Jonathan Alter Defends Obama with a Pathetic Non-Argument
Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 8:19AM
John Prothro
Liberal columnist Jonathan Alter gave conservative pundits a gift this week in asking them to prove Obama has been a bad president.  It didn’t take long for several columnists to answer the “challenge” with unfavorable economic and unemployment statistics.  The most effective response was probably Peter Wehner’s over at Commentary who simply made a list of economic and unemployment facts under Obama that would make any Democrat wince.

Problem is Obama apologists already have an answer to the unemployment question.  And Alter uses it here:
When Obama took office, the economy was losing about 750,000 jobs a month…The recession ended (at least for a while) and we now are adding several thousand jobs a month…
This is a cynical and deceptive line but nevertheless one that is used multiple times by every single defender of the Obama Administration.  Turn on the TV and one will hear some Democrat, somewhere touting this non-argument.

Why is it a non-argument?

Because there was nowhere to go but up. Does anyone believe America would have continued to lose 750,000 jobs per month had Obama not come to the rescue?  Under John McCain would we have maintained this pace and lost 36 million jobs in four years? Is that the argument?

The point is the rate of job loss during that period was unsustainable.  That time was extraordinary and does not represent a pattern on which an historical argument can be based.  No economy could lose jobs at that rate for very long—much less the most productive economy in the world.  The economy was always going to come back. The issue for Obama is not whether the car is out of the ditch—as he likes to say—but whether the car is now capable of traveling the speed limit.  

By Obama’s own measures, the car can’t reach the speed limit—that is, unless we’re in a school zone.  Let’s not forget, it wasn’t a right wing conspirator who claimed unemployment wouldn’t surpass eight percent after the stimulus. Nor was it the right that dubbed the summer of 2010 “Recovery Summer”. Obama and his people made those predictions because they expected the economy to turn around, as did everyone.  But the Administration didn’t know their spending binge would hamper that tournaround.  
Article originally appeared on (
See website for complete article licensing information.