His boss stepped in a deep pile of it -- then desperately backtracked -- on Friday, so this line of questioning was 100 percent inevitable on the Sunday morning chat shows. Like any spinmeister worth his salt, Axe was prepared for Candy Crowley's excruciating cross-examination, equipped with unresponsive talking points and a condescending smirk:
Axelrod didn't have much of a choice here -- he had to reiterate what the president meant to say at his presser scorned 'round the world: That the real problem in our economy is an enervated public sector. After a failed $825 billion "stimulus" package and last week's taxpayer re-revolt against entrenched government sector interests in Wisconsin, I'm don't expect the public at large to be very receptive to those claims. Jim Pethokoukis argues that reality dissents from the Obama-Axelrod government-centric argument, as well. He points to Washington's record spending as evidence, and laments the sputtering private sector -- which Obama seems to think is in pretty good shape. The Wall Street Journal lays bare Obama's irreparably distorted thinking:
GDP growth in the first quarter was a measly 1.9%, revised down from an initial 2.2%. The President's response is to say as his first policy priority that the federal government should borrow or tax more so it can then finance more hiring by state and local governments. Spur the economy by growing the size of government...The fair if depressing takeaway from Mr. Obama's press conference is that he continues to believe, despite three and a half years of failure, that more government spending is the key to faster growth and that government really doesn't need to reform. This is how you get a jobless rate above 8% for 40 months and the weakest economic recovery in 60 years.
Indeed, Obama's grand solution to solving the ailing economy (the private sector excepted, of course) is to press for further government "investments." And his supporters will loudly denounce the "Republican Congress" for "obstructing" his terrible ideas. That message probably won't fly, but what other options do they have? Effective attacks on the opposition have been few and far between for the Left over the last several weeks. On that point, ABC News' Rick Klein says Obama's lost his mojo:
First went the mood. Next, the muscle failed. Finally, to close out a horrific week for President Obama’s reelection bid, went the message. The first week of June began with a monthly jobs report that solidified a sense of an anemic economic recovery. Then a Democratic loss in Wisconsin, coupled with staggering Romney campaign fundraising figures, revealed the strength of political organization on the right. The week was punctuated by the most prominent voice in the party short of the president himself undercutting key Obama campaign messaging. To round out the rough patch, the president tried to turn the story lines around, but wound up delivering the kind of line that’s tailor-made for his opponents to make famous. “The private sector is doing fine,” President Obama said Friday, at a press conference organized because it most certainly isn’t, at least in the minds of most Americans...This was about more than losing a few news cycles, or inspiring a few Web videos. Taken together, the beginning of June 2012 may be remembered as a time period that shook the pillars of the Obama reelection effort. If nothing else, it’s shown the 2012 landscape to be so different from 2008 as to make assumptions based on four years ago seem worthless.
Klein is undeniably correct in his analysis that last week was particularly dismal for Team Obama. Then again, The One only trails Romney by a single point nationally, according to Gallup's latest tracking poll (though it's true that polling tends to be a lagging indicator at times). Winning a week -- or two, or three -- in May and June certainly helps fortify the sense that Romney has a real shot at taking this election, but conservatives shouldn't get ahead of themselves. The road to November will be long and treacherous.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography