Running Against a Ghost
Can President Obama be re-elected by running against former President George W. Bush? Some Democrats seem to think that's a good part of what he's been doing, and they question the notion.
While repeatedly reminding voters, in a major campaign speech in
Yet every decision he listed as the core of the decline had Bush's fingerprints on it. "We were told," he said, "that huge tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest Americans, would lead to future job growth. We were told that fewer regulations, especially for the financial institutions and corporations, would bring about wide prosperity. We were told that it was OK to put two wars on the nation's credit card. ... So how did this economic theory work out?"
Obama went on at great length in this vein, essentially rehashing the history of the George W. Bush years, which without much exaggeration constituted the economic mess he inherited in 2009. The problem with the approach politically, however, is that Obama had laid out most of this lament before the voters in the 2010 midterm congressional elections, and suffered what he later acknowledged was a "shellacking."
Even as he recited repeatedly in the midterm campaign how Bush and the Republicans in
In all of this, prospective Republican presidential nominee
He continues pretty much in the same fashion, but that has not stopped Obama from suggesting that Romney this fall would offer essentially a continuation of the Bush policies "that we tried during the last decade ... that the best way to grow the economy is from the top down ... that if we strip down government to national security and a few other basic functions, then the power of businesses to create jobs and prosperity will be unleashed, and that will benefit us all."
The one direct Obama rap against Romney in the
Three separate times during the speech, Obama insisted his message was not "political spin." It was, however, as some critics accurately noted, a very long restating of his basic arguments from the start of the recession, without using the word "stimulus" that his rivals have so successfully demonized. He called again for rebuilding the nation's physical infrastructure and its knowledge base as imperative not only to provide jobs but to keep America competitive in a tougher world economy.
At times he sounded somewhat defensive, noting Republican ads that "tell you the economy is bad, that I cannot fix it because I think government is always the answer, or because I didn't make a lot of money in the private sector and don't understand it, or because I'm in over my head, or because I think everything and everybody is doing just fine."
But he was on sound ground in reminding voters of the failed policies that made his first term a rescue effort rather than the vehicle for "hope and change" he promised in 2008. Now he needs to go beyond those Bush reveries and bring the fight more to Romney himself, who remains a sort of mystery man to many wondering voters.
Read the latest political news.
- Justices Uphold Individual Mandate, Set Limits On Medicaid Expansion
- Court's Dissenters Argue That 'Entire Statute Is Inoperative'
- Health Law Decision A 'Victory For People All Over This Country'
- Justice Roberts Says Law's Offer to States on Medicaid 'Is A Gun to the Head'
- Romney: Health Law Bad Policy, No Matter SCOTUS Decision
- The Tea Party Shtick
- How Wall Street is Trying to Avoid Oversight
- The Robin Hood Tax
- Growing Independence from Both Parties
- Are the Democrats Doomed?
- Mitt Romney: Running for Magician-in-Chief
- Mitt Romney is Dangerously Naive on Foreign Policy
- Is Marco Rubio the Hope of the GOP?
- Progressive Morality
- Running Against a Ghost
- Candidates Must Steer Clear of Political Potholes
- Obama Shows that Political Gaffes are a Game Two Can Play
- Candidates Woo Skeptical, and Possibly Decisive, Latino Bloc
- From Hope and Change to Fear and Smear
- Obama's DREAM Gambit
- The Limits of Compassion in Politics
- All Hail Emperor Obama
- Drone Warfare Foretells an Ever-Expanding and Illegal War
- Sending in the Drones
- Realists Play Video Games
- Women Candidates Need to Fight Back Against Innuendo
- Obama's Truthiness
- Wisconsin Wakeup Call
- Hard Times, Weak Unions
- Wisconsin Vote Dashes Union Hopes, An Entire Movement's Gains
- Wisconsin: Labor's Love Lost
- Liberal Nostalgia for The Good Old Days of Conservatism
- The Big Lie Coup D'etat
- Super PAC Era Links Back to Early James Burnham
- Recalling the Gilded Age
- A Fair Shot
- Low-Wage Nation
- Supreme Doubts
- Obama's 'Fine' Mess
- Making the World Safer for the Next Bernie Madoff
- 'Compromise' is Not a Dirty Word
- Googling Anti-Obama Racism
- Who are You Calling 'Extreme'?
- Is the Worm Turning?
- Searching for a Surrogate
- The Essentiality of Journalism
- Our Press Freedom is Under Fire
- Of Bedrooms and Boardrooms
- Budget Cut Blues: America Needs More Informed Citizenry
- Pentagon Spending Spree
- Why the 'Pro-Growth Centrists' are Wrong
- Social Security's Dual-Income Trap
Running Against a Ghost | Politics
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services