Mark Penn, the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, thought he might be able to get back into public political prognostication a year after his biggest professional failure. In a Politico piece, Penn predicts the reaction of Americans when unemployment hits ten percent, what he calls a “political tripwire.”

Unless some tough decisions are made soon, rising jobless figures will most likely hit what could be a public opinion and political tripwire: 10 percent unemployment.

If and when the country crosses that line, it will be the No. 1 news story for days, recent stock market gains could recede, and consumer confidence will fall. And whether or not the economic crisis is coming to an end, such a high unemployment level has the potential to undermine the hard-won confidence enjoyed by the Obama administration. The Republicans will quickly claim all we have is more debt and fewer jobs.

Let’s get something straight: unemployment will creep past ten percent. Even the Obama administration acknowledges this.

But let’s also examine Penn’s accuracy with previous predictions and success as a political consultant on the big stage. It’s not pretty.

1.) Penn’s strategy memo for Clinton, written on March 30, 2007, predicts the unelectability of Barack Obama due to his lack of American roots:

But he also called Obama “unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun,” and wrote, “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.” Penn proposed targeting Obama’s “lack of American roots.”

2.) Josh Marshall points out in a 2008 post that Penn, quite frankly, sucks at advising Democratic presidential campaigns.

But some knowledgeable campaign watchers have now confirmed me in my impression that virtually every Democratic primary campaign Penn has run going back to 2000 or earlier has lost — Checchi, Blanchard, Cuomo, Lieberman, Deutsch. The guy has an absolutely terrible record.

Oh yeah – he lost in 2008 too.

As we examine the success or failure of the stimulus going forward, there are many people more qualified than Mark Penn to accurately and truthfully discuss its impact.

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