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Dewey for President!

Another month, another lousy jobs report. The June report out this morning is no worse than the May report that was considered a disaster for the Obama re-election effort, but it’s no better either. Unemployment stayed the same at 8.2 percent, but the broader measure that includes part-time workers who would prefer full-time work ticked up a notch from 14.8 percent to 14.9. While the economy created an average of 226,000 jobs a month in the first quarter, it created only 75,000 a month in the second.

Just how dismal has been the recovery that began way back in June 2009, in the Obama administration’s earliest days, is graphically (quite literally) demonstrated in an interactive chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. George W. Bush owns the recession (fairly or unfairly), but the Obama administration owns this dismal recovery lock, stock, and barrel.

Four more months of reports like these (the November report will be issued only four days before the election) and it gets hard to see how Obama can win. No president since FDR has won re-election with numbers this bad. And FDR was a master politician. Obama is not.

But then, neither, it seems, is Mitt Romney. As Jeffrey Lord, political director in the Reagan White House, writes in The American Spectator, he is beginning to look disturbingly like Tom Dewey. Dewey ran against a deeply unpopular president who was widely regarded as just not up to the job (“to err is Truman”). Everyone knew Dewey just couldn’t lose. And yet, for reasons Lord enumerates, he managed to do exactly that in the most famous upset in American political history.

Obama is increasingly unpopular and widely regarded as not up to the job. But the Democratic Party is not fractured as it was in 1948, with Henry Wallace running to Truman’s left and Strom Thurmond to his right in the then-solid South. Truman did not have the media totally in the tank for him as most of it is for Obama. So Obama will be a lot tougher to beat than Truman. So why model a campaign on Dewey’s? That’s like modeling a ship on the Titanic because everyone knew it was unsinkable. Memo to the Romney campaign: It sank.

 



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