While Obama and the Dems were fighting Republicans (or sometimes other Dems) over health care reform, unemployment was wavering between 9.6% and 10%.
Had Obama and the Dems addressed the unemployment problem and gotten the rate back down to the level it was at when Bush left office, they wouldn't have gotten hammered like they did last night.
It's that simple.
Yes, they would have lost seats in both houses.
But not control.
But Obama didn't want to hear any of this.
He had in his head that HE - THE GREAT OBAMA - would reform the health care system and do something that even FDR and LBJ couldn't do.
Leaving aside just how shitty HCR actually is (and I do hope Repubs repeal it - mandating 31 million Americans buy garbage health insurance from private companies and providing subsidies to those companies by placing a 40% excise tax on people with employer-provided plans is NOT good policy), getting stuck for months trying to get four or five Repubs to play along with the proposals, then pushing the thing through anyway pissed off a whole bunch of Americans (including me) who were worried about their jobs.
Now here we are, a year after the HCR fight, unemployment remains above 9.5%, people are STILL worried about their jobs in the private sector, the public sector (especially teachers) will see MASS LAYOFFS this year, and many long-term unemployed cannot find jobs.
So, using a value-added analysis like Kleinberg want to use on NYC teachers, let's recap:
Obama came in with 6.9& unemployment.
Unemployment has NOT fallen below 8% since he took office.
It currently looks like it is heading back to 10%.
Obama said it would be down to 7.9% if his stimulus was passed, would tap out at 9% if it wasn't.
He has been wrong on jobs since the beginning, underestimating the severity of the employment problem, doing little to mitigate it (anybody think RttT added jobs?) and STILL doesn't know what to do about the problem now.
Not only has Barack Obama NOT added value to this economy, he has consistently taken value out by focusing on the wrong issues, hiring the wrong people to fix the problems (Geithner? Bernanke? Summers?) and haphazardly trying to stimulate the economy with garbage programs like Race to the Top.
I have said it before, I will say it again - if the Obama administration were a school in NYC or Chicago, the Obama DOE would have it on the closure list.
Dems got their school closure notice for the House yesterday.
The closure notice for the Senate and the White House will come in two years if they do not change course and figure out how to a) fix the mortgage mess b) fix the long-term unemployment problem c) hold the financial industry accountable for their sins, both crisis-related and fraudclosure-related.
I suspect it is too little too late to do any of those things now, what with Boehner and Company ready to gridlock everything in sight.
That is Obama's fault.
He had the chance to address these problems.
We TOLD him to address them.
His people laughed at us and called us the "professional left" and said we were on drugs.
Well, Obama will bear the brunt of these mistakes and pay for his arrogance.
He will go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever.
Just look at how much value he has taken out of this country already.
It is in the numbers.
And with unemployment forecast to fall to 8.1% by the end of 2012 (still much higher than when Obama first took office), you can be sure the next big set of national elections will look like the ones we saw last night.