Obama’s Run of Bad Luck

Poor Barack Obama! He keeps doing the right thing, but–like Jimmy Carter before him–he can’t seem to catch a break. That is the revisionist line that Obama fed to an audience in Iowa today, as reported by Byron York:

“We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, gotten the economy moving again,” Obama told a crowd in Decorah, Iowa.

Now, when was that, exactly? The unemployment rate stood at 7.6% when Obama was inaugurated. Six months later, in July 2009, it was 9.4%. It rose as high as 10.2% and stayed over 9% until the end of 2010:

Then the rate did decline a bit, to as low as 8.9%. Apparently this is what Obama refers to as “getting the economy moving again.” Only the best unemployment rate of Obama’s presidency, so far, was still more than 1% higher than when he took office. And this was before the bad luck began!

“But over the last six months we’ve had a run of bad luck.” Obama listed three events overseas — the Arab Spring uprisings, the tsunami in Japan, and the European debt crises — which set the economy back.

Poor Barry! His “run of bad luck” has driven unemployment back up to 9.1%. Actually, though, a normal person looking at unemployment rates for the Obama administration as a whole would see a history of unrelieved futility. Obama has now had more than 2 1/2 years in office, and has achieved nothing on the economic front but decline.

Will blaming his failure on bad luck help Obama? I doubt it. Once again, he is following in the footsteps of Jimmy Carter. Encyclopedia.com begins its entry on Carter with the words: “Jimmy Carter was an unlucky president.” Sure, that’s how I remember it too. But the American people didn’t take any chances: they limited Carter’s “bad luck” to a single term. If the best Obama can say for himself is that he is jinxed, voters will do the same with him.

UPDATE: In a nice counterpoint, the New York Times explains that Rick Perry is just lucky.