Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Commerce Department on Friday delivered very bad news to President Obama. Economic growth in the second quarter of 2012 plummeted to 1.5 percent - a critically poor showing going into an election. Twenty years ago, then-candidate Bill Clinton sounded the alarm after receiving similar information. His words then are prophetic today.
In 1992, the second-quarter growth came in at 1.4 percent, though the economy enjoyed a lower unemployment rate and drastically smaller federal budget deficits. Today's economic statistics confirm what the American people have been trying to tell the president for some time now, Mr. Clinton said at the time. We are in a crisis, an economic crisis.
That message helped propel the former Arkansas governor into the Oval Office. Maybe today's statistics will be a wake-up call to an administration that is still offering alibis, not action, while people are hurting, he said then. Mitt Romney could credibly say the same thing about Mr. Obama, considering the president's assertion at a fundraiser in California on July 23, We tried our [economic] plan - and it worked.
Given the rapid decline in growth rates, it's legitimate to ask how Mr. Obama measures success. Fourth-quarter 2011 growth for some reason was revised upward by more than a full point, from 3 percent to 4.1 percent, which may have been touted as evidence of Mr. Obama's effective leadership. Now it means that the current contraction is far worse than economists expected. Instead of growth being cut in half since last year, it has plunged by almost two-thirds.
The president offers nothing more than blame and more of the same, Mr. …