Are We Better Off Than in 2008?
The old debate question that helped put
In the president's kick-off 2012 campaign speech at
Of that pitch, Obama said: "We've seen that play before. ... The real question -- the question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children -- is not just about how we're doing today. It's about how we'll be doing tomorrow." He proceeded to offer his vision of what America will be if the voters allow him to move on with his unfinished business of righting the economy and propping up a middle class that is under assault.
In other words, instead of griping about the slowness of the progress we're making in recovering from the mess he inherited in 2009, he was saying, Americans will be better off -- not to mention his own political legacy -- by remembering how the country got where it was then, and looking ahead to where he wants it to be.
As valid as Obama's assessment may be as to where we are today and how we got here, the problem is that he tried the same pitch diligently two years ago in the midterm congressional elections, and it failed abysmally.
As a result, Obama had to spend his next nearly two years, first, attempting to appease the further emboldened congressional Republicans in stalemates on debt reduction and tax policy, and then accepting the political reality of their obstructionism. That, and having to relive the health-care reform fight over again amid the
He gave his supporters another pep talk on grass-roots campaigning, telling them there's "nothing more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. When enough of you knock on doors, when you pick up phones, when you talk to your neighbors, when you decide that it's time for change, guess what? Change happens. Change comes to America."
The cheerleader-in-chief went on: "If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it's still about hope, you tell them it's still about change." And he talked at length again about his aspirations for education, clean energy, better fuel economy, the end of the two wars, tax code reform and "a forward-looking America ... not just about what we're doing today. It's about what we'll be doing tomorrow."
What's foremost on Americans' minds now, however, is precisely what's being done today, to create jobs for the millions who are unemployed and underemployed right now. Obama had little specific to say new about that.
Arguing that the reason Americans voters are not better off now because of the mistakes and bad judgments of his predecessors didn't fly two years ago. Reminding them of that contention again isn't likely to blunt the present complaint that he isn't doing enough right now to put Americans back to work.
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Are We Better Off Than in 2008? | Politics
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