When President Barack Obama assumed office, Democrats controlled the Senate, 59-41, and the House, 257-178. Not since 1977 did a president's party have so large a majority. Democrats could do almost whatever they wanted.
What they did was pass an $819 billion "stimulus" bill and Obamacare.
If the stimulus passed, unemployment would decline to 5.8 percent by this year, according to administration projections. But for 43 straight months, it has exceeded 8 percent, the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Depression. From 1948 to 2008, there were just 39 months in which unemployment was 8 percent or more.
Obamacare would cut premiums for the average family by $2,500 by the end of his first term, and reduce the rate of growth of federal health care spending, the president predicted. Obamacare wouldn't increase the deficit and wouldn't raise taxes on those who earn less than $250,000 a year. If you liked your private insurance plan, you could keep it, he said.
Premiums for family coverage are $3,000 more than four years ago. Obamacare will increase health care expenditures $311 billion in the first 10 years, according to Medicare's actuary. It will boost deficits $500 billion. Because of Obamacare, 14 million Americans will have to change their private insurance, Medicare's actuary estimates.
The economy is growing at less than half the average rate for the 10 previous recoveries. Median household income has fallen 8 percent. A lot of business leaders say Obama-care and other new regulations are chiefly why they're not hiring.
The national debt has increased by $5.4 trillion during the Obama presidency -- $500 billion more than during President George W. Bush's two terms. We're at the precipice of a "fiscal cliff" because Congress and the president haven't cut a budget deal. Even liberal icon Bob Woodward blames Mr. Obama.
The president's foreign policy "reset" has floundered, too. Iran is still pursuing nuclear weapons. The war in Afghanistan is all but lost. The victory in Iraq is being frittered away. A tilt toward the Palestinians produced only an escalation of their demands. Respect for America around the world has plummeted. Then came 9/11/2012 -- when four Americans were killed at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Barack Obama has the worst economic record since Herbert Hoover, the worst foreign policy record since Jimmy Carter. He can win only if Mitt Romney is made the issue. So Democrats have spent more than $240 million on ads sliming him. It wouldn't be enough, were it not for a critical addition to Team Obama.
In politics, the truth matters only to the degree to which it influences what people think is the truth. It doesn't matter much if people aren't told the truth.
Journalists have been putting their thumbs on the scales for a long time. According to a formula developed by UCLA Prof. Tim Groseclose, media bias has boosted Democrats by about 8 percentage points.
In the past, liberal journalists would slant news to help Democrats, but the news would be reported. This year, news unhelpful to the president is suppressed.
"There hasn't been one major political story line pushed by the mainstream press that hasn't been perfectly in sync with the Obama campaign's strategic messaging plan," observed Investors' Business Daily.
We face the greatest fiscal crisis since the Depression, but the television networks have devoted more air time to Mitt Romney's tax returns. According to his accounting firm, for the past 20 years Mr. Romney has paid an effective federal tax rate of 20.2 percent, the same as Mr. Obama did last year and nearly double the average of 11 percent for all taxpayers.
On their evening newscasts the day after the 9/11/2012 attack, ABC, NBC and CBS devoted 25 seconds to the implications for America of the bloody collapse of Mr. Obama's Mideast policy -- and nine minutes and 28 seconds to the media-generated flap over Mr. Romney's criticism of that policy.
Mr. Obama lies brazenly, confident his friends in journalism won't call him on them. Myriad scandals swirl about his administration, but few Americans know this. Nor do they know that this president, by some accounts, has spent less time actually doing his job than any modern predecessor.
As Investors' Business Daily put it, "When the media voluntarily take on the role of propagandists, a genuine threat to our democratic system of government is posed."
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (firstname.lastname@example.org).