Free Markets, Free People

Obama’s emerging mid-term strategy underscores his inability to lead

I mentioned, a week or so ago, that it appeared the developing strategy the White House was going to use in the 2010 midterm elections was to again try running against Bush.  The brain-trust behind this idea seems to think it will give President Obama the ability to “ride the wave of anti-incumbency by taking on an unpopular politician steeped in the partisan ways of Washington”.  Except the most obvious partisan these last 16 months is Obama and he, in case he hasn’t noticed, is the “incumbent”.

I think Politico and Merle Black pretty much have it figured out when it comes to this sort of a strategy:

It’s a lot to ask an angry, finicky electorate to sort out. And even if Obama can rightfully make the case that the economy took a turn for the worse under Bush’s watch, he’s already made it – in 2008 and repeatedly in 2009.

It’s not clear that voters still want to hear it.

“If you’re the leader of a large corporation and you’re in power for a year and a half and you start off a meeting with your shareholders by blaming your predecessor, that wouldn’t go over very well,” said Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University. “This is a very weak approach. … And I can’t imagine it having an impact on these very swing voters.”

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

13 Responses to Obama’s emerging mid-term strategy underscores his inability to lead

  • If all the economy’s problems are George W. Bush’s, why do we need the Obama chap ?
    Frankly, this approach went stale in the last two weeks, since the economy turned from barely improving to looking like a redux of last March.  This downturn (and all the 401(k) losses) belongs to Obama and his band of merry men.
    In other “what the hell is he thinking” news, having the EPA go after trucks is a sure way to lose those on the fence.

  • I don’t know.  The Republicans are incompetent enough that they may walk right into this.

  • Obama’s mess vs. Bush’s mess – the whole question gives either administration more credit than they deserve.  Bush and Obama basically handled the financial crisis in the same manner, using the same experts, nearly seamlessly.  Bush and Paulson created TARP and rammed it down the throats of the public and the banks.  Obama continued Bush’s policy.  Neither man probably understood the issues, but simply relied on their advisors.  I personally think that it was better to engage in some bailout than not, and even if the bailout was excessive, much of the excess was quickly reversed as banks rushed to payback their TARP funds.  Beyond this, I doubt that anything we are seeing today in the economy can be blamed or credited to Obama.  The economy is not in great shape, but its improvement is significant.  I believe that, with the financial crisis stabilized, the stimulus package was superfluous, and certainly insignificant relative to the overall decline.  The current problems primarily extend from Europe.   Looking at the current administration is staring at a red herring.  However, I am concerned that the new financial regulation bill may serve to extend and expand the recession to the degree it hamstrings banks from acting with freedom and creativity.  “Too big to fail” is another red herring.  The “bigness” extends from the ultimately valuable interconnections between institutions and not from the size of individual ones.

    • Jonathon here is the difference. While I am certainly no Bush supporter, I would say that if the Republicans had retained control then by now we might be seeing a slight recovery. My reasoning is that they most surely would not have engaged in a fantastically huge “stimulus”, Or engaged in ramming an expensive Health care bill through.
      Nor would they have signalled the markets that they were going to let the tax cuts lapse.  All of these things add up to an expectation of higher taxes and higher inflation. This causes uncertainty in the markets and so companies hold up their plans for expansion.

      • I’m not so sure there would not have been a ‘fantastically huge “stimulus”’.  Bush got talked into the $400+- “stimulus” early in 2008 … and it really did nothing; history bears this out.  Frankly, if either administration could form a coherent message, it would do more than any of these “stimuli”.  Having “Turbo” Timmy (or “Turbo” Bob, etc.) heading up your team undermines confidence, no matter how smart the guy may or may not have been.  The real untold story in all of this is what went on in the White House and Capitol Hill to try to keep the economic mess, that had grown up over the years, going … it was truly a bipartisan effort.
        I do agree that Obama has tried to end the recession (actually this is really a “panic”) by gimmickry.  The utter BS of the “green economy”, the stimulus that still isn’t half spent and targeted everywhere except to get the “private sector motivated (who dare call this a “stimulus”), and mythology of health care for all that cost less.  Obama is no snake oil salesman, but he has met them all.  The “Jedi Mind Trick” works well with him (the weak minded).  Meanwhile, Obama gives America two options: be enthusiastic or “pull the blinds and change their minds.”

    • Bush at least attempted to justify TARP. He went on the air to explain why he pushed it.

      Obama has been a clusterf*ck with respect to everything. Everything.

      Oh, and I don’t agree with your contention that bailouts were benificial, or the contention that Obama has not harmed the economy. Obama has created significant uncertainty with his policies. And all of his policies have been bad, with the exception of a few cases where he has continued the Bush policy when that policy was actually working.

      By way of comparison, Bush attempted social security reform but gave us medicare part D. Obama raised the stakes on part D 1,000% with his healthcare plan, and will NEVER seriously attempt real social security reform.

  • It may work,  if he gets a big enough boost from the media and union thugs.

    • I have to agree.

      That Imeme has an approval rating in the double digits after a year and a half of his bungling and blaming speaks volumes about just how stupid much of the American electorate is.  If MiniTru kicks a “Blame Bush ’10” campaign into high gear, it seems to me likely that many people will be convinced that Imeme really HAS done well considering the total mess he “inherited” (poor guy!  It’s not like he asked for it…).  And let’s not forget those nasty Republicans in the Congress!  Why, if The Party of No didn’t filibuster everything good that Imeme wants to do for our country, we’d be into full recovery even now!  Yessir, a chicken in every pot, a Prius in every driveway, and millions of happy Americans working in green jobs with full health care and unbounded confidence in the future!  THAT’S what Imeme will do for us if only we don’t vote for any teabaggers and their puppet, racist candidates!


  • Goebbels taught that if you are going to tell a lie, tell a BIG lie and tell it so often that people will actually believe what they know is a lie.

    No one should let Mr. Obama scapegoat his failings on to Mr. Bush. Instead, everyone should ask Mr. Obama, ‘Just when, sir, are you going to grow up and take responsibility for your failures as well as for your successes?’

    • It is easier to stick your gonads in your ear, than to get Obama to admit to any personal failure.

  • ‘…inability to lead’ – He doesn’t want to lead, he wants to RULE

  • So the Obama strategy is to say ‘it’s so screwed up I can’t fix it?!’

    Then, champ, why were you elected?

    You ran around for a year and a half saying ‘it’s all screwed up!’

    If it’s scewed up and if you can’t fix it, then you’re the wrong person for the job.

  • “The backdrop [of Obama’s message] is certainly how we got into this mess,

    Which message has been the Bush Tax (rate) cuts.
    The economy went into the tank in 2008, after the Dem’s were in control for almost two years and after they resisted every effort on Bush’s part to put a damper on Fannie/Freddie, Social Security…