Credit where credit is not due

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS NOT DUE…. Wall Street had a nice little rally this week, but former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino hopes President Obama doesn’t get too much credit.

Former White House spokesperson Dana Perino said on Sunday that the Bush administration, while presiding over the start of the current recession, nevertheless deserved some credit for the modest uptick that Wall Street experienced this past week.

Appearing on CSPAN’s Washington Journal, the last of Bush’s press secretaries said it was “not a secret” that the current economic mess started under her boss’s watch. But, she cautioned, the public had yet to realize the full extent to which the past president’s policies “alleviat[ed] the downturn.” Take, for instance, the improvement in the Dow Jones Industrial average this week.

“You were just speaking earlier about the possibility that since we had a little bit of a better week on Wall Street does that spell a turnaround?” Perino said. “Can all the credit go specifically to President Obama? Well, I would say no. We are just going to have to take a while to let all of this settle down and let the policies that our administration and the new administration are trying to put in place have a chance to work.”

I see. Just so we’re clear, here’s a helpful guide to the rules of market watching, as they relate to partisan politics:

When the market went down on Bush’s watch before the 2008 elections, this was Bill Clinton’s fault.

When the market went down on Bush’s watch between November 2008 and January 2009, this was Barack Obama’s fault.

When the market went down during Obama’s first seven weeks in office, this was definitely Barack Obama’s fault.

And when the market rallies on Obama’s watch during the second week in March, George W. Bush deserves at least some of the credit.

I’m glad Perino helped set the record straight. Putting aside whether watching Wall Street is a useful guide to measuring the strength of economic policies — it clearly isn’t — the point to remember is that positive developments are evidence of Republican wisdom, and negative developments are evidence of Democratic failure.

Remember when you were a kid and someone told you, “I’ll flip a coin — heads I win, tails you lose”? It’s kind of like that.

Update: Here’s the video clip of Perino on C-SPAN.