One of the most perplexing things about this election season has been trying to understand why some conservatives have such utter contempt for President Obama. The hatred has been there from the beginning, woven with threads of controversy and thinly veiled bigotry. There was the criticism over receiving the Nobel Prize, the birth certificate controversy, challenges about his religious beliefs, and the charges that he's a socialist.
A lot of it is dismissible, coming from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Ann Coulter. They have a financial incentive to keep the Obama anger burning. But none of the accusations and conspiracy theories has been as unwarranted and asinine as the one that Jack Welch floated after the September jobs report was announced on Friday. The former chair of General Electric tweeted the latest conspiracy: the administration cooked the books to help get the president re-elected. That was Welch’s explanation for the drop in unemployment from 8.1 percent to 7.8, the first time unemployment has been below 8 percent in four years.
OK, it’s understandable that conservatives wouldn’t want good employment news to overshadow Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance only days earlier. Nor would they be happy that the news takes away one of Romney’s main talking points, that Obama failed to deliver one of his campaign promises. But world markets pay attention to this closely guarded data, and Welch’s response was inexcusable.
Welch accused Obama of Nixon-like illegalities without even an iota of evidence. Watch this exchange between MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and an unapologetic Welch on “Hardball.”
This has been a terrible recession, leaving many people unemployed for months, sometimes years. Some of these people have tried everything they can think of to find a new job, only to lose everything they’ve got. And it’s heartbreaking.
But in a race to deliver a knock-out blow to this president, Obama’s enemies are willing to disregard any possibility that his slow and steady economic recovery is working. And their capacity to trivialize the economic policies that brought on millions of job losses is telling.