In 1992, Bill Clinton ran for president against the “worst economy in 50 years” and a recession he blamed on Reagan-Bush economic policies. The problem? The recession had technically ended before Clinton even declared his candidacy. Yet when George Bush and his supporters pointed this out they appeared out of touch. Many Americans were still feeling the aftershocks of the recession and were either unemployed or working in jobs that paid less than their previous employment. To them, it was a recession no matter what the formal statistics said.
According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, Barack Obama is on similarly shaky ground when he tries to defend his economic policies based on the (weak) recovery: 76 percent of the American people believe the economy is still in recession. That not only includes 85 percent of Republicans but also 68 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents.
Will Obama appear out of touch when he claims the stimulus worked or that the economy can withstand his proposed tax increases? If public opinion holds, the correct answer is Sarah Palin’s: “You betcha!”
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