Our election system continually underperforms the hardships of an economy that cannot find its footing. What is chiefly to blame is not the attenuated news cycle, but the capacity of politics to invent reality without serious challenge. This was the point of Karl Rove in 2003 in his interview with Ron Suskind of the New York Times when Rove admonished, "... when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."
It turns out that Karl Rove was not wrong. But that sword cuts both ways. The GOP is praying the American public will rally around whatever candidate survives the primary and party convention, obeying the short news cycle.
Today's news that the economy has stabilized and slowly improving capitalizes on the same dynamics that Karl Rove employed to such enormous benefit to the GOP. Barack Obama did inherit an economic catastrophe from George W. Bush and Rove's reality-based thieves. Barack Obama did inherit a set of economic advisors who came from the same set of Goldman Sachs experts who made billions playing all sides of the bet on financial practices that did not insulate the economy but insured, instead, that insiders only would understand how to game the system to their advantages.
In the NY Times on Saturday, there was a better view of the results, "Deficits Push NY Cities and Counties to Desperation". But this is the Republican legacy. Not Barack Obama's. Whatever happened in the past-- those failures of policy to protect sustainable economic growth-- infected our present circumstances.
The GOP and its instant Sarah Palin's can lean on "shining city on the hill" imagery. Barack Obama will ultimately benefit from the way the GOP exploited reality-based politics forged in its own crucibles of extremist nonsense. Through this lens, Sarah Palin was not an historical mistake any more than Tiger Woods, a psycho-tragedy in wait of a miracle to come, or the US economy, improving.