July 4, 2014

CNN’s Tom Cohen Baffled by the Obama Popularity ‘Disconnect,’ Holds Real Answers Until the Very End

A prominent exhibit explaining why the nation’s trust in its media establishment has dropped to precipitous lows would likely include Tom Cohen’s Thursday afternoon column at CNN expressing befuddlement over President Barack Obama’s unpopularity.

After all, Cohen’s headline crows that under Obama we have “more jobs” and “less war” (!), so there’s a “disconnect” which must be explained. To give you an idea of how pathetic his attempt is, he managed not to mention any form of the words “immigration,” “scandal,” or “contraction” (as in, the first-quarter decline in GDP) while pretending to present a complete analysis. Meanwhile, one of CNN’s embedded headline links to another story (“Obama to Republicans: ‘So sue me’“) openly mocks Cohen, doing a better job of explaining the “disconnect” in six words than anything he wrote in his first 37 paragraphs. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):

More jobs, less war, low polls: the Obama disconnect

Which one of these doesn’t fit? More jobs, a record stock market, wars ending and dismal poll numbers.

All apply to Barack Obama’s presidency as it passes the 2,000-day mark, raising questions about the viability of what used to be known as conventional political wisdom.

A strengthening economy and robust stock market traditionally mean general public satisfaction with government. Bringing soldiers home from war zones has always boosted presidential popularity.
Not this time with this President.

Why the disconnect? A convergence of factors — uneven economic growth, government crises both real and exaggerated, foreign policy problems, hyper-partisan Washington politics now on election-year steroids [1] — helps explain it.

Another strong jobs report Thursday added to growing evidence that U.S. economy has hit its full stride after the recession Obama inherited [2] when he took office in January 2009.

… However, (CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine) Romans noted that a low labor force participation rate showed many people “have simply just left the labor market.” Those out of the labor market for more than a year still have trouble finding jobs, so little has changed for them, she said, adding: “It’s not all unicorns and rainbows.”

As a Democrat, Obama stands to benefit less from a healthy stock market than a Republican president from the party more traditionally tied to the banking-investment sector. [3]

Obama campaigned twice on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wars started by his predecessor, and he is on track to fulfill that promise. [4]

…  “He sort of looks like a kid on the playground who’s hiding, saying, ‘Forget it, I’m not playing with you guys anymore,’” (Brown University political scientist Wendy) Schiller told CNN, adding that “even though it can be explained, the concept of a president giving up doesn’t sit well with people.” [5]

The excerpted material above only identifies a small portion of Cohen’s ludicrous collection of assertions.


[1] — Cohen — in my opinion deliberately — didn’t mention the most plausible explanation (see [5] below) why Obama may have reached a point of no return with nearly half, and possibly a majority, of the American people.

[2] — In Cohen’s world, it’s as if the U.S. economy’s annualized first-quarter contraction of 2.9 percent never happened. The economy added 569,000 jobs in the first quarter, but somehow managed to seriously contract. Who’s to say that it can’t add about 816,000 jobs (the current tentative total) and turn in another contraction?

JPMorgan Chase thinks that a net contraction for the first half of 2014 is probable, even with job growth, as it slashed its full-year 2014 growth forecast to 1.4 percent:

The contrast between weak GDP growth and strong job growth in 1H14 only intensified this week. Real GDP growth in 1Q14 was -2.9% saar (seasonally adjusted annual rate — Ed.), and we are reducing our forecast for 2Q14 to 2.5% (from 3.0%). Real GDP appears to have contracted in the first half. At the same time, payroll employment averaged 231,000 in 1H14, the strongest six-month run of job growth in the expansion to date. The obvious result is a sharp decline in productivity in 1H14 and a surge in 1H14 unit labor cost estimated at about 5% saar.

As I wrote elsewhere on Thursday, “If workers collectively produce less, it doesn’t matter how many of them there are. GDP will still decline.”

Also note that five years after the recession officially ended and 5-1/2 years after Obama took office, Cohen still feels the need to backhandedly blame Bush for “the recession Obama inherited,” and to claim that the economy’s poor performance ties back to it. What nonsense. Obama owns the economy’s poor performance, which is in many respects barely better than what the nation saw during the mid-1930s.

[3] — Bill Clinton will get a kick out of Cohen’s assertion that a strong stock market doesn’t help a Democratic president. Throughout 1998 and 1999, Cohen’s colleagues constantly used the strongly performing stock market as an argument against impeaching Clinton over trifling things like perjury and obstruction of justice.

[4] — Only a delusional establishment press reporter could equate the withdrawal of U.S. troops with the ending of wars. Obama is not on track to ending the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, where the Taliban and ISIS, respectively, have clearly made major, game-changing gains.

[5] — Aha. Finally, nearly 40 paragraphs in, Cohen got to the meat of the matter. Obama doesn’t seem to care whether anything gets done any more. He’s at least tried to act concerned about genuine crises before. Now his apathy is palpable, and offensive to all but his most partisan defenders. As an example, he’s in Texas for three fundraisers this weekend, but will not visit the border or otherwise observe the child-immigrant nightmare his unilaterally imposed policies have created.

In the Wall Street Journal this afternoon, Peggy Noonan — who, it should never be forgotten, fell for this guy in 2008 (yes, this was an endorsement) — observed the following about Obama’s indifference:

He thinks he is in line with the arc of history, that America, for all its stops and starts, for all the recent Supreme Court rulings, has embarked in the long term on governmental and cultural progressivism. Thus in time history will have the wisdom to look back and see him for what he really was: the great one who took every sling and arrow, who endured rising unpopularity, the first black president and the only one made to suffer like this.

That’s what he’s doing by running out the clock: He’s waiting for history to get its act together and see his true size.

Obama is content to let the “achievements” of his first two unchallenged years continue to do their damage, and to let his bureaucracy and executive orders fill in the gaps where needed until (we hope) January 2017. A significant portion of American people has figured this out, which is why Brown’s Wendy Schiller observed that 45% of the public automatically opposes Obama “no matter what, whether racism or ideology or both.” (You just knew she’d play the passive-aggressive race card, didn’t you?) Obvously, race has nothing to do with the items raised in Note [5] — except as protective armor which Obama and his acolytes obviously believe completely shields him against impeachment.

Tom Cohen’s whose LinkedIn page laughably boasts of his “strategic vision and the ability to explain complex issues through clear, compelling stories.”

Maybe somewhere else, Tom, but it certainly didn’t happen in this column.

I should also note that Cohen was among those who a year ago were trying to claim that the IRS targeting scandal was unimportant with no evidence of political conspiracy.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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