These past few months we’ve seen the Republican field Gov. slam President Obama for essentially everything. One especially pertinent issue to voters and candidates alike is the economy. Whether it is quoting Steven Chu from 2008 on gas, jobs or the deficit, the field (and especially Mitt Romney) have tried to frame this Fall’s election around something that frankly wasn’t Obama’s fault – the recession.
The last jobs report saw a sizable 243,000 positions added in the private sector, and all indicators of unemployment continued to fall. The U3 and U6 have both fallen in the 1.7%-2.1% range since October 2009, when President Obama’s stimulus plan took full effect. Mitt can claim that there are more people dropping out of the work force, but when you look at the near-constant fall in the U-6 indicator from that point, it simply isn’t true. Making added jobs into a negative talking point is near impossible.
Republican candidates seem to think that it’s also a great idea to circle President Obama as deficit hawks. In response to his new budget that – to be fair, does not exactly slash the deficit – Republicans have decided to decry his policies and instead claim to support austerity measures. These will not only boost our faltering (but really, just slowly recovering) economy but also reduce our debt! Wait. Except a non-partisan group just said that every candidate’s (I mean every real Candidate, sorry Ron Paul) plan will actually increase the deficit above the baseline.
Austerity measures like tax cuts will worsen the already-mushrooming deficit, and this baseline by the Committee for a Responsible Federal budget includes things like the extending the Bush era tax cuts (essentially, what will happen if Congress keeps “mucking it up“).
To be fair, Romney’s plan, which still includes tax cuts on the wealthiest, would increase the deficit the least (aside from Ron Paul’s.) But still – for a candidate who is running on the I’m-the-economically-sound-guy and counterpart to President Obama, his jobs and economic messaging game plan just isn’t working. Combined with gaffes – which, to be fair, were taken out of context – that seemingly slam poor people and exacerbate his disconnect from the average American worker, Mitt’s in trouble.
Oh, and that’s aside from losing the last three states and being down in Michigan.
Mitt’s biggest problem going forward is that his economic messaging game is off and that’s all he ever had. A candidate who approved an individual mandate for healthcare as Governor (which he keeps saying is fine because of the 10th amendment), a moderate on social issues, has no fallback plan like the anti-Gay, anti-abortion, social conservative (and hater of Satan) of Santorum. A candidate who ran exclusively on economic issues, touting his private-sector experience and business-savvy resume, is in trouble.
Stocks are up, unemployment is down, and everyone wins except Romney.