The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board is entitled to its opinions, but not its own set of facts.
In a review of President Obama's nomination acceptance speech Friday, the newspaper's editorial writers had some positive words to offer about Obama but knocked him around a bit on two specific points. Said the Journal Sentinel: "Job growth is picking up though Obama still has the worst record on that score of any president in the post-World War II era."
BZZZZZT! Sorry, Journal Sentinel. Thanks for playing but you do win a copy of our home game. As Yahoo.com recently noted after checking with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, "a historical analysis of job growth percentages shows that Obama still fares better than some recent presidents. As of July, Obama is averaging +0.84 percent annual job growth in his term. That places him ahead of Bush, who saw +0.51 percent growth in his first term and -0.84 percent in his second term. Obama is also tracking better than George H.W. Bush, who presided over +0.69 percent growth during his one term in the White House."
Yes, that's right: Better job growth than either of the Bushes, even though unlike that father-son tag team, Obama has had to do what he could to help the country recover from the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. His first priority was to staunch and then reverse the massive employment contraction that had cost millions of Americans their jobs before Obama was even sworn in, during the final months of George W. Bush's second term. [But yes, the nation really is better off today than it was during those dark months in late 2008 and much of 2009.]
The Journal Sentinel editorialists went on to assign Obama significant responsibility for the noncooperative atmosphere between the two major political parties the past four years. The editorial said that "by turning over details of the stimulus bill - and health care reform - to Congress, Obama lost control of both." The J-S thus buys into the myth that the Republicans ever were willing to meet Obama halfway or even part of halfway. If only, as the conservative meme goes, Obama hadn't gone rogue on his solo trek leftward!
Of course, that's ridiculous. Presidents may propose, but Congress disposes. In any event, Obama was involved throughout the legislative proceedings involving both the Recovery Act and health care reform; indeed, he took flack from his own side for devising significant GOP-friendly compromises that were built into both measures from the outset. It was Republicans who nevertheless continued marching rightward, for example refusing to agree to the individual health insurance mandate they themselves had previously championed before suddenly realizing that, now proposed by Obama, the same measure was socialist.
That's precisely why Obama's American Jobs Act, which he proposed a year ago, has never became law. Republicans fought it at the very outset. They said it amounted to more “failed" stimulus -- even though they were happy to enact similar stimulus packages when proposed by Republican presidents.
Never mind that, by this point, Obama's Reinvestment Act had already begun to help level off the economy's deep slide. By most independent analysis, Obama's followup jobs effort would have helped local governments retain hundreds of thousands of civil servants including teachers, firefighters and police who have since been laid off. But it's that very lack of jobs that Republicans -- aiming at Obama's defeat this fall -- actually have preferred.
Their singular focus on Obama's defeat also is what recently has motivated conservatives like Paul Ryan to suddenly lionize Bill Clinton, whom they despised when he was president. Clinton is, to them, just another useful weapon in their scorched-earth approach to policy-making. Never mind that last week Clinton presented powerful, plain English arguments in favor of Obama's re-election.
Conservatives now pretend to admire Clinton -- the very man they tried to impeach -- so they can compare Obama to him unfavorably. Thus, the main ideology of the Republican Party is now increasingly pretentious, and situational pretense at that.
These are not people who accept compromise, except in the Bushian sense that Democrats should totally compromise their positions, instead accepting in its entirety the GOP point of view. Obama clearly tacked rightward for most of his first term yet still had to rely almost entirely on Democratic votes to enact two of his key reforms. But nothing succeeds like success, so now Republicans are reduced to pretending that he failed, but not because of their herculean efforts against him.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel remains prominent among mainstream news outlets that continue to pretend likewise.