Another terrible ad from Meg Whitman. How is she winning? Oh, she's only winning the Republican primary? Never mind.
Choose Our President 2012
First, the numbers: From February 2001, Bush's first full month in office, through January 2009, his last, total U.S. nonfarm employment grew from 132.5 million to 133.5 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's an increase, obviously, of just 1 million. From January through April of this year, the economy created 573,000 jobs. Over a full year, that projects to 1.72 million jobs. Job-creation numbers are notoriously volatile, so the actual result could run above or below that estimate. But Obama administration economists are increasingly optimistic that job growth this year will exceed expectations. Few of them will be surprised if more jobs are created in 2010 than over Bush's two terms.
Now the principal footnote: To compare job growth in 2010 with Bush's record ignores the nearly 4 million jobs lost in Obama's first year, during the freefall that began in Bush's final months. That's like ignoring a meteor strike. Over time, voters are likely to judge Obama by his degree of success in eliminating that deficit and reducing unemployment. Still, if the economy this year produces more than 1 million jobs -- or, conceivably, more than 2 million -- that will give Democrats more ammunition to argue that their agenda has started to turn the tide.
The real point of looking again at Bush's record is to underscore how few jobs the economy was creating even before the 2008 collapse. Bush's tally of 1 million jobs was much less than the economy had generated during any other two-term stretch since World War II: Dwight Eisenhower produced nearly 4 million, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (together) almost 16 million, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (together) 11 million, Ronald Reagan 16 million, and Bill Clinton more than 22 million.
Obama chose a nominee who has never been a judge, a factor the White House said had worked in Kagan's favor, giving her a different perspective from the other justices. Poised to put his imprint on the court for a second time, the president embraced Kagan's profile: a left-leaning lawyer who has won praise from the right, earned political experience at the White House and on the college campus, cleared one Senate confirmation already and served as the nation's top lawyer.
At 50 years old and with lifetime tenure, Kagan could extend Obama's court legacy by decades. Her vote could be the difference on cases that shape American liberties and the scope of the government's power.
Mentioning Kagan's late mother, Obama said: "I think she would relish, as do I, the prospect of three women taking their seat on the nation's highest court for the first time in history--a court that would be more inclusive, more representative, more reflective of us as a people than ever before."