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August 08, 2011

One Term Proposition: Axelrod Squirms Over Obama's Old Quote That He's Got Three Years to "Fix This"

Video below.

When Axelrod objects that the country was in a different place when Obama said that, Schieffer responds, We are, things are worse than they were."

Axelrod maps out his 2012 election strategy. It's not unexpected or clever-- Obama has no actual outcomes to run on, so he will have to run on policy choices.

Axelrod sets up 2012 as the choice between tax cuts and "training" for workers and "investments" in green jobs and the rest of it.

There are obvious problems with this strategy.

They actually did most of this crap, not in the strong form command economy way they might prefer, but at least to fair extent. It didn't work.

I've written before about general political goods and partisan political goods. Partisan political goods are ideological things you can accomplish simply with the votes in Congress and/or the stroke of the President's pen -- stuff like enacting the Mexico City policy, or repealing it, or raising taxes on the rich, or resisting those higher tax rates.

This stuff is pretty easily accomplished, as long as you have the votes. But this stuff also is pitched to the base, not to the independents. Independents, being only vaguely ideological, don't care a great deal about these things.

They care about what I call general political goods, stuff that's good no matter what your politics. Prosperity and peace, mainly, but it could include common sense reforms which are widely appreciated, good government type stuff.

Obama has delivered not a single general political good. His only accomplishments, to the extent they're accomplishments at all, are in the area of partisan political goods, stuff the liberal base likes, but which conservatives hate, and independents don't care about very much (or, as is the case with ObamaCare, actively oppose).

He has not delivered peace. Given the War on Terror, no president could, but Obama has not won a war, nor turned one around. He hasn't even managed to avoid being drawn into a third war.

The economy is in horrible shape and we may be entering a second recession, by the technical definition. (I know a lot of people object that the recession never ended, and that's a fair point, but based on the technical definition (a recession begins with two quarters of negative GDP growth and ends with (I think) two quarters of positive GDP growth) we did, but are now headed, it seems, for Obama's very own recession.)

The debt is monstrous.

He can't even run effectively on the neutral, general political good of being a strong leader or good manager of government -- he is neither.

So he can't run on any of these things which appeal to all people, no matter what their political stripes. Instead he must run only on a legislative laundry list, a series of laws already passed that people aren't thrilled with and a series of new legislative proposals which are ideological in nature.

His self-conception of Hero of the Left precludes him from even running on a Clinton-style menu of micro-initiatives (many of which might have symbolic appeal to independents, like Clinton's daffy, but apparently popular, agitation for school uniforms).

I spend a lot of time being frustrated with independents for not finally deciding which of the two conceptions of government they want.

There is an upside for us this cycle, though, in the muddle of independents' politics. That upside is that they tend not to vote on theory and ideology, but instead chiefly on practical results.

Does Obama have any practical positive results? Apart from killing bin Ladin (a decision, of course, that not a single GOP candidate would have opposed, except for Ron Paul), he has not a single one.

Almost Below 11,000... The market is scared.


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posted by Ace at 01:21 PM

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