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Mitch McConnell and the GOP Trying to Take Credit for the Economic Recovery

If voters knew that electing a GOP Senate was so intrinsically tied to an improved economy, why didn't they give the Senate to the Republicans two or three elections ago? Why wait?
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Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn

It had to happen eventually. For the last six years, the congressional Republicans have filibustered and obstructed every economic policy the Obama administration has initiated. In spite of the opposition, these policies have helped to yank the nation out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, creating nearly 11 million jobs in 57 months while tripling the Dow, reducing the deficit and generally improving most economic indicators to levels not seen since the 1990s.

The GOP did everything they could to flummox the recovery, knowing it would help the president and the Democrats. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated quite clearly at the outset of the administration that his primary goal wasn't to pitch in on the economy, but instead to make Obama a one-term president.

But now that the economy has improved in spite of those efforts, guess who's revising history and demanding credit?

Mitch McConnell, of course. Yesterday, in the face of reality and years of statistics, McConnell said:

After so many years of sluggish growth, we're finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope; the uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama Administration's long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress. So this is precisely the right time to advance a positive, pro-growth agenda.

Staggering that the Majority Leader is allowed to be this utterly moronic.

First of all, the economy didn't just all of a sudden improve. In the absence of, say, a World War, it doesn't work like that. The economy has been slowly and steadily improving since March of 2009, exactly coinciding with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus, which McConnell and his caucus voted against and have repeatedly demonized as a socialistic failure.

Secondly, since when did voter expectations have anything to do with job creation or GDP growth? Unless voters have been anticipating 2014's GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate ever since 2009, when the economy began to recover, it's impossible for McConnell's analysis to be true. It doesn't make a lick of sense. There's only been talk of the Democrats losing the Senate in the past 10 months or so, which means the recovery had to have only started in 2014, rather than six years ago when every chart, every nonpartisan analysis and every statistic shows the recovery actually began. But there really wasn't any guarantee the GOP would take the Senate until a month or so prior to the midterms.

If voters knew that electing a GOP Senate was so intrinsically tied to an improved economy, why didn't they give the Senate to the Republicans two or three elections ago? Why wait?

And finally, if this recovery has only taken place in the last 10 months (or less), then why were the Republicans screeching about the disastrous Obama economy throughout 2014, what with the president's "job-killing" Obamacare law and so forth. Speaking of which, one of the items being praised as a positive economic indicator recently is news of a record low number of uninsured Americans due to the dreaded Obamacare. We can unequivocally say that this had nothing to do with the Republicans or McConnell.

By way of a brief recap, here's McConnell's assessment of the economy prior to November's midterm election:

January 2014: Record numbers of long-term unemployed, record numbers on food stamps, people losing their health care plans, others seeing the premiums shoot up when they can least afford it. And now, another call for a government fix. Washington Democrats have shown almost no interest for five years in working together on ways to create the kind of good, stable, high-paying jobs that people really want and need.

September 2014: Thanks in no small part to this administration’s endless regulations and threats, Eastern Kentucky is today suffering through an economic depression. Thousands of jobs have been lost, and thousands more are in jeopardy.

November 2014: Our economy can’t take the President’s ideological War on Coal that will increase the squeeze on middle-class families and struggling miners. This unrealistic plan, that the President would dump on his successor, would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs.

But we're to believe that BLAM! all of those alleged disasters suddenly improved when everyone realized the GOP was going to sweep the midterms? Wow, that's, what's the word? Insane. As Steve Benen wrote, it's difficult to know which is worse: the fact that McConnell believes this to be true, or that he expects the rest of us to buy this hogwash.

Just wait. It's only a matter of time before they take credit for Obamacare.