Rachel noted on the show on Friday that the Dow Jones Industrial Average "hit a five-year high" at the end of the day's trading. It got me thinking about just how much we've seen the markets improve over President Obama's first term. Indeed, since Wall Street is closed today, it's easy to pause and take stock (so to speak).
I added some arrows to this chart, one showing where the Dow Jones closed when the president was first inaugurated, and the other showing where the index stands today. You'll notice that the arrow on the right is much higher, and that's because the value of the Dow grew by about 72% over the course of Obama's first term.
To put that in perspective, the New York Timesrecently found that over the last half-century, the president who's overseen the strongest performance on Wall Street was Bill Clinton, and the second best, by a wide margin, is Barack Obama.
As we talked about in April, this also suggests Obama is the worst socialist of all time. A soaring stock market, record high corporate profits, private sector job growth ... it's almost as if the president didn't listen to Karl Marx at all.
And as we discussed in October, the real fun begins when we reminisce about what Obama's Republican critics were saying in early 2009.
As long time readers may recall, the Wall Street Journal ran an entire editorial in early March 2009 arguing that the weak Dow Jones was a direct result of investors evaluating "Mr. Obama's agenda and his approach to governance."
Karl Rove and Lou Dobbs made the same case. So did Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fred Barnes. For a short while, it was one of Mitt Romney's favorite talking points, too. Even John Boehner got in on the larger attack.
I don't think a strong stock market is necessarily proof of a robust economy, but the right shouldn't try to have it both ways. If a bear market in 2009 is, in the minds of conservatives, clear proof that Obama's agenda is misguided and dangerous, then soaring Wall Street indexes shouldn't be dismissed by those same detractors as politically irrelevant.
In 2004, a Bush cabinet official said job creation and GDP numbers matter, but "the stock market is ... the final arbiter" of economic success. If that's true, Republicans have some explaining to do.