Sunday, June 3, 2012

What we know about the next 5 months

If we've learned nothing else about President Obama in the last 4 years, at least we can be assured that he focuses on the long game.
Here's the thing about my husband: even in the toughest moments, when it seems like all is lost, Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal. He never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise, even if it comes from some of his best supporters. He just keeps moving forward...

If we keep showing up, if we keep fighting the good fight and doing what we know is right, then eventually we will get there.

We always have.

- Michelle Obama
When it comes to historical perspective, the next 5 months clearly wouldn't be considered the long term. But compared to how the MSM and political pundits are looking at things these days - its an eternity. We need to keep that in mind when we read their analysis of this presidential race. Especially in response to this week's jobs report.

There's likely a lot that will happen over the next 5 months that we can't predict. But sit back for a moment and reflect with me about what it is we DO know. I think it helps.

The first thing we can expect is a ruling on Obamacare from SCOTUS sometime later this month. What we don't know is how they'll rule. But as I said a few days ago, the worse possible scenario would be that they rule it unconstitutional. That means health care reform moves up on the agenda for the campaign and Republicans will have to start talking about the "replace" part of "repeal and replace"...not a good position for them to be in.

Not too long after that the political pundits will be silenced for two weeks as the whole world focuses on nothing but the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Take a breath for a while because about the only political story we're likely to hear during those 2 weeks is whether or not Prime Minister David Cameron will acknowledge Romney's presence in England (hint: not likely).

Not long after the Olympics, it will be time for Romney to announce his Vice Presidential pick. Rumors will swell for awhile, but in the end, its likely Romney will play it safe after the disaster that was Palin 4 years ago. And then comes the Republican Convention the last week in August. Prepare yourself for a Romney bounce in the polls after its over...always happens. But you KNOW that the media will spin it like its the certain doom of President Obama.

Early September will bring not only the back-to-school focus, but the Democratic Convention. That's when President Obama will re-take center stage and we'll be off to the races for the really intense part of this presidential election with everyone (including those low-info voters) paying attention.

Finally will come the presidential debates where Romney's lies about President Obama will have to meet their actual real life opponent face to face - with everyone watching. This is the part of the campaign that I can't wait to see.

Will Romney continue to avoid talking about his own disastrous plans for the economy and laughable foreign policy by trying to focus only on what President Obama has/has not done? If so, that will give the President a platform to talk about The Road We've Traveled over these last 4 years, touting the fact that "Osama is dead and GM is alive."

Or perhaps Romney will actually present his plans for the country which are simply re-treads of what got us in trouble in the first place.  Can you see him making a case for tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations for Wall Street?  No matter the shape of the economy at that point, it will be the time that the American people are expecting a clear plan about what the candidates plan to do. Romney's got nothing but "Bush on steroids" and his own weak record in Massachusetts. It will show.

Of course, as all this is going on there will be the battle between the Super PACs on the airwaves and President Obama's notorious ground game. The former will probably get lots of media air time and the latter is likely to go pretty much unnoticed...except for results.

I'd suggest that as the media focuses on the "doom and gloom" of this week's economic news, people like President Obama and David Plouffe are thinking ahead to these kinds events and have a plan in place. We've seen them do it over and over again. Why should we expect anything different this time?


  1. I was a little surprised at how many people on the "left" looked at this month's numbers and despaired. Concern is good, despair is not.

    There is not likely to be a policy response to the economy until after the election. Les jeux sont faits. I would think that people would have learned that the President is very much about timing. He is not going to go full-bore Krugman (I'd love some full-bore Debs, but there you are) until later, likely after summer. If he plays that card now, it will be a distant memory come November. He is concerned only with what people will think in November, at least as far as the election is concerned.

    Not to be naive or anything, but these numbers are most likely to be a negative blip in a gradually positive upward trend through 2013-14 and if good policy comes into play even longer. The President often says things like he doesn't play to the 24hr a day news cycle etc. He is waiting to see if this is a blip or a trend. If it's a blip, most likely, it reaffirms his broad point: we never said it would all be easy, there will be ups and downs, and things would be even better if we had an actual House of Representatives.

    If it's a downward trend, then he goes Krugman. The force, though, of the business cycle is extremely powerful. Its upward momentum will be very hard to stop, though clearly it is slowed both by specific events like the Greek catastrophe (which if it resolves well and the Austerians are chucked out will likely produce more short-term difficulty in the world economy before things get better) and also by the more important (in this country) very real problems with the financialization of US capitalism, i.e., long-term diminution of manufacturing as a percentage of GDP and the resulting diminution of aggregate demand because of lower wages generally. This last problem is, you'll note, the real focus of Obama's efforts in terms of the domestic economy.

    1. You point out exactly why I wanted to write this one.

      First of all, we don't yet know the trajectory on the economy. To weigh in too strongly now might make that more difficult when/if there's a more clear downward spiral. Plus, we're about to get distracted by the SCOTUS ruling and the Olympics. If the Obama campaign wants to make a splash - after all that has settled down would be the time.

      Secondly, I think you're very right about Obama's real focus on the economy. I notice that whenever he refers to how we got here, he doesn't just talk about the banking collapse. He talks about the longer-term stagnation of the past 10 years or so. Not enough people hear that or talk about it. But I also think its what he's referring to when he talks about "an economy built to last."

    2. Not 10 year stagnation, but 40 or so. This is what capitalism does. Lenin dealt with it ably in "Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism," i.e., the tendency towards financialization, etc.

  2. My favourite is "Is Dismal Jobs Report the Signal Independents Are Seeking?". Apparently, after 27 months of good/decent job news, one bad one is enough to send the "independents" heading for the Republican hills.

    Right. This to shall pass.

  3. Perfect! The more WE (us,personal) use every tool at our disposal to get in the faces of the more low-info voters the better! We cannot allow the MSM, Myth's camp, Koch Bros, KKKRove, et al to tell our story!!

    I refused to let them make me into a victim!!


  4. correct me if im wrong but i think the right is playing with the polls to discourage the dems and you got to understand for some one like me seeing close polls scares me to death for example the huff post map had obama getting 270 evs but when they threw rassumsen in ohio va became toss ups i begining to think marist is in on it too the same in mass i think the pollsters are being payed off to make it look bad for the dems in wissconsin too if they cheat i see a revolt like weve never seen before yes a revolution it could happen becuse then people will feel help less i hope warrens numbers sky rocket as well as obamas ronmey and the gop scare me to the point i cant sleep eat rest or function i get ssdi so you know how troublesome it can be for someone like me