In fact what this recession resembles is the Great Depression. The difference is, of course, that having gone through the first one we had a chance to apply the lessons we learned which is why we're not in a Depression now. So look at the chart above. We only have three years of data to work with (that last year isn't even complete yet, and I estimated the rate at 9.8, which will hopefully prove to be too high). You can see too things - stepping in early we appear to have dodged a bullet; and no matter how wonderful people think the economy was under Bush, unemployment was higher than during the roaring 20's when he was running things.
Also remember that the current talking point from ANY Republican you hear is that we'd be far better off if we'd done nothing. Which is exactly what they said in the thirties. As far as they're concerned the fundamentals of the economy ARE strong, which makes sense if you don't really care about unemployment. The middle class? Those people can take care of themselves.
So what I'm saying is yes, things are awful right now, and they'd have been much much worse if Republicans had been in charge.