QUOTE OF THE DAY…. I realize a lot of conservatives and members of the political establishment consider Karl Rove a credible figure. I’ve never understood why.

Pat Garofalo flagged this gem, which Rove uttered on Fox News earlier today.

“[T]hat’s what a lot of economists are saying. Our stimulus package is retarding the day of growth, not accelerating the day of growth.”

Now, Rove’s understanding of economics is something of a joke. He does, after all, believe that the Bush/Cheney economic policy was a success. For that matter, it’s certainly possible Rove doesn’t even believe what he’s saying — he’s worried that President Obama will get credit for resolving the economic crisis Bush left for him, so Rove is repeating nonsense purely for shallow, partisan reasons.

But even hacks like Rove will have to do better than this. Stimulus efforts are undermining economic growth? C’mon, Karl, try and show some pride in your work. It’s not like there’s any real question about reality here.

[E]conomists say that the president’s $787 billion stimulus package has helped blunt the downturn in limited but discernible ways. A report card on the stimulus plan offered by analysts nearly six months after it was passed by Congress suggests that the punch from increased government spending has helped the economy begin to bottom out faster than it would have otherwise. […]

Private analysts say they think it added at least 1 percentage point to economic growth in the second quarter. That was not enough to prevent the economy from shrinking and joblessness from rising, but the pace of the decline slowed substantially compared with the first quarter.

“The signs of the stimulus are there,” said Allen L. Sinai, chief economist at Decision Economics, a forecasting firm in New York. “Government — federal, state and local — is helping take the economy from recession to recovery. I think it’s the primary contributor.”

The Economic Policy Institute’s Josh Bivens responded to the recent GDP numbers by noting, “The marked improvement in this quarter relative to last is largely due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

Rove believes “a lot of economists” believe recovery efforts are “retarding the day of growth.” Just think, a few years ago, this guy was helping run the White House.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.