There have been a lot of silly “scandals” during this election season, which is a usual and normal waste byproduct of the American election process, though this year has been notably intense. Unfortunately, between the “scandals” of Obama having eaten dog while a child in Indonesia, criticism over a flubbed line in Poland, guffaws about him using the word “thingamajig” in a speech, and the resurgent “Birther” nonesense, conservatives and libertarians are losing sight of the real problems with the Obama administration. As I see it, there are two that need to be focused on relentlessly:
- The absolutely dismal economic situation, exacerbated by this president’s misguided and foolhardy policies
- The utterly atrocious record on civil liberties that President Obama has engendered, a holdover from the Bush administration (so much for “Change”)
Everything else can pretty much be secondary to this or just treated as nonsense. These are the real core problems with the Obama administration, and they are all that conservatives need to hammer him with. Forget the memes, forget the social conservatism, just focus on two things: jobs and civil liberties (which does, in case you’re wondering, tie into foreign policy. A bit.)
The economic problem is fairly straightforward: this is the worst recession since World War II, bar none. From the Calculated Risk blog, this chart shows you how badly:
I don’t see any other need for dredging up other scandals or misadventures to pin on the president. “It’s the economy, stupid,” plays very strong and safe with voters, for good reason. Quite frankly, Obama’s Keynesian (or pseudo-Keynesian; I’m not entirely sure he follows even that school anymore) have been an utter disgrace.
12.7 million. That’s the number of Americans who are looking for a job but can’t find one. There’s another 8.1 million Americans who want full-time work but can only find it part-time. I don’t pretend that the President has complete control over the economy, and surely this cannot entirely fall on Obama’s shoulders. However, Obama’s “stimulus” programs and cronyist government loan schedules have done exactly zip to benefit the economy, and may have damaged it for the long-term. His pursuit of Obamacare has only contributed to the doldrums, as the regulatory uncertainty with the bill has made many companies be cautious about hiring. Obama does not have control over the economy, and he did not make this mess, but by Jove he has done squat to help out the average American.
We can reasonably certain that the Republicans will hammer Obama on this. After all, that’s practically the raison d’etre of the fiscal conservative wing of the Republican Party. However, on the other major issues, civil liberties, I don’t expect the GOP to do much at all, precisely because George W. Bush has such similar policies.