In case you missed it, the February jobs report on Friday contained some encouraging news. National Journal’s Michael Hirsh wrote that the BLS numbers gave President Obama “what he’s wanted for four years: an unemployment rate that’s below where he started as president, 7.7 percent.” But Hirsh was guarded in his optimism, also acknowledging that “things are not really as good as the numbers suggest, and they are all but certain to get worse.”
No such considerations entered into the mind of Chris Matthews Friday night when he wondered aloud on “Hardball” when Republicans were going finally make sure that Obama got “credit for this amazing economy that’s coming back.”
Matthews also suggested darkly that Republicans were rooting for economic failure even though he earlier during the Bush years bristled at the suggestion that Democrats were hoping the Iraq war would fail. Apparently questioning people’s patriotism is ok now.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Coming up, when is President Obama going to get some credit—and this is like Rodney Dangerfield, when’s he going to get some credit for this amazing economy that’s coming back? It definitely is coming back, maybe not like gangbusters, but the unemployment rate really dropped again today, and there really are a quarter-million new jobs out there, it really is amazing. And the stock market for the rich is going through the roof.
When’s this guy going to get some respect? Republicans, when are they going to set a standard, ‘OK, if he gets to this number, we’ll love him.’ You ought to ask this question. Will they ever admit he’s doing a good job? [...]
It seems to me when I look at the stock market breaking all records, when I look at 236,000 new jobs and I keep thinking when are the Republicans going to do what Rodney Dangerfield asked for all those years, ‘show a little respect.’ And what does this all mean? Don’t they secretly say ‘damn it, things are getting better!’ I mean what are they saying when they read this stuff? [...]
The old line, you’re younger than me, Joy, too, you may not have heard this one either: “If you want to live like a Republican, vote like a Democrat.” It’s not true that people have better times, better life existences under Republicans.
Reality, however, is not quite as clearcut as the cheering Matthews would have Americans believe. The report itself quantifies how grim things are. While 236,000 Americans found jobs in February, 296,000 stopped looking. Once an unemployed person has run through 99 weeks of unemployment compensation, moreover, he no longer exists in the eyes of the Labor Department’s statisticians, and is thus no longer counted as unemployed.
The “Hardball” segment also featured Matthews cheering it up with fellow liberal Democrats Joy Reid of TheGrio.com and Michael Crowley of Time magazine. Video of the cheer session is below: