In Which Old Sins Become New Virtues

Remember when the Bush Administration was preparing to take office eight years ago, warned us that we were entering a potentially recessionary period and got castigated by Democrats for supposedly “talking down the economy”?

Sure you do.

Apparently, it was bad to do that kind of thing back in 2000. But it is perfectly all right to do it in 2008. The Newsbusters article makes it clear that Barack Obama is also “talking down the economy” but he doesn’t get any kind of media grief whatsoever for it.

Double standards? Clearly. And the incoming Administration’s efforts to “talk down the economy” have increased thanks to Joe Biden:

[Biden’s] take? It’s bad. Bleak. Awful. He told the [George Stephanopoulos] that he’s worried about the economy “absolutely tanking.”

“The economy is in much worse shape than we thought it was in,” Biden told Stephanopoulos. “There is no short run other than keeping the economy from absolutely tanking. That’s the only short run.”

Dollars to donuts says that this will not be condemned by the media as “talking down the economy.” Dollars to donuts says that there will be no stern reminders that Presidents–and Vice Presidents, for that matter–are supposed to be “cheerleaders for the economy.”

Of course, while Presidents and Vice Presidents need to be careful about what they say, I have no problem with them being candid about the economic situation when candor is called for. So I won’t chide Barack Obama and/or Joe Biden for “talking down the economy.”

But that position is a consistent one for me. The media’s silence when the President-elect and the Vice President-elect are doing precisely what George W. Bush was condemned for doing  eight years ago is inconsistent and hypocritical.

On a somewhat related note, let’s remind ourselves that if Joe Biden didn’t exist, we would have to invent him:

[Biden] also announced something that was not known to be possible – every economist apparently agrees with each other.

“Every single person I’ve spoken to agrees with every major economist,” Biden said. “There’s going to be real significant investment whether it be $600 billion … or $700 billion, the clear notion is, it’s a number no one thought about a year ago.”

President Truman would have loved to hear about such a consensus. He was so agitated with economists that he pleaded for a one-handed economist to avoid hearing ‘on the one hand…and on the other…”

These next four years are going to be . . . um . . . interesting.