Not Good Enough
2:41 PM, Jun 1, 2012 • By JAY COST
Perhaps I’m not in the best position to offer the White House and Democrats the best advice, but, c’mon gang, this just ain’t gonna cut it. From the White House:
Here is my reaction:
1. This recovery is arguably the worst in the postwar era. At this point, in terms of sustained weakness, the only real competition is with the period 1946-1949 and 1974-1980. And I think the data suggests the current period is worse.
2. The broad middle of the country does not blame Obama for the recession. However, they think he has not done a good job with the economy.
3. There is no vision from Team Obama about how to fix this mess, beyond these warmed-over proposals that made up the core of the (broadly unpopular) stimulus bill. What happens in a second term with the economy? Do we just keep limping on, while the president continually blames his predecessor, pushes small ball (and obviously poll-tested) proposals, and tries to pump more money into Democratic constituencies like the teachers and craft unions? I understand the political need to blame Bush, but there has to be more.
4. Though the president has been campaigning for six months or so actively (and more subtly for the prior year), he has made no real gains with the independent voters who will swing the election. There is no evidence that they trust him to do a good job on the economy in a second term. If he hopes to win, he has to offer them a vision of how he will make things better. It is high time White House and the Obama-Biden campaign recognize that touting the American "Jobs" Act is not moving the center of the country.
5. If he does not do something else, he is going to lose. I’ll put it this way: Talking up this lousy economy + blaming Bush + kowtowing to Democratic constituencies + castigating Romney as the bane of all that is holy = 47 to 48 percent of the vote, and maybe 225 electoral college votes.
Not good enough.
Jay Cost is a staff writer for THE WEEKLY STANDARD and the author of Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic, available now wherever books are sold.