Sorry I've been away. Browser issues.
The tough economy is going to have people looking for someone else
for President. Unless the economy takes an unanticipated sharp upward turn, Obama's only chance will be to win a negative victory. It is possible he will do just that if the Republicans help him out.
Rick Perry's strong record of job creation in Texas should put him in a strong position to take on Obama. The problem is that Perry will need a convincing message on entitlement reform. Putting aside the correctness
of calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, rhetorical hostility to Social Security hurts the chances for reforming our largest social welfare programs. Some kind of substantial (as in trillions and trillions over any given decade) federal-level role in funding and/or forced savings is going to persist whoever wins the next presidential election or the one after that. The open question is what that federal role will look like. Any right-leaning reform that leads to a sustainable system is going to involve huge cuts (somewhat in Social Security and more so in Medicare) and substantial restructuring (especially in Medicare and Medicaid.) Even if these cuts and other changes are gradual and designed to minimize impacts on the most vulnerable, the changes are still going to sound scary. They are going to sound even more scary when Democrats describe them.
As Maggie Gallagher pointed out,
right-leaning reforms are more likely to be implemented and sustained by politicians who seek to reform those programs in a humane and responsible ways, rather than politicians who seem like enemies of any kind of Social Security and Medicare, and who seem poised to use the looming fiscal crisis to swoop in for the kill.