Try to keep a straight face when you hear this: President Barack Obama isn’t getting enough media love.
That’s the world view of MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews – at least when it comes to the economy. According to Matthews, there has been a plethora of positive economic news – from a stock market that has shrugged off the threat of bad liberal policy, i.e. cap-and-trade or ObamaCare, to the actions of newly reappointed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of pumping liquidity into the economy.
“What do you make of this whole thing about the good economic news out there the president gets no credit for?” Matthews said on his Aug. 25 show. “I’m in the stock market. I have suffered like others before and I have seen this comeback – back up to almost 10,000 now. He gets nothing for this. The fact that consumer confidence, which was once closer to the bone, is way up. The fact that the Fed chair has done such a good job in pumping up the money supply and pumping back the economy, and averting a Great Depression – no credit.”
There is some question as to whether or not consumer confidence is an economic or more of a psychological indicator, despite Matthews’ willingness to celebrate a bump in it. However, as Anne Kornblut of The Washington Post explained to Matthews, Obama will get credit when there is more certainty with the direction of the economy, as some contend things are still tenuous, despite the “Hardball” host’s economic triumph declaration.
“Well, I don’t know if he gets no credit, but I do think people are kind of a lagging indicator, people’s feelings about their job security, about their portfolios,” Kornblut said. “I mean, it takes a while for people to really feel like that’s secure. And additionally you’re sort of proving a negative here. I mean they’re saying what we did is – it could have been a lot worse. We don’t know how bad it would have been had we not done all this. There’s actually no way for them to demonstrate that. There’s no way for people to feel it. People only feel the pain they really feel.”
Matthews credited Obama and the Democrats in Congress’ Keynesian approach, with the stimulus passed earlier this year as the focal point of what helped things turn around.
“Well, anybody who studies economics, Jonathan, knows that we are still suffering from a huge drop in consumer spending, a huge drop in investment by business, that had to be offset by an increase in government spending and it was,” Matthews said. “And however sloppy it was, it seems to have done the trick of keeping us out of a Great Depression.”
Jonathan Martin of Politico had to explain to Matthews the flaws of his logic – at least as it pertains to politics and that hanging one’s hat too high on averting what could have been isn’t a winner.
“Chris, to Anne’s point, nobody in the history of politics, you know, has ever won a campaign based on a slogan of it could haven a lot worse,” Martin said. “That’s a tough argument to make. The fact is, look, I think the president reappointing Bernanke today to me says that he sees light at the end of this tunnel. If he was still concerned – if President Obama was still concerned about the state of this economy, he would not have ratified one of the sort of chief faces of the current administration, of the current sort of economic status quo.”
Matthews blamed the Democratic Party for not capitalizing on what he perceives as a grand achievement and reiterated his contention Obama just isn’t getting enough credit.
“The failure of the Democratic Party to unite in voice is so powerful,” Matthews continued. “They argue over whether he’s doing enough or not enough on this or that. There’s no sort of chorus out there for this guy, in terms of the horrible challenge he faced coming in January 20, what he’s done with it. He gets no credit for the stimulus package, passing it. Despite the fact that the evidence is it’s working to offset, again, a Great Depression.”