Rightbloggers had one of their best weeks of the campaign. First their candidate, Mitt Romney, bested President Obama in a debate, and then the Labor Department posted a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate. Both events convinced them of impending electoral victory, as the first proved that the president is stupid, and the second proved that he is evil, as he had somehow manipulated the labor statistics to defy what they knew to be reality.
Romney’s debate performance was distinguished by sudden shifts to more moderate positions than he had taken theretofore: He gushed that “regulation is essential” for the banking industry, embraced the Romneycare health plan he’d previously treated like a youthful indiscretion, etc. Rightbloggers didn’t seem to mind; they’d adjusted to RINO Romney long before, and so mainly focused on, and were overjoyed by, the unfocused performance by their primary hate object, which they took not as evidence of a bad night but evidence that Obama is mentally challenged.
“[Romney] looked like he was passionately schooling a teenaged-smart a** who just graduated from high school who thinks he knows everything,” said Sister Toldjah. “The overrated president gets his comeuppance,” said the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin. “….That no one on the left imagined that he would do so poorly tells us much about the Obama bubble and the president’s distorted self-image… Obama’s rhetorical weakness suggests he is not the great intellect he and his admirers have come to venerate.” “So the listless sourpuss who thought it would be enough to show up is a universally acknowledged failure,” said Pundit and Pundette. “…Any other suggested approaches for a lousy speaker with a four-year record of failure who prefers not to study much?”
Ann Althouse even suggested that “with 2 more public humiliations in the offing, [Obama’s] got to do something. If he’s really desperate, there could be a world crisis of some sort that forces him to cancel the remaining debates.”
“If last night’s debate was a boxing match, a referee would have had to stop the fight,” said The Shark Tank. “..If you remember the beating in the 8th round that Sugar Ray Leonard gave to Roberto Duran over 30 years ago, you’ve already got a pretty good idea of what transpired if you missed the action last night. It was that bad a beatdown to witness…” Well, we know where his mind’s at.
The Shark Tank was also delighted that TV personality Bill Maher had given Obama a lousy review: “When your non-adversarial media sources and your die-hard supporters are characterizing your debate performance in such a manner,” they said, “you know it’s not good.” In fact, many liberal types admitted that Obama had done badly in the debate — and this gave rightbloggers their greatest joy, for in their world no one ever admits his candidate is anything less than perfect, so they assumed this meant that Obama’s supporters were abandoning him.
“When a liberal president get comments like this from a hardcore moonbat [Maher] who gave his super-PAC $1 million, maybe he had better just pack it in,” said Moonbattery. When Saturday Night Live made fun of Obama’s performance, Scared Monkeys declared, “The LEFT goes after Obama poor debate performance…”
When the New Yorker ran a cover showing Romney debating an empty chair, rightbloggers declared victory: “You know you’re losing it when a liberal bastion like The New Yorker mocks you, Clint Eastwood style,” gloated Marooned in Marin. “If Obama has the New Yorker making fun of him, then you know he is in trouble,” said The Blogmocracy. “Obama was exposed as the fraud he is last Wednesday. His god-king image has been shattered!”
“The New Yorker cover depicting the Empty Chair in Chief ‘debating’ Mitt Romney is classic evidence that Clint Eastwood hit a home run with his speech at the RNC,” said Legal Insurrection. “To honor the cover, Professor Jacobson has decided to roll out previously unpublished National Empty Chair Day photos sent in by LI readers on September 3, 2012. (Note: DO NOT SEND additional photos, we are using only photos originally submitted on National Empty Chair Day.) Thus, the Election Day Empty Chair Countdown feature is born, and I’ll be posting one empty chair photo a day until election day.” That oughta keep their spirits up.
Rick Wilson of Ricochet was beside himself: “Think about it,” he marveled: “the New Yorker is mocking Barack Obama using an image from a gag from the Republican National Convention.”
Yeah, whoever heard of the New Yorker talking about Republicans, or gags? A Rubicon had been crossed, said Wilson: “The cover of the New Yorker — one of the tentpoles of respectable liberalism and elite opinion — is a signifier of the scope of Obama’s failure this week… As the dozens of snarky articles, brutal editorial cartoons, late night comedy shows taking new and unaccustomed shots at Obama… build up a certain cultural momentum, the sense that Obama’s failings are suddenly funny is a deadly virus in the bloodstream of liberal opinion.” Liberal opinion is clearly in its death throes, and if only Whoopi Goldberg can be persuaded to give Obama a WTF it will breathe its last.
The party was only temporarily halted Friday when the September report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics came out, showing the national unemployment rate below 8% for the first time since February 2009, a 114,000 rise in payrolls for September and an upward adjustment of summer job numbers by 86,000.
It’s not great, and a case can be made that it’s not even good, but it wasn’t bad enough news for rightbloggers to enjoy.
Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit reported the rate drop, then simply sputtered, “Barack Obama is the worst jobs president since the Great Depression.” (Later, when he had recovered himself: “Lib PA Lawmaker Refuses to Lead Committee in ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ (Video).”)
But the brethren quickly recollected themselves, and decided that the official job numbers were fake.
“Jobless number dips under 8%, but… IS THE NUMBER REAL?” asked Fox News. Former GE Chairman Jack Welch tweeted, “Unbelievable jobs numbers.. these Chicago guys will do anything.. can’t debate so change numbers.”
“I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch,” said Rep. Allen West, “Chicago style politics is at work here. Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the Presidential election. This is Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book ‘Rules for Radicals,'” etc. Steve Forbes agreed.
Some rightbloggers played the situation as cagey as they could, not overtly endorsing the conspiracy theories but sanctifying it with a Questions Remain approach.
“Though not conspiracy theorist on this,” David Harsanyi of Human Events unpromisingly began, “I did point out some of the incredible strange trends within BLS numbers a few months ago.” He also called Hilda Solis “the country’s first anti-job Labor Secretary.”
“Jack Welch is wrong,” said James Sherk at National Review, “but that doesn’t make today’s unemployment numbers right… it is highly unlikely that today’s unemployment numbers are accurate… This looks a lot like an anomalous survey, which is quite possible without any political hijinks.” (Further down came what was probably the real animating sentiment behind Sherk’s post: “It would be fantastic if today’s unemployment numbers are accurate…”)
His colleague Andrew C. McCarthy blandly reported Welch’s doubts, leaving National Review‘s commenters to supply the crazy, e.g., “NOBODY seriously believes these numbers. NOBODY,” “It takes very, very few [BLS employees] to simply change the formula by which those numbers are interpreted, and that’s exactly what happened here,” “I’d go with Jack Welch’s assessment over any in the MSM/Lib/Dem/Prog world, as Jack has a stellar record of success in business and life,” “Democrat gangsters now count ’employment’ the same way they count votes in King County, Washington,” and our very favorite, “It used to be that disagreeing with a liberal made you a racist. Now it makes you a conspiracy nut.”
But even above the fold, there were plenty of writers who didn’t need to mask their devotion to what back in the dim mists of time was called the paranoid style in American politics.
Exposing Liberal Lies denounced the “Phony Unemployment Numbers,” saying, “it looks like we are getting a glimmer of Chicago thug-style politics” — (Playing at home? Drink!) –“at its best. Those of us who are well-informed about current events are not ignorant enough to believe that creating 114,000 jobs in September could possibly drop the unemployment rate down .3% to 7.8%… Those numbers are impossible to achieve legitimately.” We were hoping at that point Exposing Liberal Lies would whip out their MIT degrees and explain why it was impossible, but instead they went on in the same vein: “Obama and his corrupt regime are fully aware of how ignorant the masses truly are. They’re hoping the public will see that the rate has fallen below 8% and that they will believe that Obama’s policies are reviving the economy when nothing could be further from the truth…”
After Chris Matthews basically told Welch he was crazy on TV, Saving the Republic ranted, “Is Tingles on the bottle? Welch doesn’t need anything specific for his theory, he knows because once upon a time it was his job to be on top of all the economic numbers to run the largest corporation on the planet!” Well, that answers that.
“The sudden change certainly was convenient,” said Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, signaling that even well-regarded rightbloggers were prepared to go Full Jobs Truther.
“The Chicago Machine insults the intelligence of the whole nation with this one,” railed The Anchoress. “…on the heels of a disastrous performance in debate, they miraculously produce the ‘biggest jump’ in employment numbers of the whole presidency. Riiiiiiight.” Also: “the skepticism is earned; a cynical president creates cynical expectations and gets a cynical response. Although, I am sure that some will buy it…” Well, why not: They did for decades, before the Kenyan Pretender rendered all our institutions suspect.
Ace of Spades revealed “Why That 7.8% Unemployment Figure Is Raising Eyebrows” among his fellow paranoid schizophrenics. A real recovery, Spades explained, was like this: “If anyone’s too young too know, let me explain to you what a 1983 economy feels like: It feels like the movie Wall Street. As Adam Carolla says, ‘pre-AIDS, mid-coke.’ Poppy music on the Blaupunkt. People buy plastic watches to wear on their ankles and in their hair. The world is your Cinnabon’s.” Since September 2012 doesn’t remind Spades of his childhood, it is clearly a fake — or, as he put it in a fit of ass-covering, “You don’t even have to think Obama cooked the books (though Jay Cost reminds that that does happen) to look at the number with suspicion… it’s either a lucky outlier for Obama — or luck had nothing to do with it…” (Spades also cited in evidence the results of a Gallup Poll. Guess they’re not skewed anymore, huh?)
In an interesting twist, Ed Morrisey of Hot Air claimed that the liberal media was trying to “marginalize the question” by reporting Jack Welch’s ravings accurately. Morrissey used the fact that Welch’s statement had been “retweeted over 1500 times so far” as proof that “more than a few people are puzzled about this jobs report.” (The notion that many of those retweets were making fun of Welch didn’t occur to him.) “It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theory to say that the numbers don’t make sense,” reasoned Morrissey.
“Let’s talk reality here,” promised The Last Tradition just before abandoning the effort. “Less than 32 days from the election and two days after Mitt Romney totally obliterates President Obama in the first presidential debate, the unemployment rate suddenly falls to below 8%. So it’s not beyond belief that many would be very skeptical of the report given the enormity of the stakes and the propensity of the Obama administration of being less than truthful…”
“What makes the corrupt American media so unhinged,” The Last Tradition went on, “is they no longer have a monopoly on disseminating information. There’s a whole new and growing alternative media that doesn’t submit to the Obama White House’s wishes.”
Well, sure, why not? People don’t trust government or the media, so if you’re New Media, why not just say any old thing that suits your premise — your word’s as good as theirs. Here’s Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner on Twitter, declaring that “I don’t think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs.” Well, it’s not impossible; Obama could have sent every unemployed Democrat in the nation an email telling them to lie about having a job if anyone from the Labor Department asked — you couldn’t put it past him.
The unemployment rate better not get any lower, or they’ll impeach him.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2012