In 1992, Democratic strategist James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.” It became the mantra of Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign. Thirty years later, it’s still used as a reminder of the importance of the economy to American voters.
After all these decades, Carville seems to have updated that old mantra and is going with “You’re stupid; the economy is good,” because he actually had the audacity to argue on CNN’s OutFront that the economy right now is doing just fine but that Americans just don’t understand that.
“So I mentioned a new CNN poll that found two-thirds of all Americans now disapprove of how President Biden specifically is handling the economy, two-thirds of all Americans. That’s bad. On top of that, more than 50% of Democrats think the economy is in poor shape, up 16 percentage points from December. Eighty-one percent of independents think the economy is in poor shape. These are all bad, no good numbers in this entire thing. How big of a problem is this for the president?” anchor Erin Burnett asked Carville.
“Well, it’s a huge problem,” Carville explained. “Let me tell you another thing. A plurality of Americans think no jobs have been created under Joe Biden, and I think in his first 16 months it’s the best opening 16 months of any president since World War II in job creation.”
We’ve heard this line from Joe Biden before. It’s been debunked so many times now that it’s hard to understand how Carville thinks he can use it and still be taken seriously.
Alas, he was not done.
“We have supply chain issues causing a great deal of grief,” he continued. “Shanghai is probably the leading port in the world in terms of supply chain. So they have formidable problems but understand we’ve had real good job creation and we have had a real reduction in child poverty.”
The problem with all this awesomeness that’s going on, however, is that we’re just too thick to see all the glories of Bidenomics.
“I don’t think people, I think there is an entire picture of an economy here. I don’t think the people in America are understanding completely where it is. There are bad things, but if we’re making these decisions on the assumption [of] no jobs created, that’s just not true. Jobs are being created left and right.”
Why do Americans think Biden hasn’t created any jobs? The truth of the matter is that he hasn’t. The pandemic caused an unprecedented loss of 22.4 million jobs, and, as of last month, we’re still 8.4 million jobs short of where we were before the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
Biden can’t even credit his policies for the gains that have been made just to get us back to Trump-era levels of employment. Biden promised that his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that passed last March would lead job growth to outperform CBO estimates for 2021. And it didn’t. “While the president is right that millions of jobs returned this year, as was widely expected following unprecedented pandemic layoffs in 2020, the latest jobs report shows that gain doesn’t match nonpartisan projections for job growth resulting from the policies Biden inherited,” explained Matt Weidinger of the American Enterprise Institute. “That also means the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Democrats enacted in March 2021 has not created any of the additional four million jobs supporters promised it would [in 2021].”
So there you have it. James Carville thinks Americans are stupid. This is basically the talking point of choice for the White House these days. Everything is awesome, everything is fine, and it’s your fault that you can’t see that. Of course, I expect such things from the Biden White House, but, you know, I expected a higher caliber of analysis from James Carville, given his reputation.