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February 04, 2011

Obama: I'll Let the GOP Talk About Austerity While I Talk About Jobs and Freebies

A cowardly tactic but an effective one.

The president has decided that he'll let Republicans be the dour ones. A credible deficit-reduction plan is no longer a precondition for weeks of talk about plans for government investment. Let Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, do all that gloomy talking about the grim fiscal picture. As one GOP aide put it after the president's State of the Union speech and Ryan's official response: "He's the optimistic one, and we're the ones that want to lock up your children."

The two parties are making opposite bets about what the public really thinks about the deficit. The president is betting that people don't see an iron connection between reducing the deficit and increasing the number of jobs. When they judge who is doing more for them—the GOP or the president—they will pick the person optimistic about the future, not the guys preaching pain.

Republicans get this, so they're working hard to reiterate that their deficit agenda is a jobs agenda: Jobs will be lost if the deficit isn't reduced drastically.

What's the right counter-tactic? Well, the Republicans are doing it, but need to do more of it: They must always connect "jobs" to "deficit," hopefully always in the same sentence, so that the media cannot omit the word "jobs" when editing a soundbite. The author (at Slate) discusses this and what the Republicans have to do: Basically, just be much better about always connecting the two issues up, directly and with urgency (i.e., this isn't coming down the road in the vague future but like two months from now), and never fail to call Obama's spending destructive.

Actually a pretty astute column for Slate.

Actually... This gets back to my idea of always bringing up Clinton's budget as the standard to shoot for. It is no coincidence in most people's minds that when the budget became balanced (and even before then, when it was on the pathway to being balanced), the economy exploded. Business was reassured that the country was being decently run and hiring picked up until the unemployment rate dropped to a historic low of 3.8% or so.

People will remember that. Clinton is pretty much the only Democrat people think well of, in policy terms. The Democrats have been making their rent by bringing up Clinton's economy in every election.

Okay. Let's do what Clinton did. Let's balance the budget.


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posted by Ace at 01:32 PM

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