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Sep 01 2010

enthusiasm updated

part 1

Background

GOP Tea Party Takes 10-Point Lead in Generic Poll

Taylor Marsh, 30 August 2010 6:00 pm

The Point

Obama just doesn’t get it

Unemployment is a catastrophe, the recovery is stalling, but the president says his priority is “debt and deficits”

by Joan Walsh, Salon

Monday, Aug 30, 2010 14:50 ET

It’s been written before: The Obama team seems to think 2012 will take care of itself, as long as they burnish that shining Obama "brand," which requires reaching out to Republicans and independents and ignoring the pesky left, with its old culture-war grudges and its subversive demand for greater economic fairness. I’ve heard some smart folks speculate that the White House may even welcome a Republican takeover, the better to “let Obama be Obama,” and continue to play out his fantasy of being a Democratic Ronald Reagan, creating a generation of what he used to call “Obamacans” and realigning politics for his lifetime.

If anyone in the White House still believes that, they are delusional. If Republicans win back the House, they will tie up the president in subpoenas and bogus investigations faster than you can say Darrell Issa. The president hasn’t created “Obamacans”; instead he’s created a phenomenon best described as “Obamacan’t.” And still he cozies up to Republicans like Alan Simpson, who’s determined to slash Social Security and its “310,000,000 tits” (in how many ways was Simpson’s statement wrong? Probably close to 310 million). And the problem with Obama’s milquetoast approach to the economy isn’t just political: If Republicans get to reverse or obstruct the Democrats’ inadequate but promising steps forward on healthcare and financial reform, while slashing government spending and extending the disastrous Bush tax cuts, we may yet see an economic collapse to rival the Great Depression — the one that an earlier generation of brave and visionary Democrats vowed would never happen again.

It is too late for anything Obama says or does to materially improve the economy, or ease economic suffering, in time for November. In an e-mail today to Politico, Time’s Mark Halperin laid out the list of Democratic problems that he says could lead to the party losing up to 60 seats in the House (that’s still unlikely): “the enthusiasm gap, the state of the economy, the failure to materialize of a lot of what Democrats were counting on (health care law getting more popular, and ‘recovery summer’ taking hold).” The only thing on Halperin’s list Obama and the Democrats have any real control over now is that so-called enthusiasm gap, the fact that Democrats are much less excited about the November election than Republicans are. Trust me, watching the president continue to mouth Republican platitudes about “debts and deficits” and a recovery built on “private investment” is only going to increase that gap, not narrow it.

Great job.  You have my policy prescription.

(h/t Corrente)

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