Political Animal


October 01, 2012 10:00 AM Here Come the Warm Jets

By Ed Kilgore

Here’s the New York Times’ brief description of the economic statistics we will be hearing about in the course of this week:

Data to be released include the I.S.M. [Institute for Supply Management] manufacturing index for September and construction spending for August (Monday); A.D.P. [Automatic Data Processing] employment for September, I.S.M. service index for September (Wednesday); weekly jobless claims (Thursday); and unemployment for September and consumer credit for August (Friday).

Friday’s jobs report, of course, is the Big Bertha. There will be one more the Friday before Election Day, but at that point the undecided vote will probably be down to a segment of the electorate that is far more likely to be focused on Honey Boo Boo than economic reports.

Given the dynamics of the general election campaign, you can expect the warm jets of conservative spin over the September jobs report to achieve a level of heat and noise unlike anything that has ever been generated by a BLS publication. If the net new jobs numbers do not meet expectations (which will be set mid-week), we’ll hear renewed howling about double-dip recession and Obama’s Failed Presidency. If the jobs numbers are better than expected, the Right will focus on the unemployment rate. Any economist or “job creator” willing to express disappointment or apprehension will have his or her image displayed on giant screens around the country, with negative quotes endlessly blaring from huge loudspeakers.

Just kidding about that last part, but it’s only an exaggeration. Sure, pro-Obama forces will be spinning madly as well, but for Republicans, this will probably be the last clear opportunity for a news link to the Referendum on Obama’s Stewardship of the Economy meme. You can try to take a break from the news that day to avoid it all, but I suspect the intensity of the Doom and Gloom will be such that you will probably pick up the bad news on your dental fillings. And if Mitt does poorly in the debate on Wednesday and the job numbers are tepid, you’d best hide under the covers with noise-cancelling headphones if you want to get through Friday without hearing the unearthly wail of negativity. Be forewarned.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • stormskies on October 01, 2012 10:35 AM:

    And leading the way for the corporations/ Repiglicans will be David "I am not a used corporate condom" Gregory.

    That would be the same used corporate condom who is a featured speaker at The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which calls itself “the voice of small business,” is one of the Republican party’s strongest allies. The group spent over $1 million on outside ads in the 2010 campaign — all of it backing Republican House and Senate candidates (and, Bloomberg News reported last month, “another $1.5 million that it kept hidden and said was exempt” from disclosure requirements). The group is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Obamacare law and bankrolled state governments’ challenges to the law. The NFIB has also taken stances against allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, opposing regulations on businesses, and supporting curtailing union rights.

    Given the group’s obvious Republican alliance, it comes as little surprise that the NFIB’s three-day 2012 Small Business Summit, which begins Monday, will feature headliners Karl Rove and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

    But the first name and photo on the invitation for the $150-per-person event — Tuesday’s “keynote address” speaker — is NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory. He is marketed by NBC as an anchor and “trusted journalist.”


  • c u n d gulag on October 01, 2012 10:40 AM:

    Well, since over the last 4+ years they kept switching their description of him from 'Obambi the Meek,' to 'Obama the Zulu Warrior,' they hoped that by handing him a series of economic losses due to their intransigence, they'd get Obambi, and he'd fold like bad hand of 7-card stud.

    Instead, they got Shaka Obama!

    LOL - they figured, with a still sh*tty economy, this years Presidential would be like the early '60's Packers playing a home game against Dwight D. Eisenhower Junior High School football team.
    And that 'Mitt The Uber-Capitalist,' would let them gain in the House, and bring home the Senate in his coat-tails.

    Stand by on November 7th for wailing, gnashing of the teeth, and rending of the hair and garments, that would make the Trojan Women tell them to chill the feck out!

  • Basilsc on October 01, 2012 10:42 AM:

    Bloomberg: "Manufacturing in U.S. expands unexpectedly as orders rise" (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-01/ism-index-of-u-s-manufacturing-increased-to-51-5-in-september.html)

    The ISM number was 51.5, vs 49.7 expected and 49.6 in August. A number over 50 indicates that a majority of the surveyed manufacturers reported better conditions in Sept.

    Also, "The employment index advanced to a three-month high of 54.7 from an almost three-year low of 51.6 the prior month. The gain from August was the biggest since October 2009".

    Friday might end up being a pretty good day.

  • Ronald on October 01, 2012 11:03 AM:

    The phrase 'The boy who cried wolf' has been coming to my mind a lot recently regarding Republican hyperbole.

    This has been the biggest danger for the Republican party in this election cycle- losing control of the message. It has already been a terribly rough ride in that regard for that party.

    But now with so much cross-messaging, or lack of detail, or etch-a-sketch, or whatever, any sort of significant message is getting washed away.

    How long into the debate before Romney contradicts a prior version of himself? How long after the debate will his spokesperson hold a press conference to say, "What Mr. Romney really meant was..."

    I think the economic news has been getting a lot more weight in the press lately than its true value. I believe the economy, while important to many people, has already been factored into their decision.

  • liam foote on October 01, 2012 12:21 PM:

    Many will recall that on the first side of the 1974 album by Brian Eno entitled "Here Come the Warm Jets" appeared the song, "The Paw Paw Negro Blow Torch."

  • sgetti on October 01, 2012 1:19 PM:

    Don't forget "Driving Me Backwards" and on the flip side:"Blank Frank" and "Dead Finks Don't Talk". Eno is a genius. And Roxy Music owes a lot to him.