While Republican candidates pursue the Obama record as the basis for defeating the President in November the early symptoms of what the Obama campaign will look like are starting to emerge. The strategy was foreshadowed last year.
The approval numbers on the Obama Administration’s signature legislative efforts continue to decline. There is little case to be made for economic policy that has resulted in the slowest recovery in modern history and has hit none of the benchmarks identified early in the Administration’s tenure.
Running against a ‘do nothing’ Congress is the prevailing wisdom in the pundit class. That simply won’t be enough to re-elect the President and he knows it.
What will happen is a continual flurry of rhetorical proposals from the President. Everything from banks to housing, communication policy, mortgage refinancing; it will be a long list by the time the campaign get’s into full swing. He will, as he indicated in his State of The Union address, carefully structure a number of these ‘proposals’ to be attractive to centrist, independent voters. Others will be a signal to the base that they will read accurately; “hang on we’ll be back where we were as soon as we’re re-elected.” There may or may not be formal submissions to Congress; it won’t matter. Democrats will, surely, not rush to file legislation on behalf of the President’s proposals as that might actually result in Congress doing something, and we can’t have that!
For each criticism the President anticipates there will be a series of rhetorical proposals. He will cast his proposals against a Republican Congress and demand action absent formal legislation submissions. He will muddle criticism of his record with proposals he has no intention of following up on. This, we have also seen.
Criticize The President on the economy or nearly any other major issue and the response will be that he’s made ’X’ number of proposals that Congress has not acted on. He will carefully structure these proposals to include some aspects that would be acceptable to Republicans, as he did in the State of The Union.
The question will simply be; will the electorate look around them for evidence of competence and improvement or will they, once again, be lulled into a state of denial?