It’s unclear who the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee will be or what will be the party’s leading issue, but it’s becoming clear that the standard bearer not be able to borrow Bill Clinton’s famous focus – “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Given the Labor Department’s March jobs report, Republicans might not want to focus on the economy. It is going quite well even as the economies of China, Russia, Japan and Europe struggle.
Here’s how the New York Times reported on the state of the economy following the report of 215,000 jobs added in March:
“Companies have been hiring in recent months at a pace not seen before in this century. Wages are rising faster than inflation. Joblessness is hovering near the low levels last reached in 2007 before the economy’s downturn. And perhaps most significantly, the army of unemployed people who gave up and dropped out of the job market is not only looking for work, but actually finding it.”
There is still a ways to go before the recovery reaches all corners of the economy and a president has limited control over the rise and fall of a national economy. Nonetheless the latest description hardly fits the economy Republican leaders projected. They predicted so many “job killing” moves by the president through his policies and programs – especially “Obamacare” – and his “war on coal” and other industries that legions of Americans would now be on the streets with tin cups.
As recently as last December, Ed Rogers, a Republican consultant and former White House political aide to President Reagan, wrote in the Washington Post: “This affirmatively anti-business White House has become the new normal for the Democratic party. Given the Democrats onerous regulations on business everywhere, the approximately $82 trillion in new debt under Obama, the punitive measures instituted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the president’s dismissive attitude toward entrepreneurs and free enterprise generally, it’s no wonder the economy is stagnant, job growth is weak and much of the middle class is looking for radical change.”
This is what actually happened. Obama took office with an economy in flames thanks to the feckless oversight of his predecessor. He’s leaving with the economy hitting full stride as the rest of the world economies stumble. And while big business suffered hurt feelings from Obama’s “dismissive attitude,” the Dow Jones Industrial average has climbed from 7,949 on the day of Obama’s inauguration to 17,737 on Monday. Corporate profits during his tenure have climbed by 166 percent.