Rep. Guinta Illustrates Why It's Getting Harder And Harder For GOP To Spin Jobs Numbers
With new jobs numbers rounding out a full year of small but steady improvement in the unemployment picture, congressional Republicans are finding it increasingly difficult to straddle the divide between the slowly improving economy and their insistence that the President Obama's policies are ineffective. When MSNBC's Martin Bashir challenged Tea Party freshman Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) over that disconnect earlier today, Guinta's deliberate avoidance of giving the president credit ended up being a perfect illustration of the politically driven incoherence of the standard GOP line.
BASHIR: We've had some further good news on the jobs front today, with unemployment heading downward, manufacturing on the rise. Is that not a sign that this president's policies are working, and are you, as a self-confessed Tea Partier, are you prepared to give the president some credit?
GUINTA: Well look, I'll give anybody credit who's working toward the goal and objective of creating jobs and creating a strong economy—
BASHIR: So will you now give the president some credit for these consistent improvements in unemployment over the last six months?
GUINTA: Well, I'm not sure how consistent it's been yet, Martin. I'd like to see a full quarter—
BASHIR: Well, unemployment is at its lowest rate in three year. That's how consistent it's been.
GUINTA: Well, except it's still at eight and a half percent, which is significantly higher than what a historical average is.
BASHIR: I accept that, but these are the facts, sir. Will you give the president some credit?
GUINTA: I'll give the president for trying. I don't agree with a lot of the policies he's put in place, and that's what this election's going to be about. And I think you will see, ultimately, more than just the unemployment number be the focus. Look, we still have people who are underemployed around the country and in New Hampshire. People having to work three jobs to make the same wage that they were making three years ago. That doesn't mean our economy is strong and vibrant yet. We've got to get to that point where it's strong and vibrant.
Guinta doesn't — he can't — deny that the economy is improving, but he maintains that he has legitimate cause for complaint about the president's policies because the economy is not "strong and vibrant yet," and that the unemployment rate, despite its decline, remains "higher than what a historical average is." The fact that we are emerging from the worst recession since the Great Depression is lost on Guinta, who seems to contend that only a perfect economy constitutes success — improvement, even consistent, measurable improvement, counts for nothing (except credit for "trying").