Obama’s tried. He’s negotiated with the opposition, attempted to assess all the factors and bring in the stakeholders. But if he agrees to the budget cuts that the Republicans are proposing, he will lose the 2012 election.
Obama should recognize that the fantasy of “cut and grow” simply doesn’t hold. Even capitalists don’t believe it. In fact, in the Goldman study cited, the budget cuts would further contract the economy. What Republicans are betting on is a win-win strategy for them: keep talking about deficits; if Obama blinks, he strangles the economy. Then the Republicans and blame him for his economic mismanagement. They know that balancing the budget and stimulating the economy can’t be done together. Guess which policy actually wins elections.
Obama should refuse to play the deficit cutting game. What is on the horizon, alas, is steep price increases. Republicans will argue that this has to do with the deficit, when it has everything to do with supply and demand. Yet, if he doesn’t create jobs, there will be rising food and oil prices, and a more dissatisfied populace, who will be more likely to give bad economic policies a try in a different president (although, personally, I think Huckabee is more likely to have the populist capital to actually raise taxes).
So by 2012 Obama may do what the Republicans want him to do: cut the budget, thereby diminishing the economy – ensuring he becomes a one term president. He has an alternative: focus on jobs; and do what Harold Washington did when the aldermen talked smack about his leadership. Visit them in their home state and tell the people directly what he can do for them. In this way he challenges Republicans on their home turf; instructs the population how supply and demand really work; and begins his campaign for reelection.
4 thoughts on “Why Obama’s Conservatism Will Cost Him The Election”
Obama has about as much chance of being reelected as Glenn Beck has of telling the truth.
Funny. I’m cynical. but not that cynical.
I am inclined to think that Obama is being more pragmatic than conservative. There is a good deal more to the story than just “cutting the budget.” We are suffering, and I think that’s the right word, the results of years of fiscal mismanagement, mostly, but not entirely, due to Republican administrations. What will cause him to lose the election more than anything else is the well known peevishness of progressive/liberal voters. They will self-righteously sniff and stay home on election day. Childish and politically stupid, but predictable.
Steve! Great to hear from you. We were in seminary together!
I see what you mean by “peevishness” but I might frame it a little differently. Any group of voters might choose to stay home (which might be Romney’s issue, as he is a Mormon).
Those who don’t understand Obama’s political constraints will wonder where the jobs are, when he is trying to be much more pragmatic, foundational and long-term than most political leaders. Unlike FDR he seems to lack the intuitive ability to withstand the arrogance of the privileged (FDR could because he was of the same class). Unlike LBJ he lacks the aggressive, take no prisoner’s sensibility. He can channel Reagan and Kennedy. I wonder if that’s what the public needs.
Still, I think that unless he fights for a program that creates jobs, he’s going to have problems. On the other hand, most of the Republican candidates seem to lack his finesse, intelligence, and political savvy in other ways.