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Roger L. Simon

Fear and Shame on the Campaign Trail #3 — The Year of Living Jerkishly

August 21st, 2012 - 12:00 am

Time for the Chinese to amend their calendar. The Year of the Dog, The Year of the Dragon, The Year of the Monkey, etc. are no longer sufficient. We are now in The Year of the Jerk.

Todd Akin, Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman Schultz — we’re surrounded by jerks. Maybe it comes with the job description “politician,” but it seems as if we’re in the middle of an epidemic. Time for Peter Weir finally to do that sequel to The Year of Living DangerouslyThe Year of Living Jerkishly. (He could bring back Mel Gibson to star, speaking of jerks.)

This is all in the midst of the most serious election of our lives. Just as we might, for the first time, be grudgingly starting to examine the economic cliff our country is about to run over, just as we are tip-toeing ever so gingerly up to the precipice, considering, ever so tentatively, that we could alter this suicidal course, along comes a brigade of idiots to change the subject.

Call it the Grand Jerk Distraction.

And all this happens at the very moment there is the first break in that monolithic dyke of reaction called the MSM. Harvard historian Niall Ferguson’s superb takedown of Obamanomics appears on the cover of Newsweek, of all places. It’s as if the pope came out for free love.

Not that the MSM took it lying down. They had a conniption fit, led by The Atlantic’s Matthew O’Brien, who quickly jumped into the fray to rescue Saint Barack from the Infidels. Only his rescue doesn’t look so impressive. It starts with this:

Celebrity historian [cheap shot] Niall Ferguson doesn’t like President Obama, and doesn’t think you should either.

That’s perfectly fine. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to disapprove of the president. Here’s the big one: 8.3 percent. That’s the current unemployment rate, fully three years on from the official end of the Great Recession.

Wait, wait, wait. Let’s stop right there. 8.3 is the putative unemployment rate. No one with an IQ in triple digits even faintly believes it. The U-6 rate is 14.9% and it goes up from there. Who knows what it really is, but it’s undoubtedly pretty close to catastrophic. Ferguson, rather than exaggerating, was being extra polite accepting that fictional rate.

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