Zywicki in Washington Times: President Gets Benefit of a Doubt, For Now

Despite increasingly grim news from the economic sector, Professor Todd Zywicki believes that Americans will give the new president a bit of latitude for the near term.

Zywicki told the Washington Times, "If we don't start seeing an improvement a year from now, and the 2010 congressional elections [are approaching], if they stand as a referendum on Obama and his policies, that may be a clear inflection point. My guess would be people give him the benefit of the doubt until then."

The Obama administration has made the argument that responsibility for the current financial crisis predates this administration and attributes much of the blame to the housing bubble and an underregulated financial services sector. Congressional Democrats and Republicans have traded blame for the nation's current economic woes with an eye toward the next election cycle.

Economy a likely blame game, The Washington Times, March 17, 2008. By Jon Ward and Stephen Dinan.

"With the economy still teetering, Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a high-stakes game of blame fixing, all with an eye to preparing voters to pin the blame on the donkey - or elephant - before the next election.

"The battle spilled out onto the House floor last week, when Rep. Todd Akin went on the offensive, pointedly accusing Rep. Barney Frank of causing the housing collapse that spurred the current economic tailspin. The accusations drew an indignant 1,300-word news release response from Mr. Frank, who said Republicans were distorting history and shifting blame to cover their own failures.

"For his part, President Obama has been studious in stressing that he and his administration were handed a crisis not of their making.

"'We inherited a big mess,'" the president said earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio, as he sought to address a national unemployment rate that surpassed 8 percent that morning."

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