Election 2012: Mislead. Reframe. Repeat

A new super PAC ad shows that facts still have little to do with the GOP's case against Obama.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

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In a report titled “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Investment Plan,” economists Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein — members of Obama’s transition team — explained the necessity of the stimulus plan. The chart that has set everyone buzzing is this:

The chart was a prediction as to how the stimulus plan would work and curb unemployment. This was not a promise made by Obama, but instead a prediction by economists that was connected to the implementation of the stimulus package and based on what many believed to be the state of the economy in early January 2009.

In January 2009, America lost 598,000 jobs. In February 2009: 651,000. And March 2009? 741,000. By April 2009, we were at an 8.5 percent unemployment rate. The economists’ predictions had already been blown out of the water simply because of the economic horrors that the Obama administration walked into.

Can anyone genuinely say that Obama had failed America by April 2009? Don’t answer that. Many folks were trying to claim that by February 2009. But all of this highlights the frustration that’s causing much of the tension in this election cycle.

Is the case against Obama fair?

Now, if you’re anti-war and anti-drone, then yes. Your critiques of Obama can be argued strongly. Not everyone will agree, but there is a solid argument. However, the case being made by the Republicans isn’t based on any of that. It’s based on the narrative that the president is an incompetent despot changing the very fabric of America — and if he’s not stopped, we will be living in a Soviet Union-style country in a matter of years.

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