Whose recovery?

WHOSE RECOVERY?…. When the Dow Jones closed about 10,000 yesterday, it stood to reason that Republicans would try to prevent President Obama from getting any credit for improved economic conditions. It was perhaps not quite as predictable to have Fox News personalities start crediting George W. Bush for the more favorable economic landscape.

And yet, there was Neil Cavuto yesterday talking up the notion of a “Bush recovery” on the air yesterday. The on-screen chyron read, “Is this now the ‘Bush Recovery’?” The analysis seemed to answer the question in the affirmative.

This reminds me a bit of Dana Perino’s Fox News analysis in March, when the major Wall Street indexes started recovering. As she saw it, at least some credit for the turnaround should go to the administration that left office two months prior. “Can all the credit go specifically to President Obama? Well, I would say no,” Perino said. “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.”

Just so we’re clear, here’s a helpful guide to the rules of Wall Street watching, as they relate to partisan politics:

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

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

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

And when the markets rally throughout Obama’s first year in office, George W. Bush deserves at least some of the credit.

It’s good to know — 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.

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Steve Benen

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.