Sen. McConnell: "There's No Denying" That Obama's Policies "Made A Bad Situation Worse"

November 02, 2011 11:35 am ET — Alan Pyke

Republicans love to say that President Obama's policies have made the economy worse, a charge made most famously by Mitt Romney (who said it, then denied having said it, then went back to saying it). The claim requires you to forget the crippling recession that was still unfolding when President Obama took office, but that's never stopped the GOP.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) went back to the "made it worse" well this morning on the Senate floor, citing the net loss of 1.5 million jobs since Obama signed the Recovery Act one month into his term. "There's no denying the fact that the policies of the past two and a half years have made a bad situation worse," he said.

MCCONNELL: There's no denying the fact that the policies of the past two and a half years have made a bad situation worse. For two and a half years the Democrats completely dominated this town. They got everything they wanted, and what happened? Unemployment has hovered around 8 percent for 32 months, the so-called Misery Index is worse than it's been in 25 years, actually unemployment's hovered around 9 percent, consumer confidence is at levels last seen during the height of the financial crisis, but if there's one number that really stands out it's this: 1.5 million. That's the number of fewer jobs we now have in this country since the day President Obama signed his signature jobs bill into law.

McConnell used this criticism to justify opposition to the president's American Jobs Act, which makes political sense given the GOP's coordinated prebuttal to Obama's speech announcing that bill relied upon the "made it worse" line. It does not, however, make any other kind of sense.

Obama took over in late January 2009, and signed the Recovery Act in February 2009. In those two months alone, the economy shed over 1.5 million jobs. March and April saw another 1.4 million layoffs combined. McConnell's key piece of statistical evidence — the "one number that really stands out" in his case against the American Jobs Act — ignores the severity of the ongoing job losses from the recession President Bush left behind.

Here's a statistic: The private sector, which conservatives insist is the truest measure of the jobs market, has added over 2.5 million jobs since it bottomed out in February 2010. The Senate GOP boss is quietly blaming Obama for every single job lost in the Bush recession, while giving him no credit for those gains. There's no denying that his argument is absurd.