WHEN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FORGET WHO WAS PRESIDENT IN 2008…. Rep. Tom Graves (R) of Georgia appeared on MSNBC the other day, and talked about job policy. He probably should have brushed up a bit on the basics before going on the air.

Host Contessa Brewer noted that there were massive tax breaks during the Bush era, which nevertheless were a period of awful job growth. Given the tax cuts the GOP still believes are critical to reducing unemployment, Brewer asked a good question, “How come we haven’t seen massive job growth?”

Graves responded, “Well, what we’ve seen is massive job loss that began in about 2008, and I believe that was under Barack Obama.”


OK, let’s take this slowly so Graves can follow along.

First, Contessa Brewer is right that job creation in the Bush era was a disaster. Republicans assured the nation that massive tax breaks would create millions of jobs, and they were spectacularly wrong. Graves doesn’t have to like it, and he can try to make excuses for it, but the record isn’t in dispute.

Second, Obama wasn’t president in 2008. He ran for president in 2008, but was inaugurated in 2009. It’s true that the job market fell off a cliff in 2008, but it started to improve almost immediately after Obama signed the Recovery Act into law. I’ve even put together a nice little chart on this that even Graves should be able to understand.

And third, arguing that the job losses occurred under Obama’s watch is itself deeply stupid. I’m including this chart Ezra Klein posted a while back, which, again, even House Republicans should be able to follow.

In his MSNBC interview, Graves went on to say that “high gas prices” were responsible for the jobs crisis in 2008 — it was actually the global financial meltdown — adding, “But when we see the stimuluses, the TARPs, the bailouts, the buyouts, cash for clunkers — they didn’t work.” All of this is demonstrably wrong.

How guys like this get elected in the first place mystifies me. Why they’re allowed to say dumb things on national television is just as baffling.

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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.