Paul Greenberg
How to make a silk purse: First you hand Barack Obama a sow's ear. He'll explain it may look pretty bad, but it's really pretty good. Like the latest jobs report, which only an incumbent president could profess to love. Here's how this president presents it: "Today we learned that after losing around 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, business once again added jobs for the 30th month in a row, a total of 4.6 million jobs."

Maybe we were all supposed to cheer and applaud at that point, as if we were at the Democrats' national convention and believed every word of it. And -- above all -- not look too closely at the numbers being thrown around.

The actual number of new jobs added to this still sputtering economy last month was only 96,000 compared to the 125,000 that ever-hopeful analysts had predicted, and well below the still minimal 139,000 a month the nation's economy had been adding so far this year. At this rate, the great recovery sounds more like a lingering recession.

But to hear Barack Obama tell it, Happy Days Are Here Again! It just doesn't feel like it for some reason. Mainly because they aren't.

But never mind that. If we'll all just be patient and keep swallowing Dr. Obama's patent medicine, all will soon be well. To borrow a line from Herbert Hoover, prosperity is just around the corner.

All that's needed is a few more bailouts, Solyndra deals, another dose of crony capitalism in general, and more stimulus packages that somehow never stimulate ... and no matter what numbers result, this president can cite them selectively enough to show that the economy is making great strides. Even if it's still stumbling. Or even falling backwards. He's very good at talking about jobs. Much better than he is at creating them.

The president does have a point. If only one. There's no disputing that the country was entering the trough of a great recession -- The Great Recession, some call it -- when he entered office. But after almost four years of Dr. Obama's ministrations, there's also no disputing that the country hasn't quite come out of it. The patient's fever may have broken, but he remains weak, wobbly, a shell of his former self.

The president and his ever-shifting team of economic advisers have got statistics galore to prove how successful their treatments have been. Only success itself eludes them.

How many more Recovery Summers do you think it'll take before the economy recovers? Your guess is as good as mine, and probably better than Team Obama's. For if this president really were succeeding, he wouldn't be shaking up his team so often, replacing one set of well-forgotten economic advisers with another, equally forgettable lot.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.