In politics, this is called "whistling past the graveyard:"
President Obama's senior political adviser David Plouffe said Wednesday that people won't vote in 2012 based on the unemployment rate.
Plouffe should probably hope that's the case, since dismal job figures aren't expected to get any better for Obama and the economy on Friday.
Most economists expect a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to show that the nation added about 100,000 jobs in June. That's not enough to keep up with population growth, let alone lower the unemployment rate or make a dent in the 9 million jobs lost during the so called Great Recession.
It's looking more and more like Obama will have to do something no president has done since Franklin Roosevelt: Win reelection with unemployment around 8 percent.
Ronald Reagan, another president Obama is sometimes compared with, was reelected in 1984 when unemployment was 7.2 percent. Obama isn't likely to see a number that low.
Actually, Plouffe is partly right. If the unemployment rate has been trending downward for a few months by election day, Obama has an argument for his reelection - even if the rate is historically high. And much depends on who the GOP runs against him.
But Plouffe is being disingenuous and he knows it. Obama's goose is cooked if the economy continues performing the way it has been with the unemployment rate yo-yoing between 9% and 10%. That high rate strikes fear in the heart of voters and a fearful electorate means curtains for an incumbent.