For Wingnuts, Reality is Always a Conspiracy

Well this was predictable. The new jobs report came out and the numbers are very favorable for President Obama as the jobless rate dropped to 7.8%, the lowest number since he took office. So naturally, the right wing is absurdly claiming there’s a conspiracy to cook the books.

“Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the presidential election,” Florida Republican Rep. Allen West wrote on Facebook. “This is Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book ‘Rules for Radicals’ — a must read for all who want to know how the left strategize.”

Welch, the former head of General Electric lauded for his leadership skills, leveled his accusations on Twitter, joined by a smattering of conservative bloggers and pundits.

“Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers,” Welch tweeted.

Then Fox News pounced on the conspiracy, leading its website with the headline “JOBLESS RATE DIPS UNDER 8%, BUT IS THE NUMBER REAL?”

Sane Republicans who’ve actually worked in a presidential administration have pointed out how idiotic this is:

“The numbers are put together by trained professionals and in a process that keeps politicians from interfering,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a chief economic adviser to former President George W. Bush. “Any sort of suggestion to the contrary is wrong.”

Former Bush administration spokesman Tony Fratto took to Twitter to say: “Stop with the dumb conspiracy theories. Good grief.”

So now we have jobs number birthers. In reality, the jobs report is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a non-partisan agency. It is headed by a political appointee, but guess what? Obama left the appointee from the Bush administration, Keith Hall, in place when he took office. Hall recently left that position and it remains unfilled, so there isn’t even a single political appointee working at the agency. But those are facts, so they don’t figure in to these crazy conspiracy theories at all.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Didaktylos

    If Obama left Bush’s guy in place, then presumably that appointment is a fairly low spot in the ‘spoils’ pecking order.

  • bachalon

    The polls are skewed; the jobs report is skewed. I guess it’s because all those numerals are Arabic, that it’s part of Obama’s secret agenda to implement shariah law. I do keep hearing about this “al-jebra” organization…

  • Rodney Nelson

    Another example of “don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is made up” from the wingnuts.

  • matthewhodson

    Elephant teeth wear down and break off and are replaced with new teeth every 6 or seven years but they can eventually run out of replacements and die.

    I Imagine its rather painful.

  • J Myers (no relation)

    So now we have jobs number birthers.

    Jobbers?

  • http://dododreams.blogspot.com/ John Pieret

    This is Orwellian to say the least

    Oh, the irony!

  • dingojack

    J Myers – (any relation of Mike?) if we take your suggestion, perhaps this thread’s headline should be:

    ‘Jobbers Jabber’.

    Dingo

  • Michael Heath

    Two observations:

    1) It’s typical to see a jump in the number of jobs encountered in all Septembers. So this jump isn’t about any sort of accomplishment through fiscal policy, but instead a normal Sept. occurrence. This jump was higher than the previous couple of Septembers, but not by a large difference (I think by about 70,000 jobs more than last year’s jump). So we effectively got to under 8% based on past months’ job growth trends, in spite of Republican obstructionism on jobs bills and also in spite of conservatives passing legislation that’s resulted in a large loss of government jobs since the start of the last recession.

    2) I find it amusingly though dishearteningly ironic that conservatives are arguing for a conspiracy on this matter when they simultaneously and dishonestly use the early-2009 unemployment rates to judge the efficacy of the Democrats’ stimulus plan passed in the Spring of 2009. Rates which were greatly underestimating unemployment for those periods and were subsequently readjusted to significantly higher rates – which conservatives dishonestly ignore when criticizing the stimulus. Double the dishonesty since using rates to judge the stimulus introduces irrelevant factors when it comes to judging the performance of the stimulus plan. An honest rendering of the stimulus has economists looking at the nominal change in jobs saved or added, not the change in rates. So once again we observe conservatives projecting their own dishonesty onto another group who has not merited such condemnations.

  • J Myers (no relation)

    Dingo, I’m not related to Mike Myers, either, but “no realation” here refers to PZ; I ever so rarely comment on Pharyngula, and I don’t wish to give the false impression that I might be a relative, nor do I feel like changing my ‘nym on the (equally rare) occasion that I comment somewhere else on FTB. And I’m not creative enough to come up with anything else.

    I like the new headline.

  • slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #8

    It’s typical to see a jump in the number of jobs encountered in all Septembers.

    The buzz by the so-called experts before the number came out was that the unemployment rate for September would increase, which may account for at least some of the cooking the books commentary by the usual suspects on the fascist news channel. It will be interesting to see what the figures for October will show as they will come out around election day.

  • dan4

    “Somehow by manipulation of data…”

    Is West to stupid to realize that the first word in that sentence is an (implicit) concession that he has no proof about his “manipulation of data” claim?

  • brianthomas

    It’s obvious that most of the right in this country is simply too far gone down the road of lunacy at this point. They really are completely sealed off from reality and NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING, will change their minds: they just gotta git that socialist-muslim-commie n****er out of the White House at all costs in order to “take back ‘murica!”

    To wit: about an hour ago I just drove by a local company, whose owner placed a GIGANTIC sign on his property that reads:

    We Cried

    Obama Lied

    The Economy Died

    …and there are Romney/Ryan signs all around it.

    WTF…the economy DIED!?!??

    REALLY?!?!

    What is this moron even talking about???

    Sure the economy isn’t doing great at this point, but even as cynical as I’ve been about it, it certainly seems to be doing much better in the last year than it has in quite a while. Certainly isn’t “dead”…whatever that means.

    And, if anything, I seem to recall the economy damn near dying at the end of Bush’s term, not Obama’s. Probably wouldn’t see this sign up if the economy were doing just as poorly if not worse if a republican were in the White House though.

    Hmmm….I wonder why….

  • D. C. Sessions

    Is West to stupid to realize

    How many of us could answer that without reading the rest of the sentence?

  • Chiroptera

    “The numbers are put together by trained professionals and in a process that keeps politicians from interfering,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a chief economic adviser to former President George W. Bush. “Any sort of suggestion to the contrary is wrong.”

    Pfft. If they aren’t God-fearing real American Republican appointees, performing their service to the greater good of the American people, then they are either Democratic Party hacks blinded by their own ideology or elitist, out of touch, venal bureaucrats out to feather their own nests.

  • Chiroptera

    Allen West: … and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book ‘Rules for Radicals’….

    Among Saul Alinsky’s devious and evil tactics to win political power is to improve the economy?

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    If Obama was cooking the job books he would have been doing it months ago. A month before the election is kind of late to be playing games like that.

  • http://www.3rdwavelands.net joewinpisinger1

    Well written Ed… This is idiocy… I am no Obama fan and he definitely got thrashed in the debate but bottom line is economy is improving… Not for the right reasons IMO but it is improving…

  • lofgren

    Among Saul Alinsky’s devious and evil tactics to win political power is to improve the economy?

    No, this is from the section in his book on how to be a radical by getting yourself elected president and then slightly tweaking labor statistics.

  • jnorris

    Let us not forget to remind the jobbers that ADP, a corporation that does other company’s payrolls, has reported an increase in the number of checks they cut for September to the tune of 162,000.

    http://www.adpemploymentreport.com/

    I haven’t heard anyone confront Welch or West with that data.

  • Nibi

    If the unemployment rate drops the month before the election, then the BLS cooked the books. If the BLS head is a Bush appointee, then it was a conspiracy of Democrats to falsely report their employment status. If the ADP data indicates an increase in employment, then their statistics are questionable and unreliable.

    It’s rabbit holes all the way down.

  • cptdoom

    @12 brianthomas:

    I think one of the biggest mistakes the GOP made this election season is to bring up the “are you better off” argument. It starts people thinking about how bad the economy was at the end of the Bush era and how relatively better we are now. Certainly UE around 8% is not great, but compared to a crashing banking system, the near loss of the US auto industry, hundreds of thousands of layoffs per month and a rapidly declining stock market, we’re in good shape. In fact, one of the brightest spots in the economy is ironically on Wall Street, which has basically recovered completely; I know my own retirement account is up 241% from its low in ’08, and only about 20% of the overall $$ increase is due to my contributions.

    The GOP can’t admit that, of course, because that would kill the “Obama is a failure” meme that represents the sole rationale for the Romney campaign. I think the best question Obama could ask Willard is “has the value of your portfolio increased or decreased under my administration?”

  • iangould

    If the unemployment rate had risen by an equivalent amount does anyone think a single Republican would have doubted it?

  • Michael Heath

    @ 17:

    [President Obama] definitely got thrashed in the debate

    Depends on the criteria. I assume low-information voters both unable to discern truth from lies and susceptible to style rather than content would grade Mr. Romney’s performance over the president’s.

    If you instead are attempting to gauge character and the number of good arguments/points presented beyond the usual blah, blah, blah talking points, I had it scored as follows. The number in parentheses are adjustments after reading the factcheck sites and therefore points I missed during my watching the debate. While I watched the event that evening, I recorded it in order to pause as needed to rewind and insure I understood what was expressed:

    Barack Obama:

    Lies*: 2 (5)

    Good points: 26 (27)

    Mitt Romney:

    Lies: 59 (61)

    Good points: 7 (9)

    *”Lies” in this context are factual assertions that misinform viewers.

  • gerryl

    We were having a family gathering at my house when I was a young teen. I walked into my bedroom to find my younger cousin on the floor snooping under my bed. He told me that he was looking for my dirty underwear.

    Now, it would never have occurred to me to hide old undies under the bed, but that little episode gave me some insight into where my cousin stashed his dirty drawers. I think Welch’s tweet reveals how his mind works. In the same situation he would ‘cook the books’ so he assumes anyone else would too. That and the fact that he’s just an angry old man who misses the spotlight.

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Sane Republicans who’ve actually worked in a presidential administration have pointed out how idiotic this is:

    “The numbers are put together by trained professionals and in a process that keeps politicians from interfering,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a chief economic adviser to former President George W. Bush. “Any sort of suggestion to the contrary is wrong.”

    Former Bush administration spokesman Tony Fratto took to Twitter to say: “Stop with the dumb conspiracy theories. Good grief.”

    There’s a reason they’re referred to as wingnuts!

    He told me that he was looking for my dirty underwear

    OK, that’s just creepy…

    When I confront my conservative FB friends who say that the economy (or the US!) is collapsing or on the verge of collapse, and I confront them with the state of the stock market and unemployment then and now, they rarely reply…

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Replace “confront them with” with “point out to them” for better grammar…

  • barrydecicco

    “Welch, the former head of General Electric lauded for his leadership skills, leveled his accusations on Twitter, joined by a smattering of conservative bloggers and pundits.”

    GE engaged in, ah, ‘earnings management’ under Welch. I think that he’s projecting here.

  • ewanmacdonald

    What is it with the far right and Saul Alinsky?

  • mantistoboggan

    I’m not sure these three things can be true but the Ministry of Truth reported them nonetheless:

    1. Consumer spending dropped from Sept 2011 to Sept 2012

    2. Employment taxes dropped from Sept 2011 to Sept 2012

    3. The economy added over 800k jobs in Sept 2012

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1263615255 Joshua

    All evidence points toward this being real, not a conspiracy. Obvious proof that it is a conspiracy!