Who’s to Be Blamed?

The most impor­tant fac­tor influ­enc­ing who wins the pres­i­den­cy in 2012 is the econ­o­my. If the econ­o­my is show­ing improve­ment, then Oba­ma wins. If the econ­o­my has dou­ble dipped into anoth­er reces­sion, things look bad for Oba­ma. And if the econ­o­my is sim­i­lar to today’s, limp­ing along in a slow recov­ery, then it will be a close race.

There is anoth­er fac­tor that in cer­tain sce­nar­ios is more impor­tant than the econ­o­my. That fac­tor is where the vot­ers lay the blame if the econ­o­my is poor.

I have read a lot about Oba­ma’s (and the Democ­rats) poor mes­sag­ing and posi­tion­ing. But we have arrived at a point where Oba­ma has man­aged to be on the cor­rect side of the mes­sag­ing and positioning.

The Repub­li­cans are hold­ing the econ­o­my hostage. They refuse to raise the debt ceil­ing unless it is accom­pa­nied with huge amounts of spend­ing cuts and no increas­es in rev­enue. The prob­lem for the Repub­li­cans is that they are using the lan­guage of a hostage tak­er. Oba­ma ini­tial­ly asked for a clean bill, but quick­ly “caved” and entered nego­ti­a­tions. Since then, it is the Repub­li­cans who have repeat­ed­ly insist­ed that it is their way or the econ­o­my gets it.

If Oba­ma had stuck to his guns for a clean bill, he would have been just as much a hostage tak­er as the Repub­li­cans. He did not and the Repub­li­cans are now look­ing at the pos­si­bil­i­ty of tak­ing the blame for a bad economy.

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