Republicans anxious to close the deal on the midterm elections that would cede control of the Senate got some help yesterday from an unexpected source. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post explains:
President Obama was at Northwestern University on Thursday to deliver an economic speech that, he and his team hoped, would lay out the case for why the public is better off today than they were six years ago — even if they didn’t feel it in their everday [sic] lives. Instead, Obama just gave every Republican ad-maker in the country more fodder for negative ads linking Democratic candidates to him.
Here are the four sentences that will draw all of the attention (they come more than two thirds of the way through the speech): “I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” Boil those four sentences down even further and here’s what you are left with: “Make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”
You can imagine Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas or Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina or Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky grimacing when they heard those 28 words. That trio has spent much of the campaign insisting that this election is NOT about Barack Obama, that it is instead about a choice between themselves and their opponents.
It was a blunder that only a rank amateur would make. But it’s not the only mistake Obama made yesterday. His biggest mistake was attempting to defend his economic record, which George Will analyzed as follows on “Special Report with Bret Baier” last night:
The president went to the state of Illinois to brag about the economy. Illinois has 300,000 fewer jobs than it had in 2008. For the last four years in the state of Illinois, the number of new food stamp recipients has increased twice as fast as the number of new job recipients. He was speaking in Illinois on a college campus. He did not mention that 40 percent of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed — that is, in jobs that don’t require college degrees — and one in three recent college graduates is living at home with their parents.
Now, the president, we just heard, disparage trickle-down economics while bragging about doubling the stock market value. He is practicing trickle-down economics by doubling the stock market. He, and, for six years now, and most recently under his choice to be head of the Fed, Janet Yellen, have had zero interest rates, the intended effect of which is to drive people out of bonds and into assets like farm land, but particularly into stocks. That is why this has been a boon to the 10 percent of Americans who own 80 percent of all the directly owned stocks. And this is why 95 percent of the wealth created in the last six years have gone to the dreaded top one percent.