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Bush And 2012

Ross Douthat writes that the public's memory of President George W. Bush will prevent Obama  from being Hooverized by the lousy economy and that Pawlenty's tax plan will be a general election liability.  Here's what I think:

Douthat is partly right, but I don't think that blaming Bush helps more than a little.  Obama's situation would be worse if the Great Recession and the financial crisis had occurred entirely during Obama's term.  People recognize that Obama didn't personally cause the downturn.  But that has limited relevance in a general election context.  Swing voters can probably keep the following two thoughts in their heads simultaneously: a) Bush was a lousy President and b) Obama might not be as bad, but he is still doing a lousy job and we still need a new President.  And it isn't just swing voters.  Obama's job approval on the economy is 41%.  Short of some calamity, Obama will almost certainly get more than 41% in next year's election.  Whatever they think of Bush, even some Democratic-leaning voters don't like the job Obama is doing on the economy.  Memories of Bush won't be any clearer in November 2012 than they were when Republicans were making large gains in November 2010.  If the labor market stays where it is (or God forbid gets worse), Romney's line that "He [Obama] didn't create the recession, but he made it worse and longer" will have resonance and "Bush started it" won't be enough of a response.  To the extent the labor market improves, the force of Romney's charge will weaken. 

I generally share Douthat's concerns about Pawlenty's tax plan (and especially its relationship to his spending plans) but I hope to get to that tomorrow.

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 2 Comments

I don't think the "It's all Boooosh's fault" is going to be anywhere as near as effecative** as the wise heads think. That is because there is a counter available in the "it was caused by political corruption in Fannie Mae, etc. and the loosening of loan standards via the CRA (which, to avoid claims of racial favoritism, caused the loan spigots to open wider)", and this is going to hurt the Dems more--a.) because they were bigger supporters, b.) it hasn't been covered, which means it will be fresh while "Booooosh" will not be, and c.) the fact that it hasn't been covered feeds into a longer term trend about MSM bias, one that could cause people to start drawing two subconscious conclusions about Democrats 1) because of the bias, anything good I hear about them is probably not as good as is being portrayed, and 2.) anything bad I hear is probably got some truth to it, and also may be the tip of the iceberg.

** I don't know if it's a real word, but it should be--"able to be employed, able to be successful, able to be sprayed on in a wide manner"--but without the pointed firmness of results that 'effective' brings

"Efficacious" was the real word I was looking for. So there we go. No need to invent a new one. I will therefore keep "efficative" in my back pocket, just in case Mr. Efficacious is ever accused of being a racist and becomes excommunicated from the public sphere....

The concludes the test of the Emergency Word Generation System. In the event of a real word emergency, you would have been instructed to contact your federal, state, and local dictionary officials***. This is only a test.****


***for I assume that is something farther down on the Progressive agenda, once the more immediate stuff gets taken care of.

****Emergency Word Generation System not for use in the game of Scrabble.

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