To listen to George W. Bush in Iowa yesterday, the state, like the rest of the nation on his watch, has "turned a corner." Of course, the question is, turned a corner to arrive where, from where? Bush told his crowd in Davenport, Iowa that "Because we acted, Iowa's unemployment rate now is 4.3 percent." This line received whoops and hollers from approving Iowans who clearly weren't aware of the context of the unemployment figure. And the president surely wasn't going to enlighten them.
As Democrats pointed out yesterday, Iowa's unemployment rate is now 4.2 percent, compared with 2.4 percent four years ago. Iowa's unemployment rate is below the national average. But still. Iowa isn't better off than it was four years ago on this measure. Statistics like this make Bush's new slogan "We've turned a corner and we're not turning back" seem that much more Hooverian. That's Herbert Hoover whose losing campaign slogan in 1932 was: "Prosperity is just around the corner."
Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.