THE FIGHT FOR CREDIT…. The first Friday of every month now features two developments that are worth watching. The first is the release of the monthly job numbers, which this morning, looked pretty good for a change.

The second is the effort of congressional Republicans to take credit or assign blame, based on whether the data was encouraging or discouraging.

At times, this has proven tricky. In December, before the new House GOP majority even took office, Republicans claimed credit for improved job numbers. In January, after a weak jobs report, Republicans blamed Dems.

This morning, they’re back to claiming credit again.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the job growth is welcome news, and sought to tie it to the extension of George W. Bush-era tax rates. […]

“Removing the uncertainty caused by those looming tax hikes provided much-needed relief for private-sector job creators in America,” Boehner said in a statement. “Now we must build on it by eliminating the job-crushing uncertainty being caused by excessive spending, borrowing and regulating in Washington.”

Perhaps now would be a good time to note that conservative Republicans have been wrong about every major economic challenge for the last quarter-century. They said Reagan’s tax increases in 1986 would hurt the economy, and the GOP was wrong. They said Clinton’s economic policies would be a disaster, and the GOP was wrong. They said Bush’s economic agenda would be fantastic, and the GOP was wrong. And they said Obama’s recovery efforts would fail, and the GOP was wrong.

Now, Boehner says, just listen to conservative Republicans this time — and never mind the 700,000 projected job losses — and everything will be fine.

Why would anyone listen to this?

In Grown-Up Land, the economy started growing again in 2009, with the stimulus giving the economy a boost. We saw growth continue throughout 2010 — even after those rascally Democrats passed health care reform and Wall Street reform — while Republicans said Dems were killing the economy.

And now the economy is picking up steam, no thanks to the Republicans who created the mess in the first place, and the GOP suddenly thinks it has credibility on the subject.


To review, Republicans in the Bush era brought the global economy to the brink of catastrophic collapse; Obama and congressional Dems helped turn things around; and now those same Republicans whose policies failed want credit for Democratic successes.

I know some folks will find this persuasive, and maybe even some of these GOP officials have deluded themselves into believing their own rhetoric. But it doesn’t make the argument any less ridiculous.

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.