On Obama & the Private Sector, Chris Shays is Fundamentally Dishonest. Nobody Can Argue With That.

This is what Barack Obama said at today’s White House press conference:

We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months. Over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing problems is with state and local government, often with cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help they’re accustomed to from the federal government.

This is how it’s being reported:

Obama: “The Private Sector Is Doing Fine”

Here’s a typical reaction by a member of the DC press corps:

Well, no. Obama was locating the problem with the economy, while McCain was denying there was a problem. It’s like if one doctor says “the patient is fundamentally healthy,” while the other doctor says “the patient’s lungs are doing fine, it’s her lymph nodes where the cancer is located.”

Now, predictably, the Republicans are jumping on board. That doesn’t surprise me, but this one takes a lot of chutzpah:

Without any first name, we have to assume Memoli is referring to Republican Christopher Shays, former Congressman and current candidate for Senate in Connecticut. A craven comment isn’t surprising from Shays, one of the most craven politicians I’ve ever encountered. [Disclosure, in 2008, I managed Jim Himes' winning campaign against Shays.] But what makes this claim remarkable is what Shays said on Labor Day of 2008, after we had already entered the recession and were on the verge of a collapse of the world financial system:

Our economy is fundamentally strong. No one can argue with that.

I’ve worked in politics for a long time now, but I’m still occasionally shocked at politicians incapable of self-awareness and unbothered by falsely accusing others of failures that are their own. But that’s part of human nature, and hoping for it to be different is pointless.

But we should try to hold our press to higher standards. If we had a better White House press corps and national media we wouldn’t have such shoddy “reporting” and dissemination of bullshit “narratives” rife with the political reporter’s laziest trope, the false equivalency. That’s bad. But serving as a conduit for craven politicians who themselves have done that which you’re falsely accusing another politician of doing is a couple orders of magnitude worse. And unfortunately, in this case, the media will probably be a conduit for Shays, and will never expose his hypocrisy.

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