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A lot of people have speculated about what, if any, major issue would give Mittch-A-Sketch Romney a game-changing advantage going into the fall election.

Something has occurred to me of late, about one particular matter where President Obama is particularly vulnerable, not only to those on the right and in the middle, but even among those on the left, like myself, as well.

It has to do with the economy. But, it doesn't have anything to do with the lame arguments Mittch-A-Sketch is currently using about the economy because, frankly, Romney's current framing on the economy is so lacking in credibility as to be laughable.

Let's face it, the economy is, in fact, dramatically better than when President Obama inherited it, on all major fronts except one. The stock market's improved by more than 50% since he took office and all major economic indicators are up significantly, as well as actual industry-by-industry performance (i.e. automotive, oil, construction, real estate, all of which are in dramatically better shape). Most industries experienced record profits last year, for instance.

However, there is one major potential Achilles Heel for president Obama. And it's not so much the generic issue that's the problem as it is in how Mittch-A-Sketch frames it and hammers it home.

It has to do with jobs. But, not just jobs, it has to do with a major, fundamental, strategic error committed by President Obama and his economic team regarding jobs.

Mittch-A-Sketch is full of hot air when he claims that President Obama has no jobs bill. He does. It is, in fact, Mittch-A-Sketch who has no specific jobs bill. But, blatantly false positioning statements like that have never stopped Republicans from exhibiting extremist acts of hypocrisy.

Where President Obama can be faulted on jobs, especially with people like me is the following:

When the economy was in the tank, a lot of people applauded the President for taking aggressive action with the stimulus and, all evidence shows that those actions did, in fact, help. A lot. Regardless of what Republicans claim.

However, a lot of people on the left were insisting that we, simultaneously, needed an aggressive jobs creating program as well. President Obama's administration did not take advantage of the fact that they held the White House, a large majority in the House and a 60-seat majority in the Senate to enact a jobs bill.

The current jobs bill being pushed by President Obama was not offered by the president until AFTER he and his party lost control of the House of Representatives in 2010. In other words, he proposed it when he and his fellow Democrats knew it stood pretty much a snowball's chance in heck of even being passed.

Had he proposed and enacted the same jobs bill BEFORE November 2010, my guess, and that of a lot of progressive economics (Krugman & Reich come immediately to mind)
is that he current unemployment might not be as bad as it is. And, even if it were the same the president could credibly make the claim that it wasn't for his lack of trying.

Now to my point: If Mittch-A-Sketch were to pivot and make the argument, over and over, from now until election day, that the President didn't act quickly enough on jobs, he might be able to make some dramatic headway.

That's not to say that this is a slam-dunk issue for Romney, especially since he hasn't had and doesn't currently have any remotely credible jobs plan of his own. However, if he were to develop something plausible and then hammer home that the president made a strategic mistake in this area, this could be a winning issue for him, depending. Depending on how he threads the needle.

If Romney can start effectively making the argument that President Obama had the opportunity to implement the jobs plan he now espouses, but didn't do so...and then suddenly decided that he supported an aggressive jobs plan only after he knew he didn't have the political power to enact it (perhaps in more effectively language than that, of course)...Romney might have a very potent issue.

Don't get me wrong, this particular individual supports President Obama and considers him to have been very effective in most ways. However, his Achilles Heel may well be having failed to follow the advise of many on the left that we needed a major jobs-creating program in addition to a stimulus package. When he had the political power to implement one, he didn't do that. Only after losing the House of Representatives did he decide to pursue that, knowing the chances were remote. That still bothers this particular progressive and, possibly, many more.

So, what's my purpose in bringing this up? Because...if President Obama's re-election team does not have a good answer as to why he waited so long to come out with a jobs program, they could give Romney an opening. It was a major strategic blunder, in my opinion.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i agree in part (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, JeffW, ColoTim

    as many of us said at the time, the stimulus, while extremely helpful, was not large enough to create a real recovery. and it ran out of steam just in time for the economy again to start dragging before the 2010 mid-terms, which got us pummeled. just as many of us said it would. so there is a legitimate case that obama didn't do enough, and while his more ardent supporters insist he couldn't have gotten more, the reality is that we don't know, because he didn't try.

    but this issue shouldn't work for romney. of course romney will claim that the struggling economy proves that obama didn't do enough, but what romney means by doing enough is the stale and failed republican mantra of market based solution, tax cuts, degulation, cutting government services. the honest answer is that obama went in the right direction, but not far enough, while romney wants to go in the opposite and wrong direction.

    romney will try to use the economy against obama, and the democratic response should be about two different visions of government- austerity or growth, good jobs or more wealth disparity.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 09:56:54 AM PDT

    •  You are, of course, correct (0+ / 0-)

      in your claim that we don't know what the final result would have been if a larger stimulus had been proposed.

      We do know that Congress cut down what  the president did propose, so I think that's a good hint that a larger stimulus request would not have made it through Congress unscathed.

      •  i agree (0+ / 0-)

        it would have been scathed. but aim high and the final compromise turns out to b higher than the final compromise from not aiming high. and then you really set up the political argument for 2010- i wanted something bigger, i fought for it, but the republicans prevented it. give me a more democratic congress and we will get the full stimulus we need.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 12:48:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, but I think that's a false belief (0+ / 0-)

          that many people have about negotiations. Starting out higher doesn't result in reaching a higher resolution point; in fact, starting too high can actually sometimes result in killing your chances of reaching a resolution at all because the other side concludes you're simply unreasonable and/or irrational.

          And, of course, Obama did want something bigger but couldn't get that. I don't see how asking for something even bigger  than what he asked for (but surely wouldn't have gotten anyway) changes anything.

          I'm pretty sure his critics on the left and the right would still snipe, no matter what.

  •  Very wrong statement in your diary (8+ / 0-)

    That Obama did not take advantage of having a 60 member majority in the Senate.

    The Dems had 60 members for about 6 weeks - after Al Franken finally was seated. But during that time, both Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were basically not available, then Kennedy died.

    That is a Republican/Romney meme. We should not be repeating it and giving it credibility.

    Also, one of the supposed 60 was Lieberman. And a handful of other Dem Senators (Ben Nelson, Pryor among them) were far less than likely votes.

    Much solid otherwise, but this stood out as something very bad for a Dem to repeat.

  •  So let me see if I have this right (0+ / 0-)

    You think Republican Romney can criticize Obama for not trying to push a jobs bill through Congress during the brief window we could have broken a Republican filibuster in the Senate?

    You do realize that this line of attack blames Obama (um, a Democrat) for Republican congressional intransigience?

    I know it's become fashionable to blame Obama for everything, but don't you think this is kind of a stretch?

    •  am not blaming Obama for everything... (0+ / 0-)

      in fact, re-read the part about the stimulus.

      Let me rephrase my argument a bit. Immediately after president Obama introduced the jobs bill, it sounded great to me, but one thing that came immediately into my mind was: Okay...this jobs bill is great, but the Republicans are now in control of the House and the Democrats have a much smaller majority, meaning that the proposed Obama jobs bill stands virtually no chance of getting enacted. However, had President Obama and his team proposed such a jobs bill when they did have large majorities in the House and Senate it might at least have stood a chance.
      Why did they wait until AFTER losing control of the House to propose this?

      It still sticks in my craw that the President and his team waited until they knew they couldn't enact it to propose this jobs bill. My guess is that this may be true of many others on the left. Republicans will accept the argument because they will support any anti-Obama rhetoric. And it could hold some sway among independents, as well.

      Once again...this all depends on a lot of things. Most importantly, whether Romney is astute enough of a politician to exploit this while deflecting attention from both his and his party's own record (or lack thereof) on a jobs bill.

      To me, it seems like an Achilles Heel for President Obama in terms of being an area of disappointment.

      •  so IOW (0+ / 0-)

        Romney's case against Obama is that he didn't spend enough? While Romney is criticizing Obama for spending too much. Tell me again why that's a winner for Romney.

        •  it's the timing... (0+ / 0-)

          ...Romney can make the case that if President Obama truly cared about jobs, he would have offered his jobs plan when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

          That doesn't mean that Romney needs to endorse that plan (obviously, he hasn't and won't).

          In other words, Romney can argue the following: That President Obama's current jobs plan is simply political posturing, because if President Obama were serious about his jobs plan, he would have presented it when it stood the greatest chance of being enacted...when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Instead, he waited until it was virtually certain not to be enacted by Congress, after Republicans were swept into power in the House, to even propose it.

          Once again, it still sticks in my craw that President Obama and his team decided to put forth an aggressive jobs plan only AFTER Republicans took over the House, when he knew it stood a snowball's chance in heck of passing. That message could have some resonance with other progressives, in addition to Republicans and independents.

          •  So Obama (0+ / 0-)

            should have put forth a jobs plan that Romney would not have. And then Romney gets to accuse Obama of not doing enough? Seriously?! BTW, let's not forget about filibusters and Obama's sincere misplaced interest in bi-artisanship. In fact, Obama did more of what Romney would have done (tax cuts)  than a direct stimulus initially proposed(which he should have and screw the "job creators".)
            It would seem that Obama could say he followed the Repiglican game plan( more than he should have) and that even according to Romney, it hasn't worked. Ultimately, Obama offered a jobs plan (which would work) hoping that "Americans first" would be focused on bettering the economy, not sabotaging it. Frankly, what difference should it make WHEN the right plan is put forward. If its the right thing to do for the country,  then all Americans should be for it. You've just made the case that the Repubs won't vote FOR anything simply because a Democratic President authored it.

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