Friday, August 17, 2012
Memo to David Axelrod: This chart does not help
Today's example comes to us from Facebook, an open sewer of dubious political content in this silly season, more foul and fetid with each passing day. I'm afraid I can't identify the originator of this doozy; I wish I could.
I can pretty much guarantee that this really didn't originate with the Obama reelection camp -- but it does seem to have come from a true believer that Mr. Axelrod may want to rein in, and soon.
Look, I was as happy as the next guy that Osama bin Laden got taken out, but I was deeply troubled by how and where it happened, as I wrote at the time. And, since then, far too much information has come out about the specifics of the raid, to the point where American operatives or sympathizers were certainly endangered. Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani physician, for example, was jailed in his homeland because of his alleged role in identifying bin Laden's hideout. The linked New York Times article (from May 23, 2012, by Ismail Khan) says Dr. Afridi was given a 33-year sentence by a tribal court "under a British-era regulation for frontier crimes that, unlike the national criminal code, does not carry the death penalty for treason. Under Pakistani penal law, Dr. Afridi almost certainly would have received the death penalty, a Pakistani lawyer said."
The alleged exposure of Dr. Afridi was reckless, at best, and, at worst, a cynical sacrifice of an American sympathizer on the altar of the President's reelection campaign. Indeed, the quantity and detail of the post-raid disclosures, smacks of thoughless election year cynicism.
But these objections are, I realize, too subtle for Facebook users. Let's get more basic, shall we? The Dow Jones Average is not expressed with a dollar sign.
That the DJA has recovered, largely, since the height of the market crash shows only that the privileged few were able to right their yachts and sail on ahead. The government bailouts worked well for those too big to fail -- and the big banks paid the government back by jacking up fees and costs and interest rates on credit card customers. This was a good thing?
Nor does the supposedly robust DJA support the basic premise of the chart, namely, that the Great Recession has ended on Mr. Obama's watch.
Where has it ended? (Except, perhaps, on Wall Street?)
If Mr. Obama's reelection depends on proving that the Great Recession is finally over, he'd better start dusting off the furniture in Kenwood, because he'll be back in Chicago by the end of January.
I hope Mr. Axelrod has a better reelection strategy than claiming the Republicans hate Grandma and speculating about Mitt Romney's tax returns -- but this chart sure isn't any help.