November 6, 2010

AP’s Liz ‘Sore Loser’ Sidoti: GOP Counted on ‘Lagging Recovery’ For Comeback from 2008 Debacle

Liz_sidotiDarn. If only the midterm elections had been held after Friday’s Employment Situation Report instead of before, the results might have been very different.

Apparently that’s what the Associated Press’s Liz Sidoti (pictured at right) wants us to believe, as she ended her borderline bitter take on the origins of Congressional Republicans’ successful electoral comeback and takeover of the House of Representatives four days ago with this sentence:

Ten months later (after Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate race victory in Massachusetts — Ed.), victorious Republicans met to plan their transition to power in the House – just as it was announced that the economy created 151,000 jobs.

As if one good jobs-added number — even with the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6% — proves that the economic recovery is finally in high gear. Zheesh.

Along the way, Sidoti sought to create the impression that Republicans might have been rooting for the poor to non-existent economic recovery that has occurred — as opposed to knowing that the history of large-scale stimulus-based recovery efforts has been one of failure, despite the AP reporter’s lipstick-on-a-pig attempt in the last two of the excerpted paragraphs that follow:

GOP comeback strategy factored in lagging recovery

All but wiped out in 2008, Republicans groping for a comeback strategy determined there would be no swift return to economic health under incoming President Barack Obama.

They soon also agreed privately to oppose his major legislation.

Over the next two years, they criticized, attacked, voted against and then attacked some more as Democrats struggled to pass an economic stimulus measure, health care legislation and a bill to rein in Wall Street. Unemployment, 7.4 percent when Obama took office, soared to 10.1 percent, then barely budged for months.

On Election Day, those calculations made in Republican suites in the Capitol reaped dividends that must have seemed almost unimaginable even to the architects of their strategy: a gain of 60-plus House seats, enough to win a majority and end two years of Democratic dominance in Congress, as well as six new seats in the Senate.

… Many economists agree the economic stimulus, with its combination of tax cuts, aid to states and federal spending on construction and other areas, did create jobs. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress in July that “we should maintain our stimulus in the short term” to strengthen the recovery and help reduce unemployment.

It was not a point Republicans chose to acknowledge.

This is funny. After almost two years of enduring the hogwash over jobs “created and saved” — a phrase that was never used by Democrats and stimulus fans until after Barack Obama was safely elected (noted in December 2008 at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) — Sidoti’s “many economists” (i.e., “economists whose opinion I like”) insist that the stimulus created (some) jobs. By how many, Liz, and of what duration?

Reporter Ryan Kost at Sidoti’s own news organization sharply jabbed at the Obama administration’s stimulus-related jobs-created claim in July:

At the federal level, President Barack Obama has said the federal stimulus has created 150,000 jobs, a number based on a misused formula and which is so murky it can’t be verified.

The “misused formula” is known as “Okun’s Law.” It says that “for every percentage point that the unemployment rate falls, real GNP (GNP is now called “GDP” — Ed.) rises by 3 percent.” The trouble is that the late economist “cautioned that the law was good only within the range of unemployment rates—3 to 7.5 percent—experienced in that time period.” The unemployment rate was already about 8.2% in February 2009 when the president signed the stimulus bill.

In any event, 150,000 jobs is only about 2% of the 8 million jobs lost since the end of 2007. Republicans “chose not to acknowledge” the supposed good effects of the stimulus because they were at best insubstantial and at worst totally made up.

Sidoti leans one more time on economists she likes later in her piece:

Republicans correctly foresaw that unemployment would rise, and that if the economy remained weak, Obama and Democrats would get little or no credit from the voters for having stopped a near collapse. The GOP would not have fared so well if voters had agreed with leading economists who said things would have been much worse without those actions, or if Obama’s economic fixes had hastened the recovery.

Peter Raymond, in a marvelous piece at American Thinker, has an appropriate response to this claptrap:

… these same charlatans credit the recent multi-trillion-dollar spending orgy with preventing a depression even though they cannot produce a shred of evidence that it yielded any sustainable economic growth or created a single long-term job.

Sidoti does her best to portray GOP opposition to the president’s initiatives as a Hail Mary pass flying in the face of proven conventional wisdom about how to fix and economy instead of as a reasonable strategy based on that conventional wisdom’s utterly predictable failure. Nice try, Liz. Epic fail.

Cross-posted at



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  2. Excellent takedown.

    Another point that makes nonsense out of her argument is that we had better ADP reports earlier in the year, long before Election Day Midterms.

    The real problem for Liz is that the economies “recovery” is shallow, weak and mixed, and not to mention unimpressive compared to how we rebounded out of previous recessions.

    Whatever recovery that there is, it’s because of the inevitably of what goes down coming back up (although in this climate, it’s ability to do so will be limited and forcibly held back) and that individuals and business have adjusted as best they can to the hand POR dealt them. It’s not due to Obama and his “stimulus” schemes.

    Comment by zf — November 7, 2010 @ 12:53 am

  3. It’s also an interesting case of Projection.

    The 2006 elections were partly based on the price of gas (economic issue) that had risen with the Democrats promise to lower it. (They broke that promise btw) The 2008 elections were rooted in the growing mortgage and banking debacle which btw the Democrats created via Chuck Schumer who caused on the run on Indy Bank starting the dominos to TARP and their refusal to deal with the mortgage crisis when it was still managable when Bush brought it up repeatedly (2001 on).

    Comment by dscott — November 7, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  4. Very interesting reading, I agree with much of it and have been warning about this for the last two years:

    Comment by dscott — November 8, 2010 @ 2:33 am

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