Such is the lot of the White House press secretary that he will stick to the White House line, no matter how dumb it sounds. Robbert Gibbs was up at bat on Thursday and went down swinging. In the process he pointed out just how untenable the White House spin is. The Hill reported:
Despite losing almost a half-million jobs in June, the economy is showing signs of recovery, the White House said Thursday.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president joins the American people in being “impatient for results” as Republicans are howling that Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan has done nothing to halt job losses.
“There’s a sense that beginnings of stabilization are taking hold, and hopefully the worst job loss is behind us,” Gibbs said, adding the president was “deeply disappointed by the continued job loss” as the national unemployment rate moved up to 9.5 percent.
Gibbs said he “absolutely” believes that number is “definitely headed to 10 percent.”
[. . .]
Under intense fire from Republicans who have questioned from the beginning whether the stimulus plan would work, Gibbs said flatly Thursday that “the stimulus plan is working.”
We are recovering. But unemployment is getting worse. And the stimulus is definitely working. Got it? It sounds like they haven’t a clue what to do and don’t want to admit they have been concocting a disaster. And we shouldn’t pick on Gibbs. The president and the rest of the administration are no better:
President Obama on Wednesday told a town-hall meeting that the stimulus has “done its job.” But Mr. [Jared] Bernstein on Thursday offered a more cautious view. Monthly job losses aren’t as bad as they were from December to March, when payrolls were trimmed by more than 600,000, Mr. Bernstein said. “That’s not a success story — mission not accomplished,” he said on Fox Business Channel, but “the worst is behind us.”
Except that unemployment is going to ten percent.
It is quite reminiscent of the White House predicament on Iraq before the successful implementation of the surge. In both cases, the White House’s denial of reality and double talk only contribute to the sense that the president is cut off from reality and too stubborn to change course. To his credit, George W. Bush did recognize it wasn’t working and turned things around. Will Obama? Well, first he would have to admit that what he’s tried so far hasn’t “done its job.”