Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, August 06, 2004
 
"Turning the Corner"
When it comes to creating jobs for American workers, we're turning the corner and not going back.

-- President George W. Bush, Davenport, IA, August 4, 2004


In the words of George Shultz (himself chanelling Al Smith): "Let's look at the record," shall we?
  • The Labor Department said the economy added 32,000 jobs in July, compared with the 240,000 median forecast of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

  • Bloomberg's report goes on to quote Lacy Hunt, executive vice president and chief economist at Hoisington Investment Management Co. in Austin, Texas, which oversees $3.3 billion of Treasuries. ``There's been misplaced optimism in the strength of this economy."

  • Briefing.com calls today's report "unfathomably poor," and also calls attention to the trend: "total private service producing payrolls edged just 14K higher from 76K in June and 280K in April.

  • Mr. President, I think I speak for most American workers when I look at your economic policies and the state of our economy and say: Please, go back! For the love of God, go back!

    POSTSCRIPT: The George Shultz piece I linked to above (an argument that Bush inherited a recession and is bequeathing prosperity) contained a pretty significant error in logic that renders its conclusion moot. Brad DeLong debunks it here...


    Thursday, August 05, 2004
     
    A Little Light With That Heat, Please? He-said, she-said journalism at its worst was on display in this morning's NY Times coverage of the dueling Bush-Kerry campaign events in Davenport, IA:
    There were dueling crowd counts as well. Ms. Cutter told reporters that Mr. Bush's campaign had predicted a crowd of 10,000 for him and had drawn only 3,000, while Bush aides put the president's audience at 13,000.
    I don't expect reporters from the NY Times to stand in a field in Davenport, IA counting the audience for a Bush rally, but in a case where the competing claims differ by a factor of more than four, it would seem reasonable to ask a reporter to provide some independent information that could shed some light on who's telling the truth -- or at least quote a cop or someone who might.

    My suspicion, and motive for posting this, is that the Kerry campaign's estimate was closer to the truth, and the reporters involved simply did not want to explicitly call the Bush campaign a pack of liars on a matter so inconsequential -- even though the President's credibility generally is increasingly emerging as a significant issue in this campaign. But I'll keep an open mind until I can try and find a definitive account...

    UPDATE: WQAD (Davenport is one of Iowa's "Quad Cities," get it?) describes a crowd of "thousands" of Bush supporters, which sounds closer to the Kerry campaign's claim of 3,000 than Bush's 13,000, but still not conclusive.


     
    Finding No Fault For possibly the first time ever, I find myself convinced that former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan is telling the unvarnished truth. In the Wall Street Journal this morning, she announced that she will be taking a three-month unpaid leave from her position as a columnist to volunteer for the Bush campaign:
    I'm going to give whatever advice and encouragement I have in terms of strategy, approach, message--I hate that word--and issues. No one has asked me to do this, and I do it as a volunteer, not for a salary but simply to give my time to help what I think is the more helpful side. [emphasis added]

    I will leave it to MIA's readers to decide whether no one asked her to do it because they believed that her value to the ticket would be maximized by continuing to write pro-Bush columns in the newspaper without formally being on staff, or whether it was because they believed that her increasingly insular and self-referential (and reverential!) speaking and writing style would be almost worthless to our down-to-earth President as he embarks upon his re-election battle.