Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Can we talk about the economy now? (Updated)

It's (still) the economy, stupid
Now that Obama has released his long-form COLB, and now that the Trig troofers have been definitively debunked by liberal reporters, can we finally focus on what has most voters concerned right now? We're referring, of course, to the disastrous fiscal and economic policy of Obama and his fellow Democrats.

Former Reagan aide Mary Jo Jacobi Jephson sums it up rather nicely:
Assuming current economic trends continue (and barring discovery of cold fusion in the next six months, there’s no reason to think that they won’t) Republicans could simply bootleg James Carville’s “it’s the economy, stupid” messaging strategy from the 1992 Clinton Campaign. With the Obama Campaign touting their fundraising prowess (expected to top out around $1 billion), the GOP should have no trouble lampooning the Democrat’s backwards thinking on the intersection of money and government.

With values voters currently more concerned about the possibility of $8 gas and double-digit unemployment than gay marriage and guns, the GOP needs to be all business.
We have made rather the same point, although we did so in the context of a Palin victory over the Big-Spender-In-Chief. Ms. Jacobi Jephson would like to see Mitch Daniels as Obama's GOP challenger, and we "strenuously object," to quote a character in "A Few Good Men." But that's the fodder for another post. Though we have a different messenger in mind, we have no argument with the lion's share of her op-ed's title:
It's (still) the economy, stupid: GOP has the message to beat Obama...
The more wild-eyed among the birthers and troofers will not be convinced by any evidence, no matter how compelling. As Stacy McCain observes:
David Frum refers to Birtherism as “the racialist aspect of the anti-Obama movement,” which is rather a large leap. I always compared it to the various strange conspiracy theories about Mena Airport and/or Vince Foster that flourished during Bill Clinton’s first term.

In politics, some people are always more interested in throwing out spooky charges of criminality or fraud than in arguing over policy. You saw this during the Bush administration, with the stuff about Halliburton and Iraq, the claims of rigged voting machines in Ohio, the “Plamegate” controversy and all those wild fantasies about Karl Rove getting indicted.
Here's a novel idea: How about we refuse to allow the more imaginatively deranged among us to define the national debate and get on with the discussion that is most likely to help deny Obama a second term? And pay no attention to the Obama foot-washers who would have you believe that the economy is significantly improving. It isn't, and it will not, as long as Obama pursues his destructive statist agenda. Ignore those who wish to distract and their shiny objects. Let's get back to economic and fiscal issues with a real debate, for a change. It's a win-win for our side.

Update: Victor Davis Hanson specifies the issues we need to focus on:
Okay — the chief one is the present lull before the oncoming storm: Food and gas prices are consistent now with hyperinflation, which seems to be spreading to the general consumer price index — at a time of slow growth, a depression-like housing industry, a pathetic dollar, and high unemployment. It’s hard to see any upside there, inasmuch as in the old days inflation was associated with an overheated economy and, conversely, high unemployment and slow growth at least meant low prices for essentials. Instead, we seem to be entering a 1970s-like stagflationary cycle, whose remedies — higher interest rates, massive energy exploration, entitlement reform, strict budgetary discipline — will seem to this administration the proverbial medicine that is worse than the disease.

Add all this to a new America in which half the population pays no federal income tax and half receives some sort of government check, and we are starting to resemble southern Europe, where the dismal statistics are not so much globally or politically driven but increasingly a reflection of stubborn cultural attitudes about entitlement, work, and consumption in the era of globalization.
- JP

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