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.