The “It’s the economy, stupid” trap
Yes, the economy is the dominant political issue right now, particularly the unemployment and real unemployment numbers.
Naturally, the economy has been the focus of various Republican primary campaigns, while issues like Obamacare and the direction of the country have become secondary.
It may now be the economy, but it would be stupid to focus the campaign against Obama solely on the numbers.
Were unemployment at 8%, would we be any less against Obama’s vision for the country as a top-down command economy in which relatively small groups of people in Washington, D.C., assert ever increasing control over the economy? Were unemployment at 7.5%, would we be any less against the federal government mandate ordering us to purchase insurance policies, and who knows what next? Were unemployment at 7%, would we be any less against a foreign policy based on apology and bullying friends while coddling foes? If unemployment were at 6.5%, would we be any less against the class warfare and demonization of success which have come to be the Obama campaign’s theme songs? If unemployment were at 6.0%, would we be any less against the reinvigoration of the welfare state and the ever increasing assumption of massive debt which will stifle the futures of our children and grandchildren?
The answers obviously are no, we oppose Obama not just because of the numbers, but because of incompatible visions of our future.
It is, therefore, a trap to focus just on the numbers.
We don’t know what the numbers will be a year from now, but we do know what Obama’s vision of the country will be. That hasn’t changed and never will. These competing visions need to be the center of the debate.
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I would agree we shouldn’t focus SOLELY on the numbers, but given the deplorable economic conditions we are facing, it would be absolutely negligent not to use the jobless rate and other economic statistics as a way to bring home to the voters the how disasterous Obama’s program is. While it’s true that a top-down, command economy is objectionable because it conflicts with our vision of America, it’s makes all the sense in the world to point to current economic conditions in order to frame those issues for the voters.
“These competing visions need to be the center of the debate.”
Amen. AND, the numbers need to be hammered home as an EXAMPLE of the results of the leftist activist in chief’s vision.
For me it’s the corruption and the trust deficit. Not left vs right but crooks & cronies vs regular Americans.
If this post had been longer and you’d said, “If unemployment were 3% …” you would’ve lost me. I was starting to get nervous.
Add consumer sentiment to the list of dismal numbers.
Well, yes. Yet, more there is to it even than battle over general frame of reference. And economics is a trap, but one Americans easily enter, being controlled by the mythology of “making money.” Also, as Rose points out, the thing is of a piece: general frame of reference (stochastic structure), economics (naming/building up and out), foreign policy/responsibility, corruption, national security, etc. are integral. They can be distinguished but not separated. However, the basic point of this post, that focus on finances is a political trap or diversion to prevent joining the battle over general frame of reference (“vision”) is spot on the truth. It is of the nature of the “progressive”/chaotic general frame of reference that no part of it may be removed or even examined without the entire structure collapsing. This is why there are trolls patrolling the web: to suppress and divert scrutiny of the non-self-sustaining “progressive vision” and its consequences.
This economy is the outcome of the leftist progressive socialist policies of this administration. The very fact that Obama continues to claim that there is any recovery, that of course! the Democrats own the economy, that the problem was worse than thought, that Bush gave this horrible economy to the current administration, etc. proves he and all Democrats are ALL in denial of the fact that it IS the economy that people are unhappy with at present.
It also proves that they are running from the obvious – the majority of Americans know they don’t have any solutions, that they are in fact the reason for the bad economy. Not “the rich” or “corporations” or “private jet owners.” People see that the leftist Democrats will point the finger anywhere else but at themselves.
No, it should not be the only factor, but it must be stressed – and directly tied to the policies of Democrats. That is the only way that both the Senate and White House will flip to Conservative Republican control.
The current numbers are guaranteed to change. Whether up or down, better or worse is TBD. But asking the classic question, “Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?” is fundamental. (I personally like Romney’s ads which say “Obama’s not working.” It has so much truth in that small sentence!)
Also vital is the question, “Is our nation more secure than it was 4 years ago?” along with the follow-on, “Do you want to continue on the same path or change course toward a brighter future for America?
The economy is always the key to elections when so many Americans are hurting. It is only a trap if the issue isn’t tied to Obama’s and Democrats’ leftist progressive policies.
Of course, the complicit MSM will do its best to erase truth, obfuscate, or just plain lie to protect their Chosen One. But the truth MUST be said, and will be heard by those of us who no longer trust the media. Most people don’t trust the media anymore, so we have a better chance today than in 2008. And we vote. 🙂
Who says you can’t talk about both? Or that someone isn’t doing both already? Even from simply watching last night’s debate, it’s clear there are candidates who are doing both.
As just one example, Romney’s focus has been on the economy because A) it’s the “most” important issue, and B) it’s the one with the most immediate consequences and therefore most immediately apparent to voters. However, he has not failed to attack the president on foreign policy issues. His book, “No Apology”, was written primarily in response to the president’s apparent foreign policy of “apologizing” for America overseas. He’s criticized the president’s embrace of anti-Israel policies and his extremely misguided reactions to events in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt and Libya. As regards domestic policy, he’s criticized the administration since before it even WAS an administration over the bailout (and buyout) of parts of the American auto industry. And yes, he’s called for a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, stating that he would, as president, issue waivers to all 50 states while Congress worked to repeal the law.
Romney knows it’s not “just” the economy, and is campaigning accordingly. He’s not “stupid”.
The good professor is correct. The faltering economy is a symptom of fundamentally flawed policies based on a fundamentally and fatally flawed vision.
We need to reject the bankrupt, destructive vision. We need to reject the messengers who offer that bankrupt, destructive vision.
Then we can return to a rational way of governing and the economy should eventually correct itself once we are rid of the burden of destructive policies.
Too, too true. We can’t win by taking a page out of the Democrat playbook, circa 1992.
Yet the current crop of candidates are all trying to run with that playbook and not the one you suggest.
Again, it’s not that Obama can’t win. The problem is that the Republicans don’t want to win enough to kick the high-dollar consultants out of bus and listen to the crowd.
They are wasting their money being sold used goods at inflated retail prices when wisdom is laying around free on the ground.
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Been waiting a long time for someone to write about this. My fear was the economy improves and we have no issue to go after. The 2012 campaign must focus on the whole mess that Hope & Change has us in. Foreign policy, health care, green energy fiasco, suppressing our oil production, attacking our allies and kissing up to our foes. Could go on but you get the idea.