The question that resonates
We’ve said it is a question that ought to be asked. Mitt Romney brought it up in his RNC speech. Chris Wallace ask it of David Axelrod. George Stephanopoulos posed it to David Plouffe. The answer? Well you’ll not hear a straight one from either Axelrod or Plouffe.
The question they’re avoiding?
The question Democrats didn’t want to answer head-on Sunday: Are Americans better off today than they were four years ago?
Asked the same question repeatedly host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” President Barack Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Plouffe, reverted to talking points about job creation and the failings of the Bush administration.
“We were this close to a Great Depression,” Plouffe said at one point, pinching his thumb to his index finger.
Stephanopoulos cut him short.
“We’ve clearly improved, George,” Plouffe replied. “We’ve made a lot of progress from the depths of the recession … We’ve got to continue to recover.”
Of course, what Axelrod and Plouffe both understand, surely, is that it really doesn’t matter how close we got to a depression or whether or not we are actually technically recovering. What matters is how the American voter perceives the situation.
That, of course, includes the unemployed and the underemployed. It means all the households which have seen their income slip over the years (median income dropped from about $54,000 to $50,000 during the Obama years).
As I keep pointing out, economic issues become priority issues when a voter is effected by something like a downturn. When the negative effect is widespread, it is likely to be the priority issue for the majority of the voters.
So it will be interesting to see how the DNC chooses to theme its convention. Sandra Fluke being a keynote speaker should tell you much of what you need to know. My guess is it will be themed to avoid talking about the economy and the administration’s dismal record and instead, heavy on this faux “war on women” theme, with splashes of “I got Osama” and “why didn’t the Republicans talk about Afghanistan?”. Throw in a dash of “the evil rich not paying their fair share” and you’re done.
What you won’t hear, not even faintly, is whether or not we’re better off than we were 4 years ago.
Because we know we’re not.
And they know it too.