Republicans are now trying to take credit for America’s economic turnaround. You knew that was coming, right? It only took a day into the new, Republican controlled Senate, for Mitch McConnell to make that claim. Some might wonder what took him so long.
At the end of December, Grover Norquist, the conservative activist who controls much of the Republican Party with his demand that there never be a tax increase for any reason, chastised Republicans for not taking credit for the improving economy. It appears that at least Mitch McConnell decided to listen to him.
McConnell actually did a course reversal on the economy in just a matter of days. On the January 4 edition of CNN’s “State Of the Union,” McConnell said that the economic recovery wasn’t stronger due to “regulatory onslaught.” Then, in a press release dated January 7, the new Senate Majority Leader made this claim:
After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope; the uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama Administration’s long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress.
“The expectation of a new Republican Congress.” Yes, America, Mitch McConnell is saying that things are getting better, because you were happy that Republicans would be elected, before they were. Or, in some cases even before polls had made it clear that Republican control was likely.
McConnell’s claim is investigated.
BS detectors went into full alert on Wednesday, in response to McConnell’s claim. The Washington Post’s blog, “The Fix,” responded to McConnell with this headline:
Mitch McConnell says improved economy is result of ‘the expectation of a new Republican Congress.’ Um, probably not.
Writer Phillip Bump uses a series of charts to call McConnell’s claim into question. He notes that it was some time in September when it began to appear likely that Republicans would win control of the Senate. From that point until election day, is what Bump calls the “expectation period.” What do those charts show? As you can see below, and as Bump notes in his column, the economic trends during the “expectation period” were simply continuations of trends that had begun some time before. “One assumes that McConnell doesn’t think that people’s expectations of a Republican Congress in 2015 began in 2011, presumably,” Bump observes.
Steve Benin, at MSNBC’s “Maddow Blog,” says McConnell’s claim “would be amusing if it weren’t so sad.” He points out that, a scant two months ago, we finished an election season that saw McConnell, and other Republicans, arguing almost every day that President Obama was destroying the economy. Benin also points out that, when it was announced in December that U.S. economic growth in the third quarter had hit an 11 year high, Republicans greeted the news with a stony silence.
Now, after six years of obstruction, and a record number of filibusters in the Senate, McConnell has put on the attire of the old “medicine show” snake oil salesman, and he wants you to open wide and swallow what he’s feeding you. The sad thing is, the way so many in the country are more interested in Kim Kardashian’s backside than in what’s going on with the economy, McConnell will probably be able to convince a good number of Americans that what he says is true.
Image via Zimbio.com