The good news that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent is particularly bad news for Mitt Romney, whose gloom-and-doom campaign message has been that only he can turn around President Obama's economic disaster. That's a harder case to make when the economy is already turning around.
Republicans were uncharacteristically slow to respond to Friday's jobs news, as BuzzFeed's Zeke MIller notes, and when they did they contained notes of, well, something other than the usual despair at American decline. House Speaker John Boehner lambasted Senate Democrats for not doing enough, but even he had to acknowledge "“There are flickers of hope in our recovery and certainly they’re welcome." Romney stuck to his guns, arguing that Obama had “prevented a true recovery," which seems to give the incumbent at least some credit for a fake recovery.
It's quite a change from the message that he'd been pushing, which could be summarized by Monica's advice to Rachel on the first episode of Friends a million years ago: "Welcome to the real world. It sucks."
Romney kicked off his candidacy with a bunch of ruin porn -- speeches and ads featuring abandoned factories and strip malls with trees growing out of windows. Earlier this month, Romney was discussing putting commercials on public television with a West Palm Beach crowd when he said, "I like Big Bird." But, he added, more in bleakness than in anger, "I'm afraid Big Bird is going to have to get used to Kellogg's Corn Flakes." Romney wasn't really cheering advertising cereal to children, just that Sesame Street needs to accept that the world's the kind of place where children don't get to sit and watch TV without someone blaring commercials at them every eight minutes. The world sucks and we're going to love it.
"Of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after the recession. There’s always a recovery. There’s never been a time anywhere in the world where an economy has never recovered. The question is how is recovered by virtue of something the president has done or has he delayed the recovery and made it more painful? And the latter, of course, is the truth."