One of the most important elements in any type of conflict is to control the ground you fight on. In politics, that usually means controlling the issues that will be discussed. And for Republicans in the pending fight over the debt limit, that means taking the issue of defaulting on our debt payments off of the table and focusing on spending.
In our country’s fiscal wars there have been three major moving parts: 1) taxes, 2) spending and 3) borrowing. Republicans don’t want tax increases and Democrats don’t want spending cuts, which left borrowing to finance the spending. But now increasing payments on borrowing threaten to gobble future revenue for spending and mandate future taxes; which brings us the recurring battles over the debt ceiling.
Despite the tax hikes in the recent “fiscal cliff” deal, neither Obama nor any Democrats will publicly state that the rich are now “paying their fair share”. They know that with the great unwashed, the politics of envy (AKA, jealousy) is always gold.
They also know that facing up to spending means facing up to reality, and facing reality means making choices, which will set some elements of the Democrats’ coalition at odds against each another. If pretty much your entire political party is built out of constituent groups bought off with tax dollars, then you better keep the punch-bowl filled or the party’s over. read more »
In 2008, Mitt Romney bested John McCain in both the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses by huge margins, and was part of a three-way split in Missouri. Just a week ago he lost all three. So what’s different in 2012?
The fundamental difference between the current race for the Republican nomination and the 2008 version is that Romney is viewed as the “least conservative” of the field – vs. 2008, when McCain held (or at least shared) that title. The result? Romney has had a harder time attracting conservatives, and many of them have spent the better part of the last year trying on other candidates.
Given Santorum’s recent wins, and his new status atop some national GOP polls, it should be a validation of his strategy to stay focused on conservative issues. For Romney and Gingrich, it should remind them that they need to lay off of attacking each other and get back to the issues. Everyone knows that both of them (and a good many of their supporters) think that the other is suspect. Some think both of them are. Some even have suspicions about Santorum. But, baring divine intervention, one of them will be the Republican nominee, and as they say in NASCAR, “you’ve got to run with what you brought to the track”. read more »
Military strategy dictates that if you decide “where” a fight will take place, then you will be able to choose the ground that is most favorable to you. The same holds true in politics.
As debate in Washington rages over the deficit, the debt and the debt limit, Republicans in Congress need to keep in mind that the table for the 2012 election is being set – and a fight over big, expensive government offers the GOP the perfect opportunity to choose their own ground.
The 2010 midterm elections offer some instruction on this point. According to a Gallup poll, that election set a modern day record for the highest percentage of people who claimed that they were “more enthusiastic” about voting just prior to election day, (53%). Further, it represented the largest “enthusiasm” gap between self-identified Republicans vs. Democrats – with 63% of Republicans saying they were more enthusiastic, vs. 44% of Democrats.
This begs the question, what were they excited about (or not)? Of course the answer is government – the new Obama brand of bigger, more intrusive and expensive government, to be specific. Republicans couldn’t wait to kick it in the teeth, and far fewer Democrats were interested in defending the policies of the man they so enthusiastically put in office just two years earlier.
In other words, the party whose voters are more enthusiastic is likely to win, which is all the more reason to stay focused on the conservative issues that excite our base. read more »
If eighteen months ago someone asked you to write a political plan more likely to rile up the American people and throw them into the arms of the Republican Party, it’s hard to imagine anything that would be more successful than what the Democrats have done over the past year and a half. Not to mention what they plan to do.
Between ObamaCare, the stimulus, civil rights for terrorists and suing Arizona for trying to control its illegal immigration problem, they have been pushing voters to the GOP with both hands. But in just a few months comes the coup de grace: a massive tax increase – right in the middle of a recession.
Back at the beginning of the decade when Bush and the Republicans were pushing for tax cuts Democrats instinctively fought the idea, (it’s unnatural to them). While they couldn’t stop the tax cuts entirely, they did have enough clout to insist upon a sunset provision, and as of right now those cuts will expire on December 31st. read more »
As the current election season begins to take shape, Obama and his political team are laying the groundwork for the next campaign. Not the midterms, but his 2012 re-election.
Given that increasing numbers of Americans don’t seem as fond of “hope and change” as they did two years ago, they’re crafting a new strategy. Change is out. Reform is in.
When Obama was running for President he was a blank slate. Potential supporters were able to see in him what they wished. But over the past year and half the public has received a pretty stark education in what “hope and change” really meant; hence Obama’s need for a new strategy.
The problem is that people aren’t buying what he’s selling anymore. Even liberal icon Dan Rather pointed that out, telling Chris Matthews that Obama couldn’t sell watermelons by the side of the road if a state trooper was flagging down traffic, (no word on how many years Dan will do in liberal purgatory for that one). read more »