Bloomberg, 11 January 2012
Believing the Unbelievable
To buy much of this requires you to hold deeply ridiculous beliefs about the American economy. You must believe that Obama bears responsibility for events that predate his presidency and deserves applause for the demand created by aging cars and worn- down machinery. You must believe that Congress, which controls fiscal policy, and the Federal Reserve, which controls monetary policy, bear little or no responsibility for the economy, but that the president, who controls neither fiscal nor monetary policy, is the primary driver of job creation. You must believe that governors have absolute power over state economies and that global demand is irrelevant. You must also renounce belief in Christmas — or at least its influence on the consumer-driven economy.
Virtually no one really believes these things. But partisans and the news media routinely act as if they are true. They make up a useful shorthand that is arguably good for the political system: Better for presidents to believe re-election hinges on economic performance than, say, on the quality of their attack ads.