Also on the issue of perceptions, Jonah Goldberg muses on President Bush getting no credit for the strong economy. Rather than get too upset about the unfairness of it all, Goldberg goes in a different direction:
So here’s where I hope to find a pony amidst all the manure. The idea that any White House “creates” jobs is absurd and always has been. Alas, there is no machine in the West Wing basement churning out job openings for welders and ophthalmologists. The $12 trillion American economy is too big, too diverse and too complicated for the government to “run.” Sure, economic policy matters, but the crude standard often used by politicians, political reporters and Hollywood betrays their belief in the cult of governmental power. On the (finally) canceled TV show The West Wing, the economy was like some giant machine humming along, as long as the right man was at the controls. It doesn’t work like that. If Bush’s plight helps Americans recognize this, the pasting might be worth it.I get where he is going with this argument and I understand that there are space limitations for op-eds, but let's be clear that while the government can't run the economy, it can certainly effect it through taxes, restrictions, regulations, and so on. Goldberg's absolutely right not to put everything on presidents, but that doesn't mean we can't put anything on them.