During the Bush years, the tendency was for people of a progressive bent to have a gloomy take on the state of the economy while those on the right were more likely to produce works like Jerry Bower’s opus The Bush Boom: How a Misunderestimated President Fixed a Broken Economy (answer: by completely destroying it!). Back on January 7, I wondered if this meant we were in store for optimism inversion in which the right would start painting things as gloomy while the left emphasized the positive.
Thus far, that doesn’t seem to be happening. Instead, as part of their argument against the president’s recovery plan, conservatives are minimizing the extent of problems. Thus things like this remark from Karl Rove flagged by Brian Beutler:
[I]f Republicans predict economic doom, they will overplay their hand. The Democratic stimulus will slow recovery, but not stop it. Recessions don’t last forever and, if history is a guide, sometime late this year or early next the economy will rebound on its own.
The politics of this aren’t so difficult to figure out, but it’s an interesting change—or rather, lack of change—in the valence of gloom and doom.