There was more good news about the economy today. The Conference Board announced that consumer confidence is now at its highest level since May 2002. Yet, on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” host Chris Matthews just couldn’t admit on television – with people watching – that the economy is actually doing well. Instead, he stuttered, stammered, and referred to the current economic condition as “not terrible.” Yep. 4.8 percent unemployment and 17 straight quarters of positive economic growth in Matthews’ view is “not terrible.”
In a segment featuring Pat Buchanan and former Clinton transportation secretary Rodney Slater, the threesome were discussing potential changes in the administration now that Andy Card has stepped down as the president’s chief of staff. Buchanan said:
“I would not be surprised to see a change, frankly, at secretary of the treasury. I mean, John Snow was -- I think he was treated very badly at the beginning of the second term, but it`s quite clear somebody is not selling the president`s economic policy when times are relatively good in macroeconomic terms, and about 35 percent of the country think he`s handling the economy well.”
Matthews turned to Slater and asked: “Why do you think that is, Mr. Secretary? Why do you think the president, who has got a (stammer, stutter) -- not a terrible economy, in fact, better than it was -- gets no credit for it in the polling?”
And folks wonder why people tell pollsters the economy is doing poorly. After all, television hosts like Matthews can’t even bring themselves to refer to the current economic condition as anything better than “not terrible” when the cameras are rolling.