I might have more respect for these guys if they put a little more effort into their lies.

Is Sean Hannity a Dittohead?

Last week, Rush Limbaugh fabricated unemployment data to attack Obama, claiming that the president ” inherited … an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent.” On Monday, Hannity did Limbaugh one better, claiming that Obama “inherited unemployment at 5.6 percent.”

The problem, of course, is that both of these guys are just making up numbers out of whole cloth.

As we talked about last week, the unemployment rate wasn’t 5.6% when President Obama took office; it was 7.6% and climbing fast. Hannity got the second digit right, but given the context, it’s the first digit that matters.

But in the larger context, what’s really amazing is that Hannity and Limbaugh want to talk at all about what Obama “inherited.” After all, 2009 wasn’t that long ago.

Hannity and Limbaugh may have blocked out eight years of spectacular Republican failures, but Obama took office when the nation was in freefall. Arguably no president in American history started his first day with a list like this: the Great Recession, two deadly wars, a jobs crisis, a massive deficit and budget mess, crushing debt, a health care system in shambles, a climate crisis, an ineffective energy policy, an equally ineffective immigration policy, a housing crisis, the U.S. auto industry on the verge of collapse, a mess at Gitmo, a severely tarnished global reputation, an executive branch damaged by corruption, incompetence, and mismanagement, and an angry, deeply divided electorate.

It was, by most measures, the worst national conditions ever faced by a newly-elected president.

Hannity and Limbaugh want their minions to believe Bush bequeathed a healthy, prosperous nation. That’s insane.

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.