As the year began, I had modest hopes for the 2012 election cycle. I was hoping we could defeat Obama, pick up a handful of seats to take a Republican majority in the Senate and maintain the House majority.
Now, less than eight months away from Election Day, my expectations have risen considerably as each week goes by and it becomes more and more obvious that the White House has nothing to run on.
Historically, of course, economic issues tend to dominate elections. Other issues are important, but at the end of the day, people view politics through their own personal economic prism. Ronald Reagan summed it up nicely in 1980 when he cut through all of the Jimmy Carter bull by simply asking Americans "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" The nation responded with an overwhelming repudiation of Carter and the Democrats.
The same question goes through the minds of every voter any time there is an incumbent president on the ballot, and after three-plus years of Obama we have:
- High unemployment, with record numbers of adults giving up on finding jobs
- Stagnant wages
- An exploding federal deficit, with corresponding exploding federal debt levels
- Lower housing prices, and continued foreclosures
- High gas prices, one of the most personal daily examples people have of a negative economic impact
But beyond the economy, what else has the Obama administration wrought? Well, they have a health care reform plan that a majority of Americans dislike, will bankrupt the country if implemented and that the Supreme Court will likely dismantle. And that is their "signature" achievement!
- They have aided and abetted rising gas prices by curtailing or blocking major drilling projects.
- They've fostered even more turmoil in the Middle East by weakening our commitment to Israel.
- They've alienated Catholics and other religious institutions by attacking religious freedom.
- They've wasted billions of dollars pursuing pie-in-the-sky "green energy" schemes that will never work.
And their answer to every issue involves two things: Higher taxes, and a more intrusive government.
Today Obama rolled out the same two solutions - more government and increased spending - to attack a problem that doesn't even exist: Oil "speculation." (See my takedown of the "speculation" issue here.)
It fits a pattern: Knowing that their stewardship of the past three years is too hideous to give them a chance at re-election, the Obama team is attempting to create a diversion every week. First it was the phantom "War on women," which blew up when a White House/DNC adviser insulted Ann Romney. Then it was the "Buffett rule," a gimmick that wouldn't raise enough money to cover TWO DAYS of government borrowing. Today it's "oil speculators."
They know - deep in their bones - that they are running headfirst into a freight train full of angry voters, and between now and November they will do or say anything in an attempt to distract the American public from their own putrid record.
Their problem is that no one outside of the MSNBC staff and Amy Klobuchar's office is buying it. Whether it's the Edsel, New Coke, Betamax, Ross Perot, the WNBA, Jesse Jackson or a Chevy Chase talk show, the American people know a pile of bulls**t when they see it, and the expiration date of the Obama-style "transformation of America" is now upon us.
White House adviser David Axelrod just bought a new home in Chicago - for $1.7 million, which I'm pretty sure makes him part of the "1%" that is allegedly oppressing the country - which tells me that he knows where he'll be living after next January 20.
I'm updating my forecast for November from "happy" to "ecstatic."