During the 1992 Clinton campaign there was a famous sign hanging in the campaign headquarters exclaiming “It’s the economy, stupid!”, reminding everyone that the focus of the campaign was that the economy (George Bush sr.’s economy) was terrible, and that it was all his fault.
Fast forward sixteen years and Obama ran his campaign on a similar notion, but now, three years into his first term and looking towards re-election, things are worse and blaming George W. Bush just won’t cut it. So, for Obama, it’s all about the politics.
His recent “jobs” speech to Congress was, at its root, about just one job: his own, and his attempts to keep it. The whole point was to have a prime-time TV opportunity to set the lay of the land for the coming re-election campaign. His reading his “plan” from a teleprompter on national TV to members of Congress who are capable of reading it for themselves was neither capable of nor meant to accomplish anything else.
But why the sudden urgency on Obama’s part? That the economy has been awful is nothing new. Quite the contrary, it is something all Americans have seen and experienced first hand for several years (except maybe those who work for the government).
So again, why now? As it turns out, it wasn’t a set of new economic indicators that drove Obama’s need to look busy, but rather new political indicators.
Obama ended the month of August with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, (Gallup put him at just 40% approval). The same held true for his standing with young voters, Hispanics and women, three voting blocs that were crucial to his 2008 election. Only 40% of Independent voters approve of the job he’s doing, while 54% disapprove: putting him upside-down by -13%. The most recent bi-partisan “Battleground Poll” reported that only 26% of voters said they would “definitely” vote to re-elect him. And the Rasmussen poll’s approval index put those who “strongly approve” of Obama at just 19%, while 45% “strongly disapprove”: a difference of -26%, which means that there are a lot of people who are really passionate about seeing him lose next year. read more »