Obama’s Dusk, Obama’s Morning

High unemployment is the domestic equivalent of an unpopular war–an overpowering drain on presidential popularity that can’t be countered with policy achievements in other areas, personal charm, or any other conventional political weapon. Barack Obama may soon offer the latest affirmation of this. A few weeks ago came news that the unemployment rate for June had climbed to 9.5 percent—a slight uptick that silenced wishful suggestions that the economy had bottomed out and that a recovery would soon take hold. Now comes the Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of 51 leading economists. Their consensus: unemployment will soon hit 10 percent and will stay there through the first half of 2010, declining only to about 9.