Friday, June 03, 2011

Moan...a Lizza warning on 2012

Before I got sidetracked by the sheer mendacity of Mitt Romney's campaign launch speech yesterday, I was going to point out that it mounted a powerful assault on Obama's obvious vulnerability -- the still-moribund economy.  Ryan Lizza adds some important context -- the difference between social-conservative Mitt in 2007 and economic Mr. Fixit Mitt today -- and clips the same set piece I had pasted up:

Barack Obama has failed America.

When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse. And he made it last longer.

Three years later, over sixteen million Americans are out of work or have just quit looking. Millions more are underemployed.

Three years later, unemployment is still above 8%, a figure he said his stimulus would keep from happening.

Three years later, foreclosures are still at record levels.

Three years later, the prices of homes continue to fall.

Three years later, our national debt has grown nearly as large as our entire economy.

Families are buried under higher prices for food and higher prices for gasoline.

It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in this country.

These failing hopes make up President Obama’s own misery index. It’s never been higher. And what’s his answer? He says this: “I’m just getting started.”

No, Mr. President, you’ve had your chance. We, the people on this farm, and citizens across the country are the ones who are just getting started.
Leaving aside the lie that Obama made the recession worse, this is a perfectly fair, inevitable, obvious line of assault.  If unemployment does not soon drop significantly, as it did for Reagan beginning in July 1983, this line of attack will be effective whoever delivers it.  

The brief against a sitting president probably always has this rhythm - short declarative sentences laying out what went wrong.  Compare John Kerry on September 24, 2004:
In June, the president declared, The Iraqi people have their country back. And just last week he told us, This country is headed toward democracy; freedom is on the march. But the administration's own official intelligence estimate, given to the president last July, tells a very different story.

According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the president is saying to the American people and so do the facts on the ground.

Security is deteriorating for us and for the Iraqis. Forty-two Americans died in Iraq in June, the month before the handover. But 54 died in July, 66 in August and already 54 halfway through September. And more than 1,100 Americans were wounded in August; more than in any other month since the invasion.

We are fighting a growing insurgency in an ever-widening war zone. In March, insurgents attacked our forces 700 times. In August, they attacked 2,700 times; a 400 percent increase.

Fallujah, Ramadi, Samarra and parts of Iraq are now no-go zones, breeding grounds for terrorists, who are free to plot and to launch attacks against our soldiers.

The radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is accused of complicity in the murder of Americans, holds more sway in suburbs of Baghdad than the prime minister.

Violence against Iraqis, from bombings to kidnappings to intimidation, is on the rise.

Basic living conditions are also deteriorating.

Yes, there has been some progress. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our soldiers and civilians in Iraq, schools, shops and hospitals have been opened in certain places. In parts of Iraq, normalcy actually prevails
But most Iraqis have lost faith in our ability to be able to deliver meaningful improvements to their lives. So they're sitting on the fence, instead of siding with us against the insurgents.

That is the truth, the truth that the commander in chief owes to our troops and to the American people.
While Lizza is surely right that this "is a message that should scare Democrats this time," I would not say that the prospect of Romney delivering the indictment is particularly scary. I've never heard Romney say anything with rhetorical force or a ring of authenticity.  But then, I'm prejudiced. I know that Romney will say anything -- that Obama "betrayed his office" by signing the Affordable Care Act, that "the security of the United States" depended on rejecting the START II treaty; that Obama "threw Israel under the bus" by calling for negotiations on the exact same basis that Netanyahu put forward in a joint statement with Hillary Clinton last November. He is as shameless a liar as the carnival barkers Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich and Trump.

Which of course does not mean that he cannot win if unemployment is at 9% this time next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment