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Has Obama Had His Chance?

7:20 AM, Nov 2, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Fred Barnes, writing in the Wall Street Journal

President Obama is eyeing a new tax cut to boost the economy. He wants to "reduce the costs of our health care programs." He's eager to "meet" the deficit-reduction target of the Simpson-Bowles commission. He's "confident" he can reach a "grand bargain" with Republicans on taxes and spending. To get it, he promises to be breathtakingly bipartisan. "I'll wash John Boehner's car," he told a radio interviewer. "I'll walk Mitch McConnell's dog."

This sounds like meaningless election-year chatter, but there's more to it than even Mr. Obama might suspect. If he'd done in his first term what he now vows to accomplish in a second term, he'd be in a far stronger position to win re-election next Tuesday. He might have been a shoo-in.

From the day he took office in January 2009, Mr. Obama hasn't lacked for opportunities. His first initiative was an economic stimulus package. After he told Republicans that he wanted their input, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor personally handed him a one-page list of pro-growth proposals, including a 20% tax cut on small business income and a reduction in the two lowest income-tax rates. "Eric, there's nothing too crazy in here," Mr. Obama said after looking over the list.

But when the administration's $831 billion stimulus bill was introduced three days later, it contained none of the Republican ideas. Would the pro-growth tax cuts have made the bill more stimulative? Yes. Would the economic recovery have been stronger? Most likely, but how much stronger is unknowable.

Whole thing here.

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