Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
After his disastrous debate performance Wednesday night President Obama got some welcome news from the jobs report released Friday morning.
The report showed that the economy created 114,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, the lowest it’s been since he took office.
Plus, the figures for July and August were also revised upwards, pointing to a stronger summer of growth than initially thought.
It’s a “considerably better labor market picture,” says Jared Bernstein, who was Vice President Biden’s chief economist.
“We’re not yet out of the labor market woods, and I’d like to see us moving more quickly, but we’re on the right path.”
Bernstein, who is now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, stressed the “notable acceleration” of growth and believes this bodes well for Obama’s reelection chances.
“It’s momentum that matters most—whether we’re moving in the right direction,” Bernstein says. “That we are, and a bit faster than we were even one quarter ago.”
The jobs report sent some members of the rightwing into the conspiracy zone.
Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, took to Twitter to write: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”
And, as Talking Points Memo noted, goofy Rep. Allen West of Florida said, “Chicago style politics is at work here.” He also added: “Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book ‘Rules for Radicals.’”
Romney, for his part, said, “This is not what a real recovery looks like.”
Obama can’t win here. If the unemployment figures had gone up, he would have been slammed.
But the numbers went down, and he was still slammed.
It’s hard not to detect a note of Republican chagrin that the economy is actually doing better now.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Romney on 60 Minutes: Kiss the Safety Net Goodbye."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter