Barry who? Obama reminds voters who's responsible for the lousy economy

In his economics speech on Friday, the president told the audience something that had Republicans cheering and Democrats groaning:

“Make no mistake,” Obama said of his agenda. “These policies are on the ballot. Every single one.”

Those words will be coming soon to a campaign commercia near you.

Is the president delusional? Some Democrats must think so.


With those few words, the president turned an election that many Democrats wanted to make about local issues into one that will be decided on his national policies. Vulnerable Senate incumbents such as Mark Pryor, Mark Begich and Mary Landrieu can no longer talk about all they have done for Arkansas, Alaska and Louisiana. They now have to answer for Obamacare, the uneven recovery, and instability in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.

While some measures have gotten better, the economy remains stuck in many respects. The working-age population has risen since October 2009, but the number of people who aren't in the labor force has increased by 11.7 million. Since he took office, workforce participation has dropped steadily, from 65.7 percent to the current 62.8 percent. Average hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, are down from $10.38 to $10.33. And the number of people in poverty has risen by more than a million from 2008 to 2013.

There was nothing the president pointed to in his economic “plan” that would spur lasting job creation and durable growth. If anything, the policies he touted -- the continued rollout of Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, an increase in the minimum wage and more government spending -- will only serve to depress employers' demand for labor.

Many voters in states with competitive Senate races have already taken their measure of the president and his policies. His approval ratings are in the low 40s in these states, and this impression of him isn't changing before November. A broad majority thinks the country is on the wrong track, and Obama earns low grades for his handling of almost everything, from jobs and the economy to foreign policy.

Maybe it was good, then, that Obama gave his speech in Illinois, one of the few places where Democrats still welcome his presence. But vulnerable Democrats in other states are wishing that what he said in suburban Chicago could have just stayed there.

Republicans like Thom Tillis running against Senator Kay Hagan in North Carolina have been pounding on Obama for weeks, trying to tie Hagan to the president with little to show for it. But you can bet his team and the national GOP are already brainstorming ways to take advantage of this incredibly stupid comment.

The smartest guy in the room just made a rookie mistake And his party is likely to pay dearly for it at the polls.


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