Another indication of how anemic our recovery is can be found in the “official” unemployment numbers this week. The rate rose .1% to 8.2%. I assume I don’t have to belabor the fact that the number is a real lowball of the true unemployment rate.
Jeffery Folks at American Thinker begins his article with:
Imagine a president who gets behind drilling, welcomes the cutting-edge technology of companies such as ExxonMobil, and offers generous 15-year tax breaks to ensure that new drilling projects move forward. That’s the kind of energy policy America needs in order to achieve energy-independence.
I’d love to imagine that. In fact and unfortunately, we have a president who does exactly the opposite.
If you want someone like Folks is wishing for, you’ll have to go to Russia:
Unfortunately, it’s not Barack Obama who’s behind those positive energy policies; it’s Vladimir Putin.
As Russian president-elect, Putin has made it clear that he intends to open his country’s arctic and Black Sea regions to drilling. The potential is so great, and the necessary investment so immense, that even Russia’s giant state-run oil companies, Rosneft and Gazprom, lack the resources and technology to proceed. So, with Putin’s blessing, Rosneft and Gazprom have entered into joint-production agreements with Exxon, Italian major Eni, and other Western companies. The stakes are huge — not just for these companies, but for the Russian economy.
The arctic and Black Sea fields being jointly developed by Rosneft and Eni contain an estimated 36 billion barrels of oil equivalents. Those under development by Rosneft and Exxon, which may ultimately require an investment of as much as $500 billion, contain estimated reserves of 36 billion barrels in the arctic Kara Sea fields alone. (Total recoverable arctic reserves have been estimated at 134 billion barrels of oil equivalent but will likely go higher as exploration proceeds.) In addition to the arctic and Black Sea fields covered in the Exxon and Eni agreements, president-elect Putin has expressed an interest in the possibility of joint ventures to develop vast Siberian tight shale formations.
The US has an incredible amount of natural resources including huge reserves of oil and natural gas. We’re already the number 3 oil producer in the world. And guess who actually leads the world with recoverable fossil fuel reserves? Yes, that would be the US. Imagine an energy policy that made extraction of that fuel a priority? With aggressive exploration and drilling (as well as approval of the Keystone XL pipeline) we could have a 92% secure liquid fuel sources by 2030. Not to mention, in a time of high unemployment, a jobs bonanza.
But what do we get?
Not that, that’s for sure. We instead get a president who talks about an “all-of-the-above” energy policy while his actions belie his claims. He’s turned lose a executive agency (EPA) on the fossil fuel industry that has already been slapped down numerous times by the judiciary for over-reach. Drilling and permits on federal land have gone down dramatically.
In an oil market that has seen supplies tightening and prices going up, his administration has done everything to keep it that way.
And voters aren’t happy with his performance at all.
If this is going “Forward”, I’d hate to see backward.
Over at United Liberty, Louis DeBroux articulates something that has been driving me crazy:
It truly is almost unbelievable. Our national debt is at $16 trillion and rising, with annual deficits of more than $1.5 trillion. Our national debt is now greater than our GDP, and at a level greater than what Greece was at when its economy collapsed. Our lauded entitlement programs are bankrupt, yet our politicians seek to expand them. Unemployment is still well above 8%, the longest such period of sustained unemployment at that level since the Great Depression. We’re barely past Valentine’s Day, and gas is more than $3.50 per gallon—and expected to rise above $4, and possibly go as high as $5/gallon by summer.
Iran appears the be rapidly closing in on getting a functional nuclear weapon, and has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. We have a president hell-bent on destroying the fossil fuel industry, much like his signature achievement, ObamaCare, is crippling the health care industry.
Our own government has been selling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and is now directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Mexicans and Americans, yet they act as if it were of no more import than having incorrectly filled out some government form (actually, they’d probably find that a much more grievous sin). The dollar is weak and the economy, anemic—despite the trillions spent on the stimulus, auto union and Wall Street bailouts, and slush funds for the politically connected.
Yet with all of this, what stories are dominating the headlines? That would be the religious beliefs of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum regarding birth control, and now the furor over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about a college “coed” called to testify before Congress on the topic of birth control.
It is enough to make you tear your hair out. There is so much that should be at the forefront of the news, and we’re talking about what? Go look at Memeorandum for the past few weeks. It’s appalling.
And who benefits from these diversionary and divisive discussions?
Well, certainly not the nation. In the case of the current diversion of the day, we see the usual hypocrisy from both sides as Rush Limbaugh is crucified for calling a woman a “slut,” while one of Obama’s major donors is given a free pass by the same people for calling Sarah Palin a far worse name (and, worse, they won’t condemn the use of the word). After all, he’s one of theirs.
It is a cycle of wash, rinse, repeat. On just about any given week you can find someone on one side or the other saying something outrageous, and the other side whipping themselves into a frenzy of outrage and condemning—it while demanding that the other side condemn it too. Tit-for-tat politics. Juvenile nonsense.
Why any of this is seen as major news can only be understood in a “reality show” culture. We’ve become a nation of voyeurs who like scandal, and enjoy watching the lives of “celebrities” whose only claim to fame is their screwed-up lives. And that, apparently, now translates to our politics.
Instead of paying attention to the important things about our political world, most are more interested in the “he said, she said” stupidity of situations such as the Limbaugh debacle. Apparently, politics has become just another reality show wherein we prefer to be entertained by the unimportant-but-controversial, instead of doing the hard-but-boring work of understanding our real problems and looking for solutions.
Unemployment, economics, energy, government . . . boring!
Limbaugh called someone a slut. That’s the ticket.
And, naturally, aiding and abetting all of this is the “if it bleeds, it leads” media, who have decided that sensationalism trumps substance.
We’re 16 trillion dollars in debt, Folks—and that number is going to go higher if we don’t do something.
B..b…but, Limbaugh called someone a “slut”!
Turn up the volume, and get out the popcorn.
Way back in olden times, talking back to the Pope could get a monarch excommunicated and his entire country placed under interdict. The Church has softened up since then. But they still do whip out excommunication on the ruling class from time to time.
For example, in the early 1960s, the archbishop of New Orleans ordered the parochial schools in his archdiocese to be desegregated. This did not sit well with several prominent Democratic politicians in the Big Easy, and they raised a big stink. Ultimately, they tried to pass mandatory segregation laws that would have applied to the parochial schools, in effect the state meddling with the Church’s business.
So Archbishop Rummel excommunicated the leaders, well after warning them of their errors.
At a public rally the day after Rummel’s announcement, Perez told an audience that no matter what the archbishop said, Catholic schools in Plaquemines would not integrate. He urged them to pull their children from parochial schools, and withhold contributions to the archdiocese.
After several more public, heated exchanges with Perez, Rummel again sent letters to dissenting Catholic segregationists, in which he said they “promoted flagrant disobedience,” and that unless they backed down, they would be excommunicated. Many again relented, but Perez and two others did not. Rummel waited two weeks, and when he didn’t hear from the final three, he publicly excommunicated them for their “flagrant disregard” for his “fatherly council.”
I am bringing this up due to the latest blather from the ex-Speaker of the House, and purported Catholic, Nancy Pelosi:
Pelosi Declares She’ll Join Her Fellow Catholics In Their Near-Unanimous Support of Obama’s Insurance Mandate . . .
Did you say you were standing with Catholics in support of Obama’s decision to mandate Catholic charities provide free abortifacients for its employees?
“First of all, I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this. I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.”
I guess you did say that.
Now, I guess I can understand the bishops not denying communion to politicians who keep laws restricting abortions from being passed. A sin of omission, I suppose, but open to interpretation.
But when one supports an action of the state getting involved in the Church’s business—if you’re actively supporting Catholic charities being forced to pay for artificial contraception and abortion—I think we’ve gone from a sin of omission to a sin of commission.
At the very least, communion needs to be withheld from such people. By participating in communion, after all, one is supposedly actually in communion with the Church. And, as we are not Protestants, this is not decided by popular vote. The Pope is the final say—that’s what it means to be Catholic, after all.
Once you decide it’s what is popular amongst the laity that counts, or, if you were honest, what you find convenient to yourself—then you’re a Protestant. Go join the dwindling ranks of the Episcopalians, why don’t you? Then you can have all the contraception, divorce, abortions, extramarital sex, and gay marriages you wish.
If nothing else, it is not charitable to allow people who are in blatant non-communion with the Church to receive the Eucharist—we’re talking mortal sin territory, after all. Sure, give them a shot across the bow in the form of a pastoral letter, especially since the bishops have allowed this nonsense to persist for so long.
I am not all that sympathetic to the plight of the liberal, pro-life Catholics on this matter, which includes several bishops. If they are at all surprised at the hostility being shown to the Church—remember that verse about sowing and reaping? You have hitched your wagons to politicians who have been pro-abortion for decades. You’re really surprised that they are forcing you to abide by what they’re forcing everyone else to? You’re surprised that you’re getting thrown under the bus, too? You’re that naive?
Enjoy your social justice.
Robert Samuelson, writing in the Washington Post, correctly dissects the Obama decision to reject the Keystone Pipeline into its two proper constituent parts: politics and the net practical effect:
President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity. It isn’t often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and — beyond the symbolism — won’t even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his reelection that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances.
Aside from the political and public relations victory, environmentalists won’t get much. Stopping the pipeline won’t halt the development of tar sands, to which the Canadian government is committed; therefore, there will be little effect on global-warming emissions. Indeed, Obama’s decision might add to them. If Canada builds a pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific for export to Asia, moving all that oil across the ocean by tanker will create extra emissions. There will also be the risk of added spills.
The unions are in his pocket, or so this decision would seem to say. Not in his pocket and not particularly happy with him at the moment are the members of the radical environmentalist movement. He apparently thinks they’re important to his re-election. This was a political move designed to shore up that constituency with the implied promise of permanent rejection of the project after he’s re-elected. That’s the message to them (whether it is true or not, they’ll still vote for him now because they know a Republican will okay it). He most likely figures the unions will suck it up and support him and—my guess now—he’ll find a bone he can throw their way sometime between now and November.
That leaves the practical effect of his rejection on the overall environmentalist goal of “reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” The effect? It will likely mean even more emissions than running the pipeline through the U.S. As Samuelson points out, the tar sands will be developed and exploited, the product will be transported through a pipeline, and—most likely—that pipeline will now run to the West Coast of Canada instead of our Gulf Coast refineries. But unlike the situation with the rejected pipeline to our southern coast, there will then be an added step of transporting it by sea to China.
Great win there, enviro-types.
But there’s even more damage done by this decision.
Now consider how Obama’s decision hurts the United States. For starters, it insults and antagonizes a strong ally; getting future Canadian cooperation on other issues will be harder. Next, it threatens a large source of relatively secure oil that, combined with new discoveries in the United States, could reduce (though not eliminate) our dependence on insecure foreign oil.
It’s not “relatively secure”—it is very secure. Canada is and has been our largest supplier of “foreign” oil for years. And they’re both a friend and a neighbor. How more secure—other than having the tar sands within our borders—can a supply get? What we have an opportunity to do here is displace the commensurate amount of foreign oil from unfriendly and insecure sources by the same amount that the tar sands would yield.
Sound like good policy? Sound like a smart move? Of course it does. So, why the rejection of such a seemingly common-sense decision? See reason number one above: politics. This is all about election-year politics. The President who claims to have the best interest of all Americans at heart has just demonstrated that the claim is nonsense. He’s catered to a particular election-year constituency in defiance of what is obviously best for the nation.
Obama’s decision forgoes all the project’s jobs. There’s some dispute over the magnitude. Project sponsor TransCanada claims 20,000, split between construction (13,000) and manufacturing (7,000) of everything from pumps to control equipment. Apparently, this refers to “job years,” meaning one job for one year. If so, the actual number of jobs would be about half that, spread over two years. Whatever the figure, it’s in the thousands and thus important in a country hungering for work. And Keystone XL is precisely the sort of infrastructure project that Obama claims to favor.
This has supposedly been Obama’s focus for some time—that’s right, jobs and infrastructure. The President’s rhetoric has been all about how we need to create jobs and improve our infrastructure. Yet here we have an infrastructure project—an actual shovel-ready one—that will provide jobs, and he rejects it . . . and, as usual, he tries to shift the blame to Republicans for something he decided. The implication, of course, is that he might have made a different decision if they had let him vote “present” until after the election. Because, you see, they’ve now forced him to tack this stupid decision onto his less-than-impressive record as President. Now, he’ll have to run on it. As usual, the Blame-shifter-in-Chief decided it is someone else’s fault.
In case you were wondering about the timeline on this project, it goes pretty much like this:
The State Department had spent three years evaluating Keystone, and appeared ready to approve the project by year-end 2011. Then the administration, citing opposition to the pipeline’s route in Nebraska, reversed course and postponed a decision to 2013 — after the election.
By the way, the supposed primary excuses for the rejection was the opposition to the pipeline mounted in Nebraska. In fact, as Politico reports, while the White House used the Republican Governor there, Dave Heineman, as cover for its decision, Heineman takes exception to that:
“I want to say I’m very disappointed,” Heineman told POLITICO. “I think the president made a mistake.”
“Really, what he was saying in denying the permit was ‘no’ to American jobs, and ‘yes’ to a greater dependence on Middle Eastern oil,” he said. “We want to put America back to work.”
Why is Heineman disappointed? Because there was a plan in the works to let the project go forward while negotiations were finalized that would have satisfied Heineman’s—and the state’s—initial objections:
He said that his Legislature and his administration were working to get the final approvals in place, and that the State Department should have approved [the project] conditionally while Nebraska worked out the final route. The company seeking to build the pipeline, TransCanada, was perfectly willing to begin construction at either end, and finish in Nebraska, according to Heineman.
But the unilateral President, in a fit of political pique and in full political mode, decided to dump the project . . . at least for now. Those ready shovels could have been breaking ground today. Instead, we have to hope, if and when the decision is reversed, that it hasn’t been overcome by events and that Canadians aren’t loading tar sand oil onto Chinese ships.
Naturally, the administration thinks Heineman’s idea is just, well, inappropriate:
“It’s the responsibility of the State Department to grant this permit, which really looks at the crossing of the international boundary. . . . It’s important for us to look at the full pipeline, and not move forward on such a major infrastructure project that will be a part of the country and the landscape for many years in pieces like that. I hadn’t heard about the governor proposing this, but we don’t really think that’s an approach that really deals with the national interest question in an appropriate way,” Assistant Secretary of State Kerri Ann Jones said on a conference call.
Right. Of course. Naturally.
Says Nebraska’s Governor:
“If you’re a decisive President, and you want to put America back to work, you can find a way to get to ‘yes,’” Heineman said about the administration’s response. “That’s what most governors do. So I’m just not buying that.”
Yeah; neither am I. Neither are 70% of the voters.
This is politics … pure and simple.
“Jobs president”? Don’t make me laugh.
“National security first”? Nope, politics first.
“Concerned for all Americans”? Seriously?
An act “of national insanity”? Spot on.
It appears so. CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson (yes the same Ms. Attkisson who has been the only reporter following up on Fast and Furious) has checked and it seems Solyndra was just one of many “green companies” which the Obama administration attempted to pick as “winners” by “investing” your money via loan guarantees:
Take Beacon Power — a green energy storage company. We were surprised to learn exactly what the Energy Department knew before committing $43 million of your tax dollars.
Documents obtained by CBS News show Standard and Poor’s had confidentially given the project a dismal outlook of “CCC-plus.”
Asked whether he’d put his personal money into Beacon, economist Peter Morici replied, “Not on purpose.”
“It’s, it is a junk bond,” Morici said. “But it’s not even a good junk bond. It’s well below investment grade.”
Was the Energy Department investing tax dollars in something that’s not even a good junk bond? Morici says yes.
“This level of bond has about a 70 percent chance of failing in the long term,” he said.
In fact, Beacon did go bankrupt two months ago and it’s unclear whether taxpayers will get all their money back. And the feds made other loans when public documents indicate they should have known they could be throwing good money after bad.
That’s one. But there are more:
Others are also struggling with potential problems. Nevada Geothermal — a home state project personally endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — warns of multiple potential defaults in new SEC filings reviewed by CBS News. It was already having trouble paying the bills when it received $98.5 million in Energy Department loan guarantees.
SunPower landed a deal linked to a $1.2 billion loan guarantee last fall, after a French oil company took it over. On its last financial statement, SunPower owed more than it was worth. On its last financial statement, SunPower owed more than it was worth. SunPower’s role is to design, build and initially operate and maintain the California Valley Solar Ranch Project that’s the subject of the loan guarantee.
First Solar was the biggest S&P 500 loser in 2011 and its CEO was cut loose – even as taxpayers were forced to back a whopping $3 billion in company loans.
Anyone – does the Constitution have a “venture capitalist” clause in it that we somehow missed? Is it the job of our government to pick winners and losers in a market using taxpayer dollars?
Well according to the brilliant Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, no politics were involved in any of this. But:
Nobody from the Energy Department would agree to an interview. Last November at a hearing on Solyndra, Energy Secretary Steven Chu strongly defended the government’s attempts to bolster America’s clean energy prospects. “In the coming decades, the clean energy sector is expected to grow by hundreds of billions of dollars,” Chu said. “We are in a fierce global race to capture this market.”
The government is blowing it big time. Why? Because, despite Chu’s claim, it is all about politics. And ideology.
In fact this administration has no trust in markets to develop the technology they desire so they’re sold on the idea that the central government should be used to facilitate their ideology. And that is precisely what this is all about. Solyndra, Beacon Power, Nevada Geothermal, SunPower and First Solar are just failed indicators of the bankruptcy of their approach. Given a treasury and the ability to spend money almost unchecked, they’ve committed to implementing their ideology on the back of taxpayers. And, unsurprisingly, they’re failing miserably.
But we’re assumed to be so dumb we can’t see through their political scheme.
Unfortunately, as it has been for quite some time, no one will be held accountable for this fiasco that has cost us billions in money we simply don’t have. If anyone ever wanted a case study of how out-of-control and outside the Constitutional box government has become, the failed “green energy” sector loan program provides the perfect scenario.
Meanwhile, as Joy points out:
Canada is now looking to Asian countries to market its abundance of oil, natural gas and minerals as plans to build the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have stalled with the U.S. administration.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will travel to China next month to discuss selling Canada’s bounty to the rapidly growing nation.
The preferred initial plan was to build the $7 billion Keystone pipeline to deliver Alberta’s oilsands crude to refineries in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico.
Harper reasoned that the U.S. government would prefer to deal with a friendly neighbor to help meet its energy needs while creating thousands of jobs.
With widespread opposition by U.S. environmentalists, the Obama administration has delayed its decision on whether to approve the project proposed by energy giant TransCanada Pipelines.
The new plan would market to China and Asian countries through the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would transport Alberta’s oil and natural gas to British Columbia for shipment by tankers.
Yup, no politics at all.
Whether you like Mitt Romney or not, Jay Nordlinger at NRO is right about one thing that has disturbed me: we’ve been treated to a spectacle, through these often destructive debates, of so-called “conservatives” attacking capitalism in an effort to gain votes. And yes, I meant to put the word in scare quotes because such attacks, by supposedly real conservatives (just ask them, each will tell you he’s the only “real” conservative in the race), should be unthinkable.
Nordlinger offers a litany of examples from two elections cycles, starting with:
Last time around, Mike Huckabee said Romney “looks like the guy who laid you off.”Conservatives reacted like this was the greatest mot since Voltaire or something. To me, Romney looked like someone who could create a business and hire the sadly unentrepreneurial like me.
Others said, “He looks like a car salesman,” or, worse, “a used-car salesman.” Ho ho ho! Commerce, gross, icky, yuck. Better Romney looked like an anthropology professor.
Or a law professor and community organizer, which is what we got. Frankly, I’ll take a used car salesman any day over what we have now.
But Nordlinger’s point is true. In their quest to tear down the bona fides of the candidate most threatening to their run for the roses, “conservatives” have been reduced to taking pot shots at capitalism even while they claim to be its champion.
Over and over, Romney defends and explains capitalism. And he’s supposed to be the RINO and squish in the race? That’s what I read in the conservative blogosphere, every day. What do you have to do to be a “real conservative”? Speak bad English and belch?
In the Saturday debate, Santorum knocked Romney for being just a “manager,” just a “CEO,” not fit to be president and commander-in-chief. This was odd for a couple of reasons: First, Romney did have a term as governor of Massachusetts (meaning he has executive political experience, unlike Santorum). And second: Since when do conservative Republicans denigrate private-sector experience?
Indeed, the Santorum remark hit me as the remark of someone who has no idea what a “manager” or “CEO” does. But as Nordlinger points out, Romney’s also been an executive position, something Santorum hasn’t. Naturally he left that out.
The disturbing aspect of the Santorum remark is the apparent poor regard in which he holds business managers and CEOs in a capitalist system and believes you should too. This is just the “conservative” version of the Democrats class warfare shtick.
Now Romney has said, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say, ‘You know, I’m going to get someone else to provide that service to me.’” Simple, elementary competition. Capitalism 101. And conservatives go, “Eek, a mouse!”
I could go on: the $10,000 bet, the pink slips, conservatives wetting their pants, over and over. They have no appetite to defend capitalism, to persuade people, to encourage them not to fall for the old socialist and populist crap. I fled the Democratic party many years ago. And one of the reasons was, I couldn’t stand the class resentment, the envy, the hostility to wealth, the cries of “Richie Rich!” And I hear them from conservatives, at least when Romney is running.
So again, whether or not you’re a Romney fan (and I’m not), Nordlinger’s point is well taken. The problem for politicians is it is hard to explain the benefits of capitalism. But it is even harder to refrain from making assaults on another candidate when you think such an assault might be popular and gain votes. After all, the capital of elections is votes. In effect, however, these “conservatives” unknowingly (or uncaringly) back the class warfare message of the left and the OWS crowd. They are engaged in attacking and denigrating the very system they supposedly fervently support and see as the way out of the morass we find ourselves in.
And of course, at some point, depending on how this all turns out during the primary run, one of these “conservatives” may prevail and want to wrap himself in the mantle of “champion of capitalism” to solidify his base. I have to wonder about his reaction when his intemperate words of today are turned on him by his opponent in the race.
UPDATE: Speaking of full on attacks by “conservatives” on Romney, based in twisting his past into an anti-capitalist assault, Newt Gingrich has committed to just that. Even the left, in the person of Jonathan Chait, seems to understand that’s what is happening:
As Chait says, the attacks by Gingrich are not substantially different than those from MoveOn.com.
The political effect of these ads is to turn Romney’s chief selling point into a liability – his private-sector experience becomes an indicator not that he will fix the economy but that he will help the already-rich. It’s a smash-you-over-the-head blunt message, with ominous music and storybook dialogue. At one point, the narrator says of Bain’s executives, “their greed was only matched by their willingness to do anything to make millions in profits.” (Aren’t “greed” and “willingness to do anything to make millions in profits” synonymous terms? Isn’t this like saying “his height was matched only by like lack of shortness”?)
The substantive merits of the attack are, obviously, a lot murkier. Romney’s job at Bain was a classic piece of creative destruction. The proper working of a free market system relies on ruthlessly identifying and closing down non-competitive business concerns. Gingrich’s assault relies on drawing a distinction between real capitalism and the “looting” undertaken by Bain Capital. “If somebody comes in takes all the money out of your company, and then leaves you bankrupt while they go off with millions,” he argues, “that’s not traditional capitalism.” The distinction is utterly ephemeral. It’s a way of saying you’d like all the nice aspects of capitalism without the nasty ones – creating new firms and products without liquidating old ones. For once I agree with inequality-denier and supply-side maven James Pethokoukis, who praises Romney’s work at Bain.
Trust me, when Chait agrees with James Pethokoukis, the reason for such agreement must pretty obvious – the attacks are a load of nonsense that even a leftist like Chait can’t ethically bring himself to support. Instead, Chait is reduced to emotionalism to at least find a way to take a shot at Romney’s record.
But the point is you have “conservatives” leading the charge and doing the opposition research and framing the attack on one of their own. As an aside, I’ve been telling Newt fans that they’ll eventually see “bad Newt” show up, especially when he starts losing. Well, here he is, in full and living color.
It has become clear that the populist class warfare approach is how the Democrats intend to focus their national campaign. If what Obama is doing out on the campaign trail right now (and make no mistake about it, he is campaigning) is any indication, they’re going to talk about haves and have nots, try to place the majority in the have not camp—and then demonize the haves.
It may not be the best of strategies, if this Gallup poll is any indicator:
Americans are now less likely to see U.S. society as divided into the “haves” and “have nots” than they were in 2008, returning to their views prior to that point. A clear majority, 58%, say they do not think of America in this way, after Americans were divided 49% to 49% in the summer of 2008.
That last phrase is key. It points to one of the reasons Obama won in 2008. The campaign, while more subtle about it, was able to play an America that had been convinced enough that such was the case to provide a divided house&mdsash; 49% to 49%. Advantage: Obama campaign.
This time around? It doesn’t seem to be resonating, which may surprise some:
Americans’ views of their own position as “haves” or “have nots” have been remarkably stable, even as the nation’s economic problems have intensified. Still, the finding that fewer Americans now than in 2008 consider U.S. society as divided into “haves” and “have nots” suggests a decreasing — rather than increasing — level of worry about unfair income distribution in the U.S. at this time.
So what’s a populist politician who has committed himself to version 2.0 of the shtick that worked so well the last time to do? Again, the good sense of the American people has emerged, and the game has changed. Adaptation in politics is key to success. How does an Axlerod, who has obviously helped engineer this return to the old and familiar (that served them so well previously) view such a poll?
Is it an outlier? Hardly … it’s a poll that this organization has been doing for years.
So does this mean the populist class warfare approach is going to backfire on them? That it simply won’t have the resonance it had in 2008? Or is it, more simply, a growing rejection of the Obama administration and what they’ve tried to sell as the “dirty little secret” of our country’s reality?
Even with the bad financial situation, record-setting unemployment, and a concerted propaganda effort to demonize the “rich” (not to mention the OWS nonsense), Americans, in growing numbers, are nonetheless rejecting the premise.
That’s got to worry someone in the Obama campaign, wouldn’t you think?