Two things I have always appreciated about 2012 Presidential Candidate Mr Mitt Romney. Firstly, during an interview with BBC World at the time of his presidential campaign, he mentioned that he had read ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ over the summer, the excellent non-fiction history book about the European colonisation of America by Jared Diamond, the professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, which is one of my favourite reads of all time.
Secondly, after losing to Mr Barack Obama for the Presidency, he bowed out gracefully and, during a lengthy period of time, gave no comment on the Democratic White House. Respect.
The same cannot be said about Ms Hillary Clinton who, except for a week to recover from her loss in 2016 to US President Donald Trump, has been criticizing the White House ever since.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Former President Obama on why he declined to speak at University of Illinois' 2017 commencement: "The truth was, I was also intent on following a wise American tradition of ex- presidents gracefully exiting the political stage and making room for new voices and new ideas." <a href="https://t.co/ocK8xgrej3">pic.twitter.com/ocK8xgrej3</a></p>— CBS News (@CBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/1038098083605823490?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">7 September 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
And now, it seems that even former President Barack Obama is joining in the criticism of Mr Trump’s White House.
Mr Obama, keen on getting the Democratic Party to recover from losing both the presidency and both houses of government during the Midterms, gave a lengthy speech at the University of Illinois on Friday in which he seemed to be fishing for credit of the ‘Trump economy.’
Mr Obama stated, and we quote: “When you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.”
“When you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on… when the job numbers come out … suddenly Republicans are saying, ‘It’s a miracle.'”
“I have to kind of remind them, actually those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016.”
From a mathematical point, this is untrue. The Trump economy is nearing 4% growth, a figure never reached by the Obama administration.
Given that during those years economic growth never got out of the 2% region, low in a recovery, famous New York Times columnist Mr Paul Krugman came up with a new term to help the then White House Administration called “secular stagnation” in order to explain that we would be in a new era of slow growth as from that moment on and there was nothing that could change the situation.
However, both Mr Krugman, who still writes for the NYT, and Mr Obama apparently forget about their past quotes.
Mr Krugman famously argued, one day after Mr Trump’s election, that he feared the US stock market would fall by 50%. Fast forward 2 years since 2016 and it is quite the opposite direction. Though he never fully backtracked, he has indeed since offered a slight nuancing of his words, saying that he was ‘overcome with passion’ in the first few days.
However, Mr Obama seems to forget how he warned against a possible Trump presidency throughout the summer of 2016, along with practically everyone else. Most explicitly it was during a lengthy rant at the North American Leaders' Summit in Ottawa, Canada in June of 2016 when he criticized the then Republican candidate Trump as the candidate who "has never shown any regard for workers, has never fought on behalf of social-justice issues or making sure that poor kids are getting a decent shot at life.”
Mr Obama, during that same speech also accused Trump of working against "economic opportunity for workers and ordinary people."
Therefore, dear former President Obama, to be now wanting credit for the ‘economic miracle’ that happened since is, as the history buff I am, ‘a bridge too far.’
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