Longtime readers are probably aware that I despair over the fact that the only time the media bothers to cover the nation's massive unemployment crisis is when they can report that it's a potential problem for the reelection prospects of politicians.
It's a much bigger problem for the people who are unemployed, obviously! But there's going to be no respite from this jobless phenomenon from here until November 2012, so I suppose I'll have to lie back and try to be appreciative of articles such as this one by the Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray, titled "Job Picture Set to Test Obama in Key States."
The nation's high joblessness, already a problem for President Barack Obama as he seeks re-election next year, is shaping up to be a particular burden in a handful of key swing states where the unemployment rate is above the national average.
In four states that may prove key to the Obama re-election strategy -- Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Michigan -- the jobless picture is bleak. In three of the four, the rate tops 10%.
Congratulations to Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Michigan! You are in the throes of a terrible downturn, but the good news is that you are part of the battleground. So, you have that going for you. Someone will be coming to tell you that they care, and might you consider voting for them?
Of course, if the unemployment rate were, say, 6 percent in those states, they would still be part of the battleground, because these states are always considered battleground states. And, of course, there's rampant unemployment in places that aren't considered the "battleground." So, yes, there's a certain senselessness to this, but that's campaign coverage for you!
As Murray reports, President Barack Obama is scheduled to make appearances in Florida and North Carolina. Which is nice, I guess? Of course, for the moment, he has other business attend to:
Last month, Mr. Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, traveled to New York for back-to-back meetings with Wall Street donors, ending at the home of Marc Lasry, a prominent hedge fund manager, to court donors close to Mr. Obama's onetime rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. And Mr. Obama will return to New York this month to dine with bankers, hedge fund executives and private equity investors at the Upper East Side restaurant Daniel.
"The first goal was to get recognition that the administration has led the economy from an unimaginably difficult place to where we are today," said Blair W. Effron, an investment banker closely involved in Mr. Obama's fund-raising efforts. "Now the second goal is to turn that into support."
Yes, unemployed people, the President is coming to your states but first he has to make sure the people of Wall Street get personal assurances for that time he ... um ... made them extremely profitable and ensured the passage of only some very light regulation? Oh, well, according to Nicholas Confessore, Obama once referred to these people who nearly destroyed the economy as "fat cats," so apologies must be made, I guess.
As Kevin Drum points out, "After all, even weak financial reforms are more annoying than no financial reforms, which is what Republicans are offering -- along with soothing reassurances that Wall Street's masters of the universe had nothing to do with the financial crisis, no matter what that mean Mr. Obama keeps saying." Which makes you wonder what the point of courting Wall Street is at all. It looks to me like accepting any form of regulation in order to prevent another financial crisis is only the sort of thing that you'd do if you loved your country, or something.
Of course, in the background hovers last week's "Maybe everyone would accept Raj Date at the CFPB instead of Elizabeth Warren, because Raj used to work at a bank" trial balloon, which tells me that the Obama administration would rather be well-liked than feared. So maybe places like Michigan are "battlegrounds" because a lot of people lost their jobs, in some kind of battle, that's now over.
I guess this is a pretty bad time to be connecting all of these dots, but then, it's a pretty bad time right now for a lot of people.