Saturday, February 04, 2012

What's Wrong With Our Nation's Political Commentary

David Brooks edition:
AUDIE CORNISH: So this is the lowest unemployment rate since the month after President Obama took office. David, let me start with you. At what point, does this downward trend actually make a difference to voters or scare Republican candidates?

DAVID BROOKS: I already think it has made a difference. If you look at the president's numbers, they've been up last couple months. I think that's largely the slowly growing economy. This will certainly help. And so I think it's tremendous news. It's especially good because it's not the result of any big stimulus spending by the government. It's the result of the business cycle finally beginning to turn around. And so it really should be heartening for the administration and really challenging for Romney or whoever the Republican is, that he can't just coast on a bad economy.

He just can't coast with a bunch of campaign events where he quotes "America the Beautiful." He actually has to get a little more substantive. And so it should be a prompt for Romney to be a little more aggressive on substance.
For a little bit of background here, again from David Brooks:
The extent to which a president is responsible for the economy under his watch -- we should emphasize this. It will help him politically, but it's completely bogus. Presidents do not control the economy under their watch. They can have a marginal impact in extraordinary circumstances. But it has to do with a lot more complicated things then they are responsible for.

And that is true with Obama. That's true with Bush. It's true probably with Herbert Hoover, that presidents do not correlate in the short term with economic quarterly-by-quarterly performance.
In other words, David Brooks sees it as good news for the President that he may be entering an election in which he can claim credit for an economic turnaround, even though Brooks gives him little to no credit for that turnaround. And Brooks sees it as bad news for Mitt Romney that he's likely to be campaigning in a rising economy, such that he has to address the actual issues of the day instead of engaging in demagoguery about how we would all be living in oceanfront mansions (at least, those of us he cares about) but for President Obama's failure to revive the economy. Bad news for Romney: Instead of coasting through the election season on an express or implied lie, he'll have to deal with reality.

Because if there's one thing we can count on, it's that commentators like David Brooks won't be pointing out the lies during the campaign. The horse race, embellishments and prevarications are more interesting than the facts.

As my comments above indicate, this is not a problem with an individual commentator - it's a problem with mass media political commentary and analysis in general. In terms of finding an example, David Brooks isn't necessarily better or worse than his average peer, but he represents the low hanging fruit.

1 comment:

  1. It's no surprise that David Brooks is pushing the line that the President's policies didn't help the economy, as that's the position the Republican Party has to take in the upcoming election. He seems to be laying a foundation for Mitt Romney to point to factors other than the President, such as this nonsense.