The politics of envy have reached center stage in America. While it’s not surprising that Obama is using it to badger Republicans, the surprise for many is that some Republicans are using it against other Republicans. The question of 2012 is whether Obama can ride such a divisive strategy to reelection. In a word, the answer is no – because Obama has no plan for the future and today’s voters want a plan.
For most of American history, Americans have lionized the accomplished. We spoke of “captains” of industry and becoming a small business owner was nearly as much a part of the American Dream as owning a home. As the amount of those dependent on government begins to reach an unfortunate equality with those funding government, however, the politics of envy is rises as well.
But can Obama ride the politics of envy to reelection?
Typically, incumbents site their record in support of their reelection bid. But when an incumbent’s record is unworthy, that becomes a difficult proposition – and long ago generated this presidential political question: “Are you better today than four years ago?” That question crystallized Jimmy Carter’s problem and helped elect Ronald Reagan.
Today, Obama’s economic record is failure by all reasonable standards. From higher gas prices, to home mortgage failures, to astronomical deficits to historically high unemployment – Obama’s record has been dismissal. So what’s a candidate to do when they cannot run on their record? Blame others.
In Obama’s case, he has been blaming President Bush throughout his Presidency. Obama has also blamed everything from tsunami’s to economic problems abroad. He is also attempting to blame at least a portion of America’s problems on the rich.
The problem for Obama is that Americans are down on their future prospects. According to Rasmussen:
• “The number of Americans who expect to be earning more money in a year’s time has fallen to a record low” – just 30 percent
• 89 percent think gas prices will be higher 6 months from now;
• By a 46 percent to 33 percent margin Americans think the economy is getting worse not better, and ultimately
69 percent think America is on the wrong track.
Those numbers reflect a voting public that is worried about the future.
Worse for Obama, today’s voting public is very impatient. Need proof? We have had the House change hands 3 times since 1994 – twice in the recent four years of 2006 and 2010. It hadn’t changed hands for nearly 4 decades before that – and impatient voters WANT THINGS.
They want a plan for how the next President is going to turn around the economy. Yet another problem for Obama is that he has no plan that he can talk about. His plans rely solely on more government spending. That’s not something he can sell in this election in the face of trillion dollar deficits. He tried that once – it failed – and polling shows voters don’t want it again.
The Republican candidates, by comparison, all have rather detailed plans that are growing in clarity. They represent crystal clear roadmaps to revive the economy compared to Obama’s politics of envy that includes no specific economic policies at all.
They say in politics “you can’t beat something with nothing.” In the fall of 2012, that will be true again as impatient and worried voters look for leadership and a plan to win the future. No amount of Obama’s envy politics will be able to beat that.