Patterico's Pontifications


Obama 2012: It Could Be Worse!

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 9:27 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama’s decline continues in the new CBS News/New York Times poll, which Allahpundit aptly terms brutal, especially in light of the poll’s historical pro-Obama house effect.  Fifty percent now disapprove of his job performance (54% of Independents disapprove).  Moreover, the president is now personally underwater; just 39% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Obama, while 42% view him unfavorably.  I am unsure that means much, but it is not a plus.

However, true to form, Allahpundit cannot resist turning Eeyorepundit when confronted with news which facially favors the right.  He focuses in on the finding that 53% now say the condition of the national economy is beyond any president’s control, up from a mere 26% in the summer of 2008 and 45% last summer.  AP suggests it confirms some of his earlier pessimism about how much the economy may influence the 2012 election:

I think it could go two ways if he doesn’t turn things around by next year. One: The public will continue to cut him lots of slack well into 2012, but as the election approaches and they realize that this will be their last chance until 2016 to change course, they’ll bail and we’ll see a rapid snowball effect among those blaming him for not fixing the economy. Or two: The public will decide that the current recession is so uniquely horrible, unlike anything since the Great Depression, that it’s unfair to expect any president to make major strides in just one term, which will have the ironic effect of partly neutralizing the economy as an electoral issue. That’s completely counterintuitive given its singular importance right now (fully 93 percent in this poll say the economy is extremely or very important to them, an all-time high), but paradoxically the worse things get, the easier it is for Obama to frame slow growth and chronically high unemployment as some sort of mega-quake or force majeure for which no one could reasonably be expected to have been prepared.

Allahpundit is not alone in casting back to the Great Depression as a possible model for the 2012 election.  On the other side of the spectrum, Ezra Klein is terrified that Obama will turn out to be Hoover instead of FDR — that if Obama loses, the economy will recover under a GOP-led government and Republicans will dominate the political landscape for decades to come.  Both can rest a bit easier after considering the weaknesses of the theory.

First, although the economy is mired in malaise — and may remain so for a while — America is manifestly not in a Great Depression.  More significantly here, America is not in the Great Depression.  The New Deal Coalition was not only remarkably robust, but also remarkably diverse (and not in the sense of identity politics).   Indeed, both parties were more ideologically diverse for most of the 20th century than they are today. Given how close the 2000 and 2004 elections were — and how 2008 ultimately did not reflect public support for a New New Deal — the emergence of a coalition that can dominate Congress and the presidency for decades seems unlikely.  Indeed, it seems even less likely if one assumes that the federal government will continue to mostly fail at decisively addressing the economy and the public debt.

Second, the CBS/NYT poll findings have to be read as a whole.  If Americans increasingly say the president has little control over the economy (a finding which would have long-term benefits for the right, incidentally), why are the same Americans increasingly disapproving of his job performance?  Granted, an increasing number disapproves of Obama’s handling of most issues, but the economy is the overwhelming issue driving all of these results. 

Without the poll’s crosstabs, I would hypothesize that the rising number of people saying (as opposed to believing) the president cannot do much about the economy comes mostly from the ranks of Obama 2008 voters.  After all, those in the establishment media reliably put out the narrative that Obama’s failure is a failure of the American system of government.  “It Could Be Worse!” is also the subtext of the entire defense of the Obama’s failures, both from within and without the administration.  Those now saying Obama has little control over the economy likely remain predisposed to him; the issue is whether people adopting this view will be motivated to turn out for Obama in November 2012.  That issue is why Obama 2012 must also run on “It Could Be Worse!” with the GOP nominee.   Political observers almost universally acknowledge that both versions of “It Could Be Worse!” comprise the unofficial slogan of Obama 2012, so we should consider the increase in “it’s not Obama’s fault”  to be baked into the cake.


52 Responses to “Obama 2012: It Could Be Worse!”

  1. I am waiting for the media to abandon Obama. Next year’s election stands to be the nastiest in history. And if you want to blame someone, blame the left.

    AZ Bob (aa856e)

  2. Regardless of who wins in 2012, America will continue to be in deep doo-doo because congress just can’t help itself when it comes to meddling in the the economy. The added crap from various regulatory agencies just makes it worse. Unless we get a congress AND a president who are willing to get rid of the crap, nothing good will come of the 2012 elections.

    GM Roper (d58b94)

  3. The Media-Obama and the mossad had connections to 9-11 to make Muslims look bad.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  4. I think the idea that the president can’t do much about the economy might possibly be explained if many others believe as I do that there’s nothing much the president can actively do to make the economy get better, whether by spending or tax cutting, especially if the measures are short-term. What the president can do, IMO, is make long-term reductions in regulatory burden, or to put it another way, “get the government the hell out of the way.”

    I don’t think Obama has it in him to do this and frankly, I’m not sure many people in Washington of either party do, because getting rid of government means there’s less opportunity for graft, as Prof. Reynolds has repeatedly pointed out.

    ExRat (3b46ff)

  5. I bet Obama’s wishing he could smear yummy gardasil all over the economy

    but that’s probably not feasible in this political climate

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  6. I do remember a silly little piece by Kevin Baker, in Harpers, which predicted many bad things, in the event of the stimulus not passing, of course it did pass, but like with Krugman, apparently not large enough. The fact that the most koolaid drinkingest
    sample, possible has gone ‘turtles all the way down’ is somewhat reassuring.

    ian cormac (ed5f69)

  7. #4 is partly right. But the other half is that Obama proved that a president can take the economy from bad to worse.

    AZ Bob (aa856e)

  8. in truth failure of
    crony capitalism

    ColonelHaiku (601b0d)

  9. I hope now we get one of those scenarios like in Shakespeare or a 1940s costume drama, where the President disguises himself as a peasant, leaps over the palace wall in the dead of night, and goes out to mingle among the common folk to hear what they *really* think of him.

    Can’t you just see Obama disguised as say a truck driver, with a fake mustache and a baseball cap and some five o’clock shadow? Or maybe as a cute little hobo with a snap-brim cap and a bindlestick?

    Knowing Bammy’s horse sense he’d probably dress up as an actual peasant, and wind up backstage at the Met, in the peasant chorus of some Verdi opera.

    d. in c. (352bcf)

  10. On a more serious note this is the main reason not to run somebody like Palin or Perry who frightens moderates, independents and flippable old-skool non-insane Dems. Even with Bammy on the ropes, GOP could still lose by picking someone scarier than The Devil You Know.

    Also, there’s no contradiction: the President doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have magic powers to manage or “fix” the economy, but he’s got plenty of powers to make things worse. Pages of illustrations.

    See 2000-present.

    d. in c. (352bcf)

  11. Can’t you just see Obama disguised as say a truck driver, with a fake mustache and a baseball cap and some five o’clock shadow?

    Comment by d. in c. — 9/17/2011 @ 10:14 am

    Doesn’t Pres. Obama have some affinity with vehicles and ditches already?

    He has been dressing up as an inept tow truck driver for the last several years. Some sort of weird Hollywood flick crossover like “Weekend at Barry’s”?

    BfC (2ebea6)

  12. Whatever happened to Richard Riordan, former mayor of LA? As I recall he did a decent job, and he’s got that calm, competent, perfect-hair look like Romney or Generic President Thorndike (R-Central Casting) which is sort of gonna be the winning look: President I Know What I’m Doing and Plus I’m Not Crazy.

    (whistles “Just One Look”)

    d. in c. (6d8a47)

  13. He voted for Obama, and he’s surprised what he got,
    as a result,

    ian cormac (ed5f69)

  14. _____________________________________________

    On the other side of the spectrum, Ezra Klein is terrified that Obama will turn out to be Hoover instead of FDR

    Then history (or the public) will finally be gauging things accurately.

    Not too long ago I believed Herbert Hoover had been stigmatized in the eyes of the American populace by taking a rather hands-off, cavalier (or libertarian) approach to the Great Depression. Or that in the 1930s he had dealt with America in a survival-of-the-fittest manner. That he was more of a stern, no-nonsense taskmaster. That he was like the “tough love” parent of the household—that he fit the stereotype of the conservative/Republican.

    So it was quite surprising when I learned he actually had taken a very liberal, even ultra-leftist route, by raising taxes big time (from around an original taxable ceiling of 24% up to 70%) on the affluent and initiating various do-gooder public-sector programs.

    Hoover’s successor merely ramped up his predecessor’s methods, to an even higher, more foolish level. IOW, Roosevelt truly acted like, and was, a stereotypical liberal Democrat. And yet his bone-headed policies — and inability to end the Great Depression — were never held to the same tougher standard aimed at the person before him in the White House.

    But I guess — when it came to socio-economic matters — FDR was seen as, and treated like, the lovin,’ big-hearted “mommy” of the household. So he got way more benefit of the doubt than he ever deserved.

    The fact the true nature of the policymaking and 2 major presidents of the 1930s and 1940s is rarely focused on, particularly by folks on the right (eg, in the media), allows dumb assumptions (of which I admit to originally being guilty of) to remain fixed in people’s minds.

    Mark (411533)

  15. Karl look at the trend line. The economy can definitely get a lot worst. Indeed if things continue as they are a depression is certainly within the real of the possible even the probable. As for the scenarios that there is nothing the president can do is entirely false. Its his endless war on business, the excessive regulation, idiotic policies across the board that are aggravating and prolonging the economic crises. Just like FDR’s actions and policies dragged out the depression for another 10 years. Obama is simply too stupid and too arrogant to learn the lessons of being stuck in a whole: stop digging.

    cubanbob (ad2274)

  16. Mark, Hoover was of the Progressive School.

    President Millstone promised us that he was going to correct all of George Bush’s mistakes:
    Close GITMO;
    Pull the troops out of Iraq;
    Win the “good war” in Afghanistan the Bush “took his eye off”;
    Get the economy moving againt; etc, etc, etc.

    His only success has been in continuing the Bush policies, both foreign and domestic, that he originally criticized as a candidate, and voted against as a Senator.

    His aprreciation for economics has been a disaster, and more and more people (including that subset known as Democrats) are recognizing it as so.

    What the GOP does not need is another “go along to get along” establishment insider.
    It needs someone who is willing to upset the money-changer tables in the Temple, and run the rascals and scalliwags out of town.

    Perry, at the moment, fits that bill; Romney does not.

    When, not if but when, the EU Bank system implodes (at it looks like Geithner and Bernanke have committed the USA to bail out the Euro), we will look back on ’10-’11 as “the good old days”.
    Only the recognized fools such as Paul and the other feckless wonders on the fringe of the GOP will be scary.
    Politicians who step up to the bar with a plan, and a vision, of where they want to take (return) this country to will be embraced by the voters, particularly indies who are desperate for someone that they can believe in after suffering this fool not gracefully.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (b23ca8)

  17. Karl – If those on the left are testing the waters with “the president has little ability to influence the economy” meme, then they should acknowledge there is no reason love Barky and help him pass Son of Porkulous.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  18. And vice pres Darth Vader–aka Dick Cheney–did not leave pres Obama a bad economy either.

    However, that does beg the question regarding “our” 2007-2010 Dem. Congress as the reason for the bad economy–What was pres Obama during 2008/9–a Dem. Senator… (yes, Bush II was too close to the liberal side of the domestic policy/agenda. He should have veto’ed the heck out of those spending bills for his 8 year term).

    BfC (2ebea6)

  19. Republicans in all 57 states need to focus and focus and then focus some more on governorships, on expanding their U.S. House numbers and retaking the Senate in 2012. Barry (if he has not decided against going for a second term by then) will be more a distraction than a major factor IMO. Maybe “the president” can’t do much about the economy, but the lawmakers and state execs sure can.

    Farm teams are important to baseball clubs and also to political parties. Team R has a pretty substantial, impressive, energetic and deep farm club. We are starting to see which of the ten or more younger R guys and gals can play on the national stage as they continue to hone their game. Who do the Dems have in their farm club? Think about it. What are some prominent names? Debbie? LOL. The “go to” Dems, the heavy hitters, are almost all in their 60’s and 70’s. And our current occupant of the WH is living proof of what happens when you bring up a promising player from the minors before he has been fully vetted and before he is ready for the big time.

    elissa (865f7b)

  20. It is all the Fiscal cons fault that children are out on the street rioting……………..go eff yourself lefturds.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  21. Presidents cannot wave magic wands and improve the economy, no.

    But the Occupant’s executive orders, quantitative easing (yes, I know that was the Federal Reserve but Obama seemed to like the idea), “stimulus”, support for the disaster dubbed Obamacare, and out-of-control regulatory organizations (let’s not even talk about the permitorium) have made a bad situation so much worse that I feel perfectly comfortable blaming him for how much worse the economy has gotten.

    Getting rid of Obama, and finding down-ticket candidates who will rein in the budget and deficit strike me as the only ways the economy can be improved.

    Just, please, please tell me I won’t have to vote for Romney.

    Dianna (f12db5)

  22. The “go to” Dems, the heavy hitters, are almost all in their 60′s and 70′s.

    Make that 70’s and 80’s, elissa.
    These are the clowns who came to power following WaterGate for the most part.
    Just look at the list of Senate Cmte Chairmen.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (b23ca8)

  23. daleyrocks (18),

    I think that’s where it leads subconsciously (note my parenthetical about that meme being good for the right longterm), so let’s not warn the Left about it.

    Karl (37b303)

  24. cubanbob,

    Of course it can get worse. From the standpoint of unemployment is has gotten worse under Obama. Which is why the “it could be worse” slogan is a minefield for Dems who haven’t figured it out yet.

    Karl (37b303)

  25. Abortion should be forced on raped women.

    Gotta love lefturds abortion on women who don’t want it.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  26. lefturds foisting*

    Not only that they wanna shut up people who criticze gays but yet whine about catholic males raping little boys.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  27. “Hope… That It Doesn’t Get Worse” – Obama 2012

    ColonelHaiku (601b0d)

  28. “Yes We Shouldn’t” – Obama 2012

    ColonelHaiku (601b0d)

  29. “shOvel-ready” – 0bama 2012

    ColonelHaiku (601b0d)

  30. “O? No!” Fits nicely on a bumper stcker.

    elissa (865f7b)

  31. yes, it do, elissa!

    ColonelHaiku (601b0d)

  32. It could be worse.

    And, if the idiotic electorate keeps voting liberals into power…it will be.

    Dave Surls (36286e)

  33. Somewhere, where the secret masters of the Republican Party meet, I bet they regularly thank God that Obama is President and not Hilary.

    Only someone truly incompetent could have taken a 60% majority in both houses of Congress, and 70%+ public support, and get nothing to show for it, while at the same time pursuing policies almost diametrically opposed to economic recovery.

    In January 2009, the Republicans were scared s**tless that they would be in the minority for decades. Hilary could have put them there. But Obama is failing so spectacularly that any mildly competent Republican will look like Solomon in 2013. And since any reasonable pro-business agenda will have the capital flowing again the recovery will be fast and furious, leaving the Dems out in the cold for a generation.

    All because it would be SO COOL to have a black president. Yeah, you bet that their thanking God for Obama in that secret Republican enclave.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  34. If we were going to elect a Black President, just to have a Black President, why couldn’t we have elected one who could actually do something?
    Someone like, say, Wynton Marsalis!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (b23ca8)

  35. And perhaps the Republicans might have done better with Colin Powell in 2000. Certainly would have shook up some coalitions and might even have been handy after 9/11. Yeah, he made me mad endorsing Obama, but it was a bloc thing mostly.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  36. I wonder if the troops will be sent home to stop PTSD which isn’t as common as combat related stress disorder.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  37. Obama and the left also support aborting babies who have Down Syndrome any woman who doesn’t abort their child is a traitor as far as these eugenicists are concerned.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  38. Kevin M: You have an interesting thought process about people you don’t know.

    Is it normal for liberals to categorize opponents based on what you hear from your friends or is just wild speculation based on an inadequate education?

    Ag80 (9a213d)

  39. “First, although the economy is mired in malaise — and may remain so for a while — America is manifestly not in a Great Depression.”

    That the depressions are different is certainly true, the first sprialed down the first couple of years but Europe led the decline more forcefully and Asia did not exist as a counterweight.

    This time Europe is following. When the PIIG weaklings default and exit the Euro we could be in real danger.

    The world supply of dollars, held in reserves against losses, has been inflated, effectively doubled.

    After the exit of Greece, et al., the euro, Swiss franc(now pegged to euro) and renminbi will be more attractive and the dollar will fall rapidly–after seeming strong from now until then.

    Seriously, the next POTUS needs to be reprise of Washington, forget Reagan. There is absolutely no chance whatever that things can turn around for Urkel.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  40. Gee, Ag80, what make you think I’m a liberal?

    Kevin M (563f77)

  41. By the way, I’m thinking it less likely that Obama will be the nominee.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  42. Re#34
    I did not know that Hilary Duff ran for POTUS.
    Trust me to not pay attention!

    Icy Texan (066874)

  43. Who do you think will be the likely nominee, Kevin?
    Kucinich? Ed Schultz? Hilary Duff?

    Icy Texan (066874)

  44. #39: WELL-SAID! I’m sure that ONLY occurs on “the left.” Except….read the ignorance, stereotypes, over-generalizations and flat out lies in comments above yours. But thanx, I may refer to your post in the future :^)

    tifosa (34db8a)

  45. In January 2009, the Republicans were scared s**tless that they would be in the minority for decades. Hilary could have put them there.

    Puhleeeeeze. James Carville, Sam Tanenhaus, several dozen fever-swamp m00nbat bloggers/writers (and maybe you) thought that. A mere 2.5 years later, the Carville and Tanenhaus treatises can be purchased for $.99 in the cut-out bin.

    Hilary Clinton can’t even keep a happy husband in her bed. A miracle-worker she is not.

    ColonelHaiku (601b0d)

  46. More to the point, she couldn’t get health care passed, I would like to think Democrats were smarter then, plus when the Arab Spring blows up, guess who is tied to it, like a ball and chain,

    ian cormac (ed5f69)

  47. healthcare schmealthcare, she
    had the prez of United States
    coppin’ lewinskys

    ColonelHaiku (601b0d)

  48. _____________________________________________

    I bet they regularly thank God that Obama is President and not Hilary.

    But if your assumptions are correct, then this society is going to go down the drain, eventually and regardless.

    Hillary is no less liberal and unethical than Obama, but you’re theorizing she’d have been tactically more adept than Barry. I will give you that point, since she did manage to dodge sniper fire on airport tarmacs better than most First Ladies.

    The fact scroungy Bill’s conniving wife gets way more benefit of the doubt from a large share of the populace than a Sarah Palin does, or a Michele Bachmann, etc, says it all about how millions of Americans don’t mind being stooges, dupes and fools to politicians, just as long as those politicians are of the left.

    Mark (411533)

  49. Go be a troll someplace else.

    Medicare needs to be reformed.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  50. Islam and christianity is so different.

    DohBiden (d54602)

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