatives have empathy but modern conservatives ridicule people with empathy. The definition of a modern conservative is someone who will criticize his opponent solely because he is his opponent and will gladly contradict himself in doing it.

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 8, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

People have gotten around to the amount of time he has lead an organization, or company.
He is a smart man and can delegate well, his problem are the hangers on, they seem to promote each other over a 'Country ' agenda.
They also seem willing to drag his popularity down as a test of loyalty.

Posted by: RayOne | December 8, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

That's right, GoldAndTanzanite[], run off to Vietnam with your gay lover(s) then . . .

==

Oh, I will. You can stay here in your single-wide and live on the charity of your church.

And you can inflate your "wife" and reminisce with her about that great day when you and "she" voted for Alan Keyes. Sounds like the apotheosis of a life of turbo-charged tediu,m

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I assume jaked criticizes G&T because he does indeed believe that "sounding educated and intelligent is a political deficit."

Which I suppose explains his support for Palin. Certainly no sounding educated and intelligent there.

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

That's right, GoldAndTanzanite3, run off to Vietnam with your gay lover(s) then . . .

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

As we've noted before, one of Obama's only weaknesses as a politician is that empathy doesn't come entirely naturally to him. He can come across -- particularly in speeches -- as almost too intellectual and too clinical, leaving people with the perception that he is at something of a remove from their struggles.

==

If sounding educated and intelligent is a political deficit then this country is probably washed up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS:

The Democrats in the Senate just voted in favor of the Motion to Table Nelson Amdt. No. 2962; to prohibit the use of Federal funds for abortions. That effectively killed any chance of pro-life Senators voting for the final bill. There's NO WAY Obamacare is passing this year!!!

Valiant Democrats who voted against killing the Amendment were Sens. Nelson and Casey, of course, David Pryor of Arkansas, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Edward Kaufman of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana. Not a surprise, RINO's and pro-abortion Maine Sens. Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, sided with Planned Parenthood abortion advocates against the Amendment. Along with Sen. Liberman's threatened filibuster for including the PUBLIC OPTION, Sen. Nelson (but not Casey) has said he would filibuster the bill because of the abortion funding it contains. WOO HOO!!!

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"If the government had simply used the funds awarded so far to pay for a year’s worth of labor, that would have paid for 2.6mn jobs!"

You know which part of the stimulus was *least* effective at creating jobs?

The tax breaks that the GOP demanded.

Remember that the next time you offer your expertise on the efficient use of government funds.

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"you people" is thinly disguised racist language.

==

If you think that then you're so thin-skinned you're a menace to yourself and to society.

Go visit your local Suicide Parlor and see how friendly the Suicide Hostesses can be.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite
-----------------------------------------
We don't have any of them new-fangled parlors in these parts. Maybe after Obamacare is implemented. What's the name of the one that you recommend for your friends and family?

Posted by: leapin | December 8, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"you people" is thinly disguised racist language.

==

If you think that then you're so thin-skinned you're a menace to yourself and to society.

Go visit your local Suicide Parlor and see how friendly the Suicide Hostesses can be.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

So you want the government to hand out shovels?

Thought you people hated government "intrusion" in the "pry-vit secter."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite
------------------------------------------
"you people" is thinly disguised racist language. Using shovels requires heavy breathing, therefore, expelling higher levels of CO2. Very harmful.I can't recommend handing out shovels.

Posted by: leapin | December 8, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

If the government had simply used the funds awarded so far to pay for a year’s worth of labor, that would have paid for 2.6mn jobs!

==

So you want the government to hand out shovels?

Thought you people hated government "intrusion" in the "pry-vit secter."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The most important number - $246,436

The efficiency of government; the speed of bureaucracy. Ladies and gentleman, your stimulus.

The Obama Administration is touting that their stimulus program has saved or created 640,329 jobs since it was enacted back in February through the end of October. This number is updated and posted on the Administration’s recovery.gov web site. That amounts to $246,436 per job
based on the $157.8bn that has been awarded so far! Total compensation earned by the average payroll employee during October, on an annualized basis, was $59,867. If the government had simply used the funds awarded so far to pay for a year’s worth of labor, that would have paid for 2.6mn jobs!

Posted by: leapin | December 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The below VIDEO - Can We Save the World Economy - should be Required watching by every thinking person, so that we and future generations will never have to experience this theft again! Speakers: George Soros, Nouriel Roubini and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Earth Institute

http://www.earth.columbia.edu/worldeconomy/

Posted by: wdsoulplane | December 8, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

What's good for America is bad for Republicans, firin' up the ol' Falsehood Machine to get people to believe things are getting worse and it's Obama's fault.
I expect the trolls to be on board with this lie, I don't expect the press to be, but they are. And that's shameful.
Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite

-----------------------------------------
Not really shameful.. The “Limit your liberty – limit your CO2” FDR – Jimmy Carter reunion tour is just cranking up.

Posted by: leapin | December 8, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

If we're done feeding Jake's need for attention and can get back on the topic for a post or two ... last month's job report showed only 11,000 jobs shed. That's not as good as it sounds because it takes over a hundred thousand jobs added just to keep up with new entries to the workforce.

But from October of last year to March this year the job losses were at 400,000 or more per month, and have been in steady decline since. We're still in terrible shape but we're pulling out of what had been potential to be a replay of the Great Depression, and none of the credit goes to the Bush administration.

But all the blame does.

What's good for America is bad for Republicans, firin' up the ol' Falsehood Machine to get people to believe things are getting worse and it's Obama's fault.

I expect the trolls to be on board with this lie, I don't expect the press to be, but they are. And that's shameful.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Looking back, thank God I was banned from MyObama.com (for simply asking honest questions). Much more would be revealed after that, to those who would see. I had no idea, back then, that he wasn't even born in Hawaii.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Funny looking back on Memory Lane (it has been almost two years), especially this Golden Oldie on the article: "Independent Voters May Give Obama Edge in Iowa" at 1/2/2008 2:37 PM EST

I am registered Independent, and was considering voting for Obama, until I was banned at his web site.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I meant HERE at "The Fix" (I probably did register in 12/07). You can also read in my profile that I am 77 years old ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that I commented on The Fix in 2007.

==

If anyone is interested this is how Jake lies: the denial of synonyms.

Jake, you said you first posted on WaPo a year ago, anyone can read your profile and see that your first comment at WaPo was in 12/07. I have no idea when you started in this blog, nor do I care.

It's so easy to catch you lying.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I just double-checked the "Full Weekly Archive" and confirmed not a single post by me December 30, 2007-January 5, 2008:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2007/12/30-week/

Perhaps you people are thinking about the fake JakeD?

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

How many months did it take the brilliant Harvard graduate to determine that tax breaks for small business might help employment? Will any tax breaks offset the taxes levied when the new employees expel too much CO2?

Posted by: leapin | December 8, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that I commented on The Fix in 2007.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

nodebris:

Before the election, 2008, was my first post here. Maybe it's better if you go back to not talking to me as well . . .

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I've only been posting at WaPo for a year, so I never claimed to be 72.

==

Your first comment here was in December 2007. This is December 2009. That's two years.

I'd say you subtracted wrong but you I'm just going to assume you're lying again. As always.

You can claim to be 72 or 77 or 90 but between the teenager stylistics and the childishness of your postings my guess is that you're around sixteen.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"I've only been posting at WaPo for a year"

Liar.

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

Did you also see the Economist Blog link (below)? There's not going to be any significant recovery before the 2010 midterms. That will give the GOP momentum going into 2012 as well (that's why I believe that YESTERDAY's "Most Important Number in Politics" was actually the most important number Mr. Cillizza has posted in the last 75 threads ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

That pessimistic perception is what President Obama must address today. He must show and prove to the American people that he and his Administration are focused on how to spur the job market, lower unemployment and get people back to work.

==

You should rename this blog to "Republican Spin Zone."

Look at the monthly job losses before the stimulus kicked in, from the peak in March to only 11,000 lost last month. The trend is entirely good, but Republicans need to maintain the perception that things are falling apart, and it's in their interests to make that perception real, and our "gracious host" seems all too eager to help.

Yeah the perception is one thing, but the perception is wrong and the wrongness is actively encouraged by liars in and supportive of the Republican Party.

It's really nauseating that what was once a major political party and lost its power to bad government wants to do even worse government to get back into power.

Might not fit the definition of treason but it's sure rotten behavior.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Be happy you were even born, Jake. Usually it's the man who pays the woman so your chances never were that good

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

This particular Gallup Poll is not aimed at the body politic but is designed for the use of investors and business managers. It is actually most instructive in telling its audience that Americans are saving more, and that spending, which has dropped, is "decoupled" from confidence, which has risen.

The "soul of the poll":

"The decoupling of economic confidence from consumer spending was evident in Gallup's economic data last week. Even as confidence increased for the week and by even more compared to a year ago, consumer spending continued to trail that of last year, by 21% -- and that during a paycheck week.
[snip]
Gallup data show confidence up slightly in early December compared to the month of November, and this should be reflected in Friday's report. Regardless, investors should not overreact to the consumer sentiment preliminary report. Not only is it based on a small number of interviews, but Gallup data show that whatever link may have existed between economic confidence and consumer spending in the past, it does not continue in 2009."

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 8, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

GoldAndTanzanite3:

I've only been posting at WaPo for a year, so I never claimed to be 72.

scrivener50:

Assuming that Obama doesn't know, but IGNORES your repeated warnings, , will YOU vote for him again?

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

TO: JakeD @ 2:46 p.m.
cc: JOHN BRENNAN, DENNIS BLAIR, THE WHITE HOUSE (staff, pls. fwd. ASAP)

Your posting assumes that President Obama is aware that multiple agencies of the federal government are involved in the deployment and use of weapons systems and technologies developed under the umbrella of "national security" to conduct what amounts to a social, ideological and physical American genocide of persons deemed to be "dissidents" or undesirables (or slandered to be such).

Your posting also assumes that President Obama and top political leaders of his administration are not the covert targets of certain elements of this program -- notably, the use of microwave and laser weapons to silently impair their functioning or influence their decision-making.

My reporting, empirical observations and personal experience indicate that such assumptions are unwarranted:

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-west-point-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR (if link is corrupted): NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "GESTAPO USA," "GOV'T TORTURES ME WITH SILENT MICROWAVE WEAPONS, SAYS EX-HONDURAS PREZ"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 8, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

So Stanford Law cum laude grad jaked is getting the monthly food basket from his church.

No comment needed.

==

We all know that everything he posts is a lie, the personal stuff most of all.

Wasn't that long ago he was claiming to be 72 but served in Korea, which means he enlisted when he was 12.

Nothing to see here but another lying dog on the Internet.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that Gov. Huckabee will run for President again.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Nobody is meaner than cons. It will be fun to watch.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

drindl:

Everyone, including Gov. Huckabee, agrees that it was a horrible decision in hindsight and that he would never had done it if he could have known the future (which is why Gov. Palin never granted a single clemency request while in office ; )

Nice try stirring the pot though.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

And wait until these two really start rippin at each other's throats -- this is gonna be fun.

"In 2000, then Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to convicted armed robber Maurice Clemmons and commuted his 108-year sentence. Clemmons had been reported to be the leading suspect in the killing of four policemen in Northwest Washington. (Last week, a police officer in Seattle shot Clemmons dead after a run-in with the ex-con.) Today in an interview with conservative radio host Lars Larson, Sarah Palin criticized Huckabee’s decision to pardon Clemmons:

“It was a bad decision obviously, but my heart goes out to Huckabee,” the former Alaska governor said of her potential 2012 GOP presidential rival during an interview Monday with conservative radio host Lars Larson. “I love him, and I feel bad for him to be in this position. But I feel even worse for the victims’ families in this situation.” [...]

“It’s absolutely tragic and just unfathomable what has happened there, and I do feel bad for Huckabee,” Palin said. “But it was a horrible decision that he made.”

While Huckabee recently expressed admiration for Palin in a recent interview, earlier this year he criticized the former Alaska governor’s botched interview with CBS’ Katie Couric. “In fact, if anything, Katie Couric was extraordinarily gentle,” Huckabee said, adding, “It was not a good interview. I’m being charitable.”

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

or the common man who is afraid to wear sweaters for fear he will look 'gay.'

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to scrivener50:

How many times are you going to give Obama the benefit of the doubt? If "directed energy" weapons systems are still in place, targeting Americans and their (supposedly?) American families on Election Day 2010, will YOU vote for him again?

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

No, what I meant was that Carter (and now Obama) live in a House, with tons of staff, fly in planes and helicopters, and ride in limos, that we taxpayers pay $2 BILLION per year -- they had no physical worry whatsoever (expect when that rabbit attacked Carter ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

MR. OBAMA, ON THE JOBS ISSUE, YOU OFFER NO 'NEW DEAL.' WHY?

Jobs and the restoration of the rule of law and civil and human rights should be Obama's top priorities -- then should come health care.

Why has Obama chosen not to embark upon an ambitious federal program to put the unemployed back to work immediately? His "trickle down" approach appears to be purposely Reaganesque. Perhaps all that "socialist" name calling has succeeded as an intimidation tactic, effectively thwarting any aggressive policy moves.

If Obama was a student of Saul Alinsky, as has been alleged by his foes, he seems to have forgotten the message and has allowed himself to be neutralized by the opposition's rhetoric (and perhaps some more sophisticated forms of "entrainment'?).

***

OBAMA WRONG AT WEST POINT: U.S. DOES TORTURE -- ITS OWN CITIZENS, SAYS VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser radiation "directed energy" weapons system, employing cell towers and satellites, to silently, invisibly torture, impair, physiologically and neurologically subjugate unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

For the rest of the story:

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-west-point-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR (if link is corrupted): NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 8, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"It connotes obliviousness to scarcity rather than a recognition of it."

Perhaps he meant that Carter was out of touch with the common man who had no sweaters to wear.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Another weakness as a politician and leader Obama has, that many people have become aware of in recent months, is he tries too often in his speeches and policies to please everyone, thereby raising the question as to what are, if any, his true principles. He also, like most politicians, makes promises to be elected, then discards many of them in less than a year after taking office.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 8, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Quote of the day from Taegan Goddard:

"I tell you, if I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I'd visit my doctor."

-- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, quoted by Politico, noting the volatility of the Gallup daily tracking poll.

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/12/08/quote_of_the_day.html

The Gallup daily tracking poll:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx

Posted by: mnteng | December 8, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I like Talibangelists. Did you make that up Will, or did I need to get out more?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

So long as one Republic Party of No comrade or their fellow travelers in the Talibangelists draws breath, they will seek to destroy America's economy.

Why? Spite, mostly.

And greed.

Posted by: WillSeattle | December 8, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

well, he's not bright, nodebris, or he wouldn't worship that silly, empty-headed tart.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

jaked almost exactly reverses the meaning of the "let them eat cake" anecdote. It connotes obliviousness to scarcity rather than a recognition of it.

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Or, how about when Jimmy Carter urged Americans to just lower our thermostats and wear sweaters? My personal favorite "Let them eat cake moment."

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers (allow me to quote someone you admire in reply):

"For those who were laid off last month and the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession, a good trend isn't good enough," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "Trends don't buy the groceries. Trends don't pay the rent or a college tuition."

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Jake, the DJIA was a little under 8000 when Obama was inaugurated, it is now at 10,250. And that gain was not built on re-financing over-valued homes.

Beside, today's fall is being linked to the rise in the value of the dollar. That sounds like good news to me.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I would consider returning full-time to The Fix IF you convince GoldAndTanzanite3 to do the same : )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Be happy to, assh*t. From now on -- you aren't worth anyone's time.

Wonder when CC will get his knickers in a knot over the GOP's constant invocation of Hitler, comparing Obama to him, hmm? Or their insane utterances regarding the health care bill? And fascism, socialism? All that demagoguing going on all around him and apparently CC never heard a word of it!

"Reid's aides weren't apologizing -- referring to the GOP's "feigned outrage" and a "ploy" to distract voters from the lack of Republican alternative.

"It is hard to believe Senate Republicans are making these charges with a straight face," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley. "For the past eight days they¹ve done nothing but obstruct health care on the Senate floor and throughout this year have played politics with this and virtually every other issue of importance to the American people.'

Reid, of course, doesn't have a monopoly on harsh pronouncements.

On Sunday, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) invoked Stalin-era Soviet prison to describe Reid's reform plan on Fox News. "It will limit people's choices to, in many cases, to a government-run program like Medicaid which is essentially a health care gulag, because people will not have any choices but to take that poorly performing government plan," he said."

Of course, now they have no choice at all, do they?

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

No = Now. Oh yeah, add katem1, JRM2, and GoldAndTanzanite3 from the last "Most Important Number in Politics" thread to my wish list as well ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

No, if I could only get drindl, koolkat_1960, and Bondosan to stop talking to me too . . .

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, DDAWD, you are one of the lucky 25% then (I am "lucky" by just getting you NOT to talk to me ; )

According to a new report from the American Psychological Association, over 75% of American adults report experiencing moderate-to-high levels of stress, mostly about money. The "leading indicators" aren't going to change enough here on the ground by October 2010.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately for them, the mainstream press has been doing a pretty good job in convincing people that a competent President would have fixed everything by now."

That's always a problem. I agree with your last point... I always deeply regret it when I do.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I do agree that Obama doesn't show the most empathy as much as say Clinton or Bush did. But Obama has pretty much spent his life inservice of the less fortunate, as opposed to someone like Bush who couldn't give a flying f*ck when my city drowned.

But again, it will all come down to jobs. It always does. Fortunately for the Democrats, they bought low. Unfortunately for them, the mainstream press has been doing a pretty good job in convincing people that a competent President would have fixed everything by now.

That being said, the leading indicators have been doing really well. The rate of job loss has been shrinking and is virtually zero. If the pattern holds up, jobs should start increasing. As the stimulus has more and more of an impact, this will stimulate more growth and lead to more jobs. The banks seem to be improving as well which means more capital which means...more jobs.

I'm a pretty pessimistic guy by nature, but I'm actually liking where things are going.

Oh, and we don't talk to JakeD.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 8, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

FarlingtonBlade - could you pull your '44' magic again? We need a reprieve, here.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank God Dems are in power again.

"The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it will focus more resources on small water systems nationwide in an effort to improve the enforcement of safe drinking water laws.

The agency will also move repeat violators to the top of the list for stricter monitoring and pay special attention to ensure children are not exposed to toxic water supplies at school drinking fountains.

The new policies were announced as the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to examine factors that have contributed to unsafe levels of lead and other contaminants in the drinking water of thousands of U.S. schools.

The hearing follows an Associated Press investigation showing that roughly one in five schools with its own water supply violated the Safe Drinking Water Act within the past decade.

"Protecting children's health is a high priority," said Peter Silva, assistant administrator for water at the EPA. "To make any real difference, we know we must assist the small systems, because 96 percent of all health-based violations occur at systems serving less than 10,000 people."

But who could be against clean water in schools? Why, Inhofe, of course, who is trying to kill this.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Not that it's terribly important, but the Dow is down about 96 at the moment. I'll save my attention for more important indices, such as the S&P 500 (down 0.83%) and Russell 3000 (up 1.38%).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 8, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

This is the equivalent of asking a patient how he feels after a heart attack and he's been stabilized. Like he11 is the answer. It doesn't mean that the treatment is appropriate.

No "I feel your pain" speech can possibly alter these opinions. Only real improvement in the economy will do that. Job losses have stabilized, but millions of people have lost their jobs. So, I do hope that there are some measures announced today, but government is not going to be the source of jobs.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 8, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the former Governor of Alaska:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/12/sarah-palin-barack-obama-poll-gap-narrows.html

Seems as if our gracious host was spot-on regarding yesterday's "Most Important Number in Politics" too : )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

drindl:

You mean the racist (who voted for an African-American last time around, Alan Keyes), sexist (who supports a woman next time, Sarah Palin), jerk-as*?

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

What a racist, sexist, jerk-as*.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960:

Republicans have argued that Obama cannot simply tap into the extra TARP money, which should be returned to the Treasury. They have also vowed to fight a second economic stimulus plan. All of that sounds like "common sense" conservatism to me. As always, YMMV.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

LOL, drindl, ANY church member (regardless of income) can get the discounted food basket. Don't you worry your little head about it.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

By 'story teller' you mean 'liar', I presume, margaret?

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Bondosan:

We're not hurting like most Americans. Thanks for the advice though.

margaretmeyers:

Are you claiming that the Dow Jones did not fall to 10,251 this morning? I can give you the exact time. Wanna bet that the market loses AT LEAST a hundred more points after Obama speaks?

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"They are handing out $100 food baskets for $25 to anyone, even Harvard or Yalies. More money for greens fees : )"

Jesus, he's an even bigger scumbag than I thought... and that's saying a lot. Hope the poor kids whom you are takinig food away from break into your house and steal everything you have, you nasty old geezer.

Disgusting and repellent. But typical 'conservative'.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Look, I'm glad all you people with access to the Internet, and enough leisure time to post here, think that the economy is just fine. That attitude is exactly what shot down McCain for the final time. The rest of us REAL Americans know the truth. 2010 midterms, here we come.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Jake:

It is in America's interests to help underprivileged folks buy homes and invest in their communities. (Remember George W. Bush's "ownership society"?)

What was not in America's interests were the bizarre derivatives and other exotic financial instruments that helped fuel and propel the housing bubble to insane levels.

Bundling mortgages together and selling them at wildly profitable prices to far flung financial institutions is something that comes about when folks have been taught that "deregulation" (in other words, doing away with the rules) is best.

And Jake, if you're accepting charity from your church, shouldn't you be cutting down on golf and posting online and get yourself a part time job? Walmart could always use some more greeters.

And you might also consider selling the boat and stop making frivolous trips to heckle Professor Gates....

Posted by: Bondosan | December 8, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Bondosan, you are forgetting the Corvette story. That was my favorite story from Jake. Or maybe it was the one about him taking all his money out of the stock market when it was super-smart to do it. It's hard to decide. he's such a good story teller.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"ALL the economic data is ticking upwards"?! Although November was a good month for the DJIA, it is off from the high of 10,471. This morning, the Dow Jones sank to 10,251.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Interesting data from the CNN poll. From March to now, the percentage of respondents saying that "the economy" is the most important issue facing the country dropped from 63% to 40% (!), with concomitant rises in "health care", "the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan", and "the federal budget deficit".

Also, about half the respondents thought that the economy is stabilizing -- relatively unchanged since March.

Posted by: mnteng | December 8, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Mostly this seems to indicate that consumer confidence is lagging slightly behind positive movement in the stock market, the unemployment numbers and the value of the dollar. That sounds normal. The Gallup page Fix links to shows that all the economic data is indeed ticking upwards.

Where does Gallup find all these people who think Recessions are recovered from in 9 months? We've had Recessions, one after the other, ever since the mid 70's so I can't be the only person who knows that this process takes time.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

They are handing out $100 food baskets for $25 to anyone, even Harvard or Yalies. More money for greens fees : )

As for the "Republican Party of No" denouncing Obama's plans, too bad you didn't read the WaPo article today:

"Obama has set out to tackle both concerns [deficit and unemployment], though he is not expected to detail programs or precise spending figures in his speech at the Brookings Institution."

Too little, too late.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

So Stanford Law cum laude grad jaked is getting the monthly food basket from his church.

No comment needed.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 8, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

No, Bondosan, I was not aware that Bill Clinton, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were REPUBLICANS since they were the ones pushing for unsustainable home loans to poor people. I am glad that YOU are doing well, but most people are not. Yes, I am retired, and indeed doing better than most retirees, but I am still getting the monthy food basket from our local church.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Other numbers of the day:

From Quinnipiac:
57 (% public support for war in Afghanistan)
45 (% approval for BHO's handling of Afghanistan)
58 (% approval of "surge")
60 (% approval of withdrawal date)

From PPP:
38 (% approval of Lindsey Graham by SC Ds)
34 (% disapproval of Lindsey Graham by SC Rs)
44 (% approval of DeMint in SC)

Posted by: mnteng | December 8, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"...please donate to charities helping the rest of us."

Um...Jake?

I actually am doing better than last year (I work for a fairly enlightened company, decent raises, decent bonuses), and I make healthy charitable contributions every year.

But weren't you the guy with the boat, who spends most of his time on the links?

(Oh, wait...you're also a Korean War vet and you also protested outside of Henry Louis Gates' house....)

You realize the this economic mess was brought on by the "deregulation" pushed for decades by Republicans, right?

So I expect you'll be voting Democratic for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Bondosan | December 8, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

bsimon -- frustrating, isn't it -- to watch the Beltway media sing the same old republican song every day?

CC is intentionally overlooking the fact that a year ago, 8 OUT OF 10 voters thought the economic situation was deteriorating, so this is a distinct improvement.

But he would never write about that. Here's a good example of the inanity and mediocrity of the Beltway Media:

'In a little-noticed aside during last week’s jobs forum, President Obama criticized the media for focusing on trivial issues, specifically targeting some in the White House press corps who interviewed him during his trip to China. “Not one of them asked me about Asia. Not one of them asked me about the economy,” Obama said. “I was asked several times about had I read Sarah Palin’s book.” Obama laughed. “True!"

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Yep. BHO is not empathetic at all.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/11/12/2009-11-12_my_solemn_surprise_meeting_with_the_president_at_my_friends_resting_place.html

Perhaps you should consider that BHO intends to come across as intellectual and clinical to contrast himself with the previous Occupant's penchant for emotion and gut-feelings.

Posted by: mnteng | December 8, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Don't look for this number to move any time soon. The economic mood follows job prospects. December isn't typically a big month for hiring, so we shouldn't anticipate positive movement in the unemployment rate for Dec. Companies may start hiring in Jan or Feb, if you believe the leading indicators that show low inventories & a slight uptick in manufacturing data. Here in MN, for instance, the taconite mines are beginning to call workers back from layoffs. The tac companies feed the steel companies, which feed manufacturers of things like cars and appliance. So, if poll respondents' responses are driven by the unemployment situation, we might start seeing this number improve in March or April, when the jobs data for Jan and Feb are announced.

Watch for Repubs to ignore any good news on the economy, in their efforts to blame the Dems / current administration. Come July & August, they're going to be making statements the inverse of the ones they made in 2008 when they were in denial about the deteriorating economy ("The economy is fundamentally sound"). Voters are going to realize what an unmitigated disaster it would be to elect such a bunch of partisan hacks that are out of touch with real people's lives & the Dems collect a third wave win. Inside the Beltway pundits are caught offguard, again, wondering how they could continue to get it so wrong.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Of course 39% say that economic conditions are "continuing to worsen" and that the country remains in a "downturn" because HALF OF THEM are still out of work!!! The fact that the unemployment rate went from 10.2% to 10% (REAL unemployment is closer to 20%) is little consolation to feeding their families, let alone buying Christmas gifts. If you are one of the few doing better this year than last year, please donate to charities helping the rest of us.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The Republican Party of No will denounce his plans even before they know what those plans are.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 8, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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