POTUS (the President of the United States) is pouting over the re-election of PM Netanyahu. He withheld his congratulatory phone call to Netanyahu for two days. By comparison, Obama called Iran’s Rouhani immediately, perhaps even before the polls closed. Netanyahu received the al-Sisi treatment, another leader who is disfavored by the White House and received the two-day delayed phone call.

There is something perversely delightful in observing the irrational anger in the administration and among Jews on the far left of the political spectrum on Israel’s election results. Granted, millions of dollars were wasted trying to unseat Netanyahu and augment the vote of the Israeli Arabs – some of that, disgracefully, US taxpayer dollars. Watching another’s tantrum is often amusing and it doesn’t seem to abate. The commentators and activists who hide their anti-Israel animus behind their Jewish genes – the Friedman’s, Klein’s and J Street’s of the world – are nearly apoplectic.

It is sort of funny – the irrationality of it all, especially considering the number of dictators and thugs with whom Obama plays footsie – but Obama can still be dangerous.

Now, the threats against Israel are mounting. As predicted here last month, the US will soon recognize a Palestinian state and seek a UN Resolution that enshrines in international law that amputation of the Jewish homeland. Obama is simply using the Netanyahu’s re-election as an excuse to execute one of his cherished goals.

The two pretexts that Obama and the left have seized on were comments made by Netanyahu in the days before and on the day of the election. Last week, he was said to have walked back his support of a “Palestinian” state by saying that such would not happen as long as he was prime minister. For sure, one can see that the ambiguous language used was designed to win him votes from right-wingers who otherwise would have voted for the “Jewish Home.” If one parses his words, Netanyahu was not saying that he was “against” a Palestinian state, but rather that such would not happen while he was prime minister – not because he personally opposes it but because the conditions he placed on the creation of such a state would not occur while he is prime minister. There are no Arab interlocutors who would agree to a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Add to that the radicalization of the Middle East, now well under way, that has brought radical Islam to the gates of Israel – and the dominance of the genocidal Hamas in Gaza and ISIS just over the border – and anyone with sense realizes that conditions are not ripe for the creation of an irredentist Arab state in Israel’s heartland. Big shock.

But that statement sent the White House into paroxysms of rage. Rather than attribute the statement to a campaign ploy, Obama went into rhetorical overdrive, and his minions began threatening Israel with dire consequences. How ironic – how drippingly cynical is it – that Obama, of all people, is complaining about the effect of misleading rhetoric. Apparently what Netanyahu should have said on the eve of Election Day was this: “If you like your peace process you can keep your peace process.” Indeed, keep it.

Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech from 2009 in which he unilaterally reversed a campaign pledge (hey, there’s a tactic Obama could appreciate) and endorsed a Palestinian state was a mistake, but a tactical mistake. Netanyahu today operates based on a formula that much of the world – even much of the Arab world – tacitly but never explicitly supports: favor the establishment of a Palestinian state in theory but not in practice. From my perspective this too is a mistake – you don’t offer your divinely-given patrimony to others because you are effectively renouncing your rights to it – but at least it has strategic value. Indeed, that tactic has worked for five years, as the hatred of the Palestinians for Israel is so intense and unhinged that they have repeatedly rejected the two-state fantasy.

But the diplomatic outrage itself is so contrived as to be farcical. Conventional wisdom is that Israel has walked back from the Oslo Accords and refused to implement the clause calling for a “Palestinian” state. But – note this well – the Oslo Accords did not guarantee or even offer the Arabs of the land of Israel a second “Palestinian” state. (Jordan remains the first.) Yitzchak Rabin opposed a Palestinian state, and he thought – perhaps foolishly – that he could thwart those desires by offering self-rule and Israeli withdrawal.

Nor is support for a “Palestinian” state long-standing Israeli or American policy – exactly the opposite. Until two decades ago, the mainstream of Israeli politics – both Likud and Labor – opposed a Palestinian state. In the 1970’s, none other than Shimon Peres himself equated the creation of a “Palestinian” state with the destruction of Israel. So did Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin and of course Yitzchak Shamir. It was a sign of bad faith, fatal to the electoral hopes of any Israeli politician. It was assumed that a second “Palestinian” state would lead to Israel’s demise.

Israeli politics has changed but the basic equation remains the same. The assumption of the 1970’s is as true today as it was then. There is not a shred of evidence indicating otherwise, notwithstanding the pronouncements of Israeli politicians or the blathering of the liberal left in the American Jewish community.

American diplomacy also opposed a Palestinian state for decades. Jimmy Carter publicly opposed a Palestinian state (in private he was adamant about it, and was studiously ignored by both Begin and Anwar Sadat). Ronald Reagan was opposed, as was George Bush I. Bill Clinton was opposed, at least until the Israeli left started to weaken and permeate Israeli society with their weakness. It was George Bush II – with the acquiescence of Israel – who officially endorsed a Palestinian state on June 24, 2002 – the same letter in which he endorsed the retention of Israeli settlements in any agreement. As noted here, that part of the letter was renounced by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So, tantalizing question, why can the Americans change their minds about paragraph seven of the letter and deem it no longer binding, but Israel cannot do the same about paragraph three of the same letter?

Some questions are only answered by references to double standards and anti-Jewish bias.

Support for a Palestinian state is therefore a relatively new diplomatic phenomenon. More importantly, the Arabs of the land of Israel have consistently rejected this offer – most notably from Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2007. Spend one day in law school, and you will learn that an offer that is rejected is construed as revoked. Israeli concessions do not remain on the table for eternity and certainly not embarrassing concessions that trifle with the sanctity and inviolability of the land of Israel. Finesse it all you want with diplomatese, but it is quite reasonable to maintain that that Israeli offer has been withdrawn in light of the new and catastrophic strategic environment in the Middle East.

Arabs: you didn’t accept the offer when it was made – repeatedly – so that house you wanted was sold to the settler down the street.

The second Obama pretext was Netanyahu’s Election Day warning to his constituents that Arabs are voting in “droves” and his supporters must get to the polls. Racist? Hardly. It did frustrate the Obama team’s efforts to so discredit Netanyahu that his base would stay home; hence the feigned anger. But, hey, that’s hardball politics, with which the Obama team is very familiar. Those who equate producing photo ID’s at the American voting booth (by the way, the law in Israel!) with suppression of the black vote (!) cannot in good faith claim that a call for one’s voters to vote because one bloc inimical to Israel’s national interests is voting in large numbers is racist.

And wasn’t Obama the one who told a black audience (August 14, 2012) that if Romney was elected, they would “put y’all back in chains?” No, it was actually Joe Biden, but Obama’s White House said that they saw nothing wrong in Biden’s remark. And he’s complaining about Netanyahu exhorting Likud voters to vote? It is difficult to stomach a White House that uses self-righteous, phony outrage as a fig leaf for its Jew hatred. Both are execrable.

What is as clear as the hostility of Barack Obama to Israel is the panic among liberal American Jews. I recall quite well being pilloried for my public opposition to Oslo by liberal Jews and their organizations for “opposing the will of the lawfully elected government of Israel.” Hmmm… Will these same Jews and their organizations now defy President Obama – risking their invitations to the White House, photo ops and other perks – by supporting the duly elected Prime Minister of Israel? Will they lovingly embrace – as they should – a Foreign Minister Naftali Bennett?

Or will they persist in their defense of Obama?  That Jews can be fooled is obvious. That Jews allow themselves to be fooled is even more obvious. That some Jews beg to be fooled is obvious and sad.

It is crunch time for Jewish identity in America. The Reform and Conservative movements have already denounced PM Netanyahu. The Orthodox organizations are still strangely, sadly silent. The land of Israel is under attack, and the people of Israel – and its leaders – have been marked by this administration as global enemy number one. How will those Jews respond? With cowering and double talk, or with pride and outspokenness?

If the latter, then the Netanyahu re-election could not only be good for Israel but it could also spark a revival of Jewish identity and a deeper connection with Israel among all Jews, especially those whose bonds with Jewish life are fraying. That itself could hasten the process of redemption, the only clear and certain way out of the morass.

Until then, let POTUS be POUTUS – but let Jews state firmly and unequivocally that the land of Israel was given to the people of Israel by the G-d of Israel, and no president or prime minister can change that.

64 responses to “POTUS or POUTUS

  1. Right on the money. Great article.

  2. there always have been Jewish traitors,but those who continue to support Obama are the worst traitors in Jewish history.

  3. Well, I think there have been worse. This is blindness more than treason.

    • What are we blind to?

      • To this: Obama is not a leader but an ideologue who does not let facts – or the law – get in the way of his ideology. Hence the disasters of health care, jobs, economy, Keystone pipeline, limitation on Alaska oil drilling, response to terror (workplace violence, anyone?), excuses for radical Islam, bias against Israel, and above all America’s standing in the world.
        – RSP

      • What is his ideology?

  4. The world has forgotten that Palestine was divided into two parts: the western part (22%) became Israel, and the eastern part 78% became Jordan. The Arab Palestinian state already exists: it is called JORDAN. 98% of Jordanians are Palestinians, and Jordanian law decrees that selling land to Jews is a felony punishable by the death penalty. Amazingly, liberals who claim to oppose racism never criticize this racist Jordanian law.

    Last but not least, am I the only person who sees the world getting very closer to Zachariah chapter 14?

  5. Why Muslims hate Israel?
    (priceless honesty in 1 minute 29 second video from MEMRI TV dot org)


  6. Rabbi, I actually agree with much of what you wrote. I am very glad that bibi won. I guess my question is what constitutes supporting Obama? I voted for him twice, but certainly dont agree with everything he does. I am more than willing to listen to any reasonable criticism of him.

    • If you were willing to listen to any reasonable criticism of Obama you never would have voted for him the second time.

      • I listened to criticism back in 2012. It wasn’t an up or down vote on Obama, it was a choice between him and Romney. Despite his flaws I still thought/think he was a better choice

  7. Jody Eisenman

    Great post!

    Sent from my iPhone

  8. It is all too easy to mock the hypocrisy and stupidity of the left. Both the GOP and the Likud can’t be wasting their time on them. The right has its own agenda to promote, and should simply ignore the opposition. I don’t know about Israel, but here in the US, republican commentators spend too much time gleefully attacking the left; the left, meanwhile, keeps on doing their thing, passing legislation and advancing their agenda. I wish the GOP were as focused on repealing legislation as they were on hahndeling with democrats.]

    AIPAC and everyone else must continue their shtadlanus, but Israel has to do what’s best for Israel. Now that Obama has announced his intentions, Israel should immediately announce plans to build 100,000 additional units in the so-called “settlement blocs”, and should turn the, again, so-called “outposts” into proper towns with infrastructure.

  9. David Weinberg, my old shul youth group leader from the glory days of Toronto in the mid 80s, has an excellent article on Arutz Sheva. [This article of yours is linked as well.] He has some concrete suggestions as to how Israel can, in good faith, continue negotiations with the West Bank Arab leadership. Most important among them: No more beginning from 1967 lines or from suggestions of previous, defeatist governments. Start with the fact that Yesha belongs 100% to Israel. You proceed from there.

    I would like to say that we simply shouldn’t negotiate at all, period, end of story. Short of that, Weinberg lays out a good “road map.”

  10. Somali-born Hirsi Ali, age 45, said:
    “…Muslims equate compromise with shame…”
    SOURCE: http://www.jta.org/2015/03/20/news-opinion/united-states/hirsi-ali-floats-conversion-to-judaism

    PS: How does this effect out ability to negotiate with Muslims?

  11. It Doesn’t!!!!!

  12. Sorry, but I have less patience and understanding for those leftist so-called ‘Jews’ whose allegiance to the Great Democratic Party and Great Leader Obama outweighs their concern for Israel, Jews — or the USA for that matter.

    Obama’s rhetoric and demonization of Israel and Jews are not mere words but have led to the worldwide acquiescence in the delitigimacy of the State of Israel, and are endangering the lives of over 6 million Jews in Israel (and 300 million Americans). Such ‘Hebraic’ Democrats (who can hardly be regarded as “Jewish” in how they identify themselves), whose allegiance to Obama and the Democratic Party takes precedence over Jewish and American lives, are in that respect analogous to the Kapos who worked with the Nazis. Indeed Obama-enablers who continue to support this President who has caused the worst demonization of Israel and Jews since 1948 — and directly contributed to the worst anti-Semitism in the Western World since WWII, can be said to be complicit in the shedding of Jewish blood themselves.

    • So in this analogy is Obama comparable to Hitler? I guess Biden would be Goering, Hillary Clinton Goebbels.

      Who plays Eichman?

      • Actually, the logical and natural consequences of all of Obama’s actions — allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, taking steps to prevent Israel from the ability to defend itself militarily or diplomatically, etc — would be, G-d forbid, a potential loss in sheer numbers of potentially even more than the 6 million murdered by the Nazis (without accounting for or knowing what the ultimate Master of the Universe has planned for Israel and Jewry).
        Meanwhile, it is not a stretch to attribute the increased anti-Semitism around the world — and the Open Season on Jews in France, England and the rest of Europe, at least indirectly to the rhetoric coming from the President of the U.S. insisting for 6 years that Israel is a bad actor and basically acquiescing to the demonization and illegitimacy of the State of Israel and the ‘bad kind’ of Jews who support it (the non-left wingers).
        When I read and hear constant nonsense from left-wing Democrat-Firsters insisting that one of the worst Presidents in American history is actually a ‘hero’ to them, my reaction is that such enablers of a leader whose actions could God forbid lead to even more Jewish deaths than caused by the Nazis — have quite a bit to atone for as well.
        Is Obama analogous to Hitler? No, he’s more analogous to an Achashveirosh who was ready, willing and able to allow others to commit genocide of the Jewish people. Or, for a more recent analogy, to Neville Chamberlain, of course. And Jews who defend and abet this modern-day Achashveirosh – instead of making efforts like Mordechai and Esther did to dissuade him — are abetting evil, stupidity or both.

      • Avi S
        I think most of what you wrote is a just a long right wing talking point. Very hard to take seriously. I will say this though. If Obama runs a third time, I won’t vote for him

  13. Superb, as usual. One comment: The silence of Orthodox organizations to which you refer is indeed stunning and frankly sickening. I guess the White House Chanukah parties have bought their lack of outrage at this so-called administration and it’s overt anti-Semitism directed at any Jew who hasn’t drunk the kool-aid of the far Left. Very disappointing.

  14. “Hence the disasters of health care…”

    I’m surprised you still count health care as a disaster. In particular, I’m surprised you identify health care an “ideological” disaster. Let’s review the empirical results of Obamacare:

    1. According to the latest CBO estimates, Obamacare has already cut the uninsured rate by 17 million and this is despite the fact that 22 states still opt out of the Medicaid expansion. The critics of the law who claimed that it would not have an effect on the uninsured were empirically, not ideologically, wrong.

    2. Since Obamacare’s passage, the federal government’s health spending has fallen dramatically. It will spend $600 billion less over 2011-2020 than CBO originally projected in January 2010 without health reform. The critics of the law who claimed it would increase our deficit were empirically, not ideologically, wrong.

    3. The latest comprehensive Gallup polls show that people who bought their insurance through the governments’ exchanges are happy with their coverage. The critics of the law who claimed people would hate their coverage were empirically, not ideologically, wrong.

    4. Since Obamacare’s passage, America’s overall health care spending has grown more slowly than it has since the 1960s. Obamacare may or may not be able to claim primary credit for that change. It depends on which economists you talk to, but the critics of the law who claimed that it would accelerate our health care spending were empirically, not ideologically, wrong.

    5. One of Obamacare’s primary goals was to spur a reduction in infections and other preventable problems in hospitals, which sadly, America leads the industrialized world. There’s been tremendous progress on that front since the passage of Obamacare. Critics of the law who claimed that it would not improve the quality of our care, at least in this narrow area, were empirically, not ideologically, wrong.

    6. The Obamacare “rate shock” never materialized. Critics of the law who claimed that we would see a dramatic increase in health care premiums were empirically, not ideologically, wrong.

    7. We could, and probably will, go on. But I want to return to point #1, because it is instructive. The best analysis we have suggests that around 2.6 million people saw their health care plans cancelled due to noncompliance with Obamacare’s new regulations. Many of them found other plans with subsidies and report being happier now than they were before Obamacare’s passge. But even if we use the full 2.6 million figure, what does it tell us? While critics of the law have been crying crocodile tears for them, 17 million people have gained coverage. That’s a ratio of 6:1.

    Obviously, you can still make the argument that none of this matters and that the government shouldn’t be involved in health care. Fine. But that’s not an empirical case. It’s an ideological argument.

  15. Well stated Alan

  16. “Hence the disasters of health care, jobs…”

    I’m also surprised that you count jobs as a disaster. If you graph out the job creation record of every president since Eisenhower, you see that Obama’s raw numbers are worse than Clinton, Kennedy, Johnson, and Reagan, but better than Nixon, Ford, Eisenhower, and certainly much better than George W Bush who has the worst job creation record in the modern era. In other words, Obama’s job creation record is average.

    • Oh, I forgot the first Bush! His raw numbers are slightly better than Obama’s too.

      • You are forgetting the stunning number of people who have dropped out of the work force – and the increase in population which naturally helps his raw numbers.
        – RSP

  17. No clever, politically motivated arguments can wipe out the economic facts people see every day in their own lives. Nor can they wipe out clera evidence of Obama’s bad-to-the-bone attitude toward Israel and Jews (other than lifelong socialists or converts to socialism) that harks back decades..

  18. How are things like GDP, Unemployment numbers, Stock Market Indexes etc “politically motivated arguments.”? ( Same with increased military funding for Israel, Iron Dome etc)
    At a certain point you have to look at facts…..

    • STATISTICS. Come on, man, you don’t know what the third form of a lie is? And unemployment numbers – great, I’m so happy to see the country has added ten thousand more employees, all of them working for nine dollars an hour because they cant find any real jobs.

      R. Pruzansky – you neglect the mockery this president has made of his Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has lost every case in which is appeared before the Supreme Court, most of its case in the appellate circuits, and has been hit several times with fines and sanctions for bringing frivolous cases. All they do – and the same goes for his other politically-charged administrative agencies like the NLRB, OSHA, etc – is bully smaller employers who don’t have the money to fight them, until those companies throw up their hands, say its not worth is anymore, and just fold up their tent, close up the business, and leave. [Then their former employees find work at gas stations, which increases the employment numbers, so the white house minions can blare what a great job Obama is doing, and guys like Andy fall for it.]

      • I’m not arguing that the economy is great. But when you take into account Unemployment numbers, GDP, Revenue, Stock Market ( any other traditional ways of looking at the economy) you will see things are decent/fairly good and that should be enough to challenge/disprove silly notions that Obama is a communist/ Socialist/Radical Leftist.

      • Noone is saying Obama is doing a great job. My point is that at a certain time you have to let go of silly conspiracy theories about Obama and look at facts.

      • I didn’t forget – there’s only so much I can write!

  19. “Since the left lost control of Israel, it has been hell-bent on destroying it.”
    Israel’s Leftist Losers by Daniel Greenfield, 2015 March 19

  20. “ISIS, also known simply as the Islamic State, has released a map of its view a future Arab world. There is no Israel on the map, needless to say. What is shocking is that there is no Palestine. Palestine, the central element in Arab nationalism, would be forgotten once Arabs conquered all the land that they had once owned. Palestine has remained an issue simply to be a way of opposing Israel’s existence. Refugees have remained in camps for over 60 years in order to make them suffer so that the world would blame Israel.”
    SOURCE: Is Palestine Dead?
    by Professor George Jochnowitzy 2014/7/30

  21. “You are forgetting the stunning number of people who have dropped out of the work force – and the increase in population which naturally helps his raw numbers.”

    That’s fair. If you take population changes into account, then the historical ranking looks like this.

    1. Kennedy/Johnson
    2. Clinton
    3. Carter (No, really!!! Check BLS.gov and see for yourself.)
    4. Reagan
    5. Nixon/Ford
    6. George H.W. Bush
    7. Obama
    8. Eisenhower
    9. 50 Feet of Garbage
    10. George W. Bush

    Regarding #9, it’s really impossible to convey in a blog comment just how dismal George W. Bush’s job creation record actually was in comparison to every other president in the modern era. Amazingly, he’d come in last even if you ignored the last 6 months of his presidency. Even if you don’t count the financial crisis!

  22. I suppose I should have been clear that regarding Carter and HW Bush, I’m using some conjecture. It’s obviously hard to compare 1 term presidents to 2 term presidents. I just used their rate of job growth and assumed for the purpose of this thought experiment that their growth rate continued unabated. That’s not a perfect method, but it will do in a pinch.

    • I have no clue what your statistics are based on or what you’re rankings reveal. I do know that nothing in the Constitution obligates the President to “create jobs.” That is not part of his job description. The private sector creates jobs that enable people to produce things that others want and even earn a nice living from it. Presidents can impair private sector job creation by bad policies and assist with good policies, but he should not be in the business of creating jobs.
      In any event, you should factor out part-time jobs and factor in wage stagnation, and your man won’t come out looking good. And President Bush will look much better.
      – RSP

      • “I have no clue what your statistics are based on”

        It all starts with the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

        1. Go to BLS.gov which is the official website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

        2. You’re going to want the “Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject” feature. It’s a really handy tool.

        3. Set your “Change Output Options” to the dates of each presidency. (ie. for George W. Bush, set it to 2000 through 2008 and for Barack Obama, set it to 2009 through 2015.)

        4. When you get the official employment statistics for each presidency, click the “xlsx” link to download the data as an Excel file.

        5. Add up every single month for each presidency and see what you get. If you’re still in excel, then you can do the formula “SUM(firstcolumn:lastcolumn)” to save time.

        6. By following those simple steps, I see that there has been a net gain of 6,353,000 jobs since Barack Obama became president. I see that there was a net gain of 3,995,000 jobs over the entire George W. Bush presidency.

        7. You can run the same steps for all the other presidents since WW2 and create your own rankings. It’s up to you whether or not you count Kennedy/Johnson and Nixon/Ford as single presidencies or multiple ones. As I mentioned before, it’s also tricky to compare 1 term presidents to 2 term presidents. For that matter, it’s also tricky to evaluate Barack Obama’s presidency since it’s not over yet. Pick a methodology and force yourself to stay consistent.

        As for population:

        1. You need to go to the United States Census Bureau to look up population data. Things really get complicated here because there are different assumptions you can make. Are you adjusting for total population or just working age population? (Keep in mind that the US is getting older and has been for a long time. That means the working age population has been shrinking as a share of the total population and will continue to do so.) Both data sets are available at census.gov, so pick one. For the moment, let’s go with total population.

        2. As of today, there are 320,000,000 people in the United States. (6,350,000 / 320,000,000) * 100 = Obama’s employment record adjusted to population. That would be 1.98% employment gain.

        3. As of December 2008, there were 305,000,000 people in the United States. (3,995,000 / 305,000,000) * 100 = Bush’s employment record adjusted to population. That would be 1.3% employment gain.

        4. Run the same process for all the other presidents since WW2 and see what you get.

        I hope that helps. If I have time later, I’ll come back and address wages.

      • But we are talking about the economy and job creation. I believe you made the charge that Obama s policies have hurt the economy and job creation. We can introduce facts and evidence to help with the discussion

  23. That cartoon is talking about the phenomenon of “real unemployment” which the Bureau refers to as “U6”.

    Well guess what? There’s a source of data on this that’s even more authoritative than cartoons! We can return to BLS.gov and get the official data on the real unemployment rate going back many years.

    George W. Bush’s real unemployment…
    U6: January 2000 = 7.1%
    U6: January 2009 = 14.2%

    Barack Obama’s real unemployment…
    U6: January 2009 = 14.2%
    U6: February 2015 = 11.0%

    • You know, you’re discounting not just the crash but the reality through which we lived (which is not ancient history). Most people prospered under the Bush economy, and many then suffered through the housing collapse caused, in large part (See Tom Sowell’s book) by the Democrats refusing to rein in the federal mortgage programs and the liberal demand – on threats of lawsuits; see under “red-lining” – to lend lots of money to extremely poor credit risks. I suspect you know that.
      Obama’s “jobs” – disproportionately part-time – are mostly recovery from the crash, fueled by the oil boom (which he has done his best to stifle) and not led to any increase in wages. I’ll take Bush’s economy any day, pre-crash. So would most Americans, now.
      What’s the Bush figure in 2007, pre-crash? How many people have dropped out of the work force under Obama? How many of the jobs of which you boast are part-time jobs? I suspect you know the answers to these as well.
      – RSP

      • “What’s the Bush figure in 2007, pre-crash? ”

        If you mean the “real unemployment” rate, it averaged 8.3 percent through all of 2007, up from 7.1% when he was inaugurated. (That is an interesting thought experiment. But if you are planning to literally lop off the last year of the Bush presidency because you don’t want the financial crisis to affect his numbers, shouldn’t we also lop off the first year of the Obama presidency so the financial crisis doesn’t affect his numbers either?)

        “How many of the jobs of which you boast are part-time jobs?”

        I can’t find part time data at BLS so I have to turn to Fred, your new best friend. His name stands for Federal Reserve Economic Data. It’s an awesome tool because you can take government data and turn it into any chart you want. Do a search for “part time” at http://research.stlouisfed.org and you will find the answer to your question.

        In January 2000, there were 3,208,000 part time workers. That number rose under Bush to 8,046,000 in January of 2009, which of course is also Obama’s first month in office. Today there are 6,635,000 part time workers.

        “How many people have dropped out of the work force under Obama?”

        Here is where you have finally overestimated me. I can’t definitively answer that question because there are so many moving pieces. People drop out of the workforce to retire of course. People also just get old. The work force as a share of the total population has been shrinking for decades and always accelerates during recessions. I don’t know how to disentangle “normal” drop outs from “recession” drop outs. Or at least I don’t have a good do-it-yourself guide using any authoritative data.

  24. So the rebuttal to the stats provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a cartoon penned by a self-proclaimed conservative cartoonist? I assume that’s just a cute offering rather than an actual argument?

  25. I can take a hint. I’ll drop out of this comment thread. Thank you for letting me post on your blog. Exercises like these clarify a lot for me and I hope it’s interesting to others as well.

  26. Alan– It was interesting to me. I am not sure why your observations are described either as “spinning stats” or “talking points.” It seems clear there was a substantive difference between what you were trying to do and what everyone else here was trying to do. Even a reasonably objective reader could see that.