The week before New Year's Day is the time to take stock, review the past year, and look forward to the new year. I thought I'd write a few posts looking forward in various fields--politics, technology, etc. Today--the 2012 Presidential Race.
Actually I've already written a few posts on this (here, here, and here), so it's not very hard to look forward to 2012. Essentially the race will be determined in the Republican primaries and caucuses. Either the Republicans will nominate Mitt Romney and thereby stand a good chance of winning the White House, or they will nominate one of the "others" and thereby ensure the re-election of Barack Obama. With Romney, the Republicans have a chance of winning independent voters (and even some Democrats) who are disappointed and/or frustrated and/or out-of-work and/or turned off (for whatever reason) from the government served up by President Obama and the Democrats these past 3 years. If nominated, Romney's election would not be guaranteed--he would have to run a "smart" campaign (please, no more out-of-context quotes from President Obama, etc.). I would strongly suggest he consider Gov. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) as his VP running mate. The country faces serious problems that are not going away. The new normal is here to stay. Government on all levels--national, state, local--has been slow to adjust, and in some cases has made things worse.
Entitlements are out-of-control and Obama has done nothing to reform (and thereby save) needed programs such as social security. He appointed a commission (Simpson-Bowels) which gave a sound, non-partisan blueprint to make our way out of the present "mess" and Obama has "fumbled" it by failing to take action on any of its recommendations. Where's the leadership? I thought Obama was the guy of "vision" and "hope" and "change." No guts, no glory.
President Obama proposed needed health care reforms and then allowed the lobbyists and their pawns (Democrats in Congress) to write the legislation--now exemptions/waivers are being granted left and right from provisions of "Obamacare" which in themselves are damning admissions of failure. No one ever had to tell FDR, LBJ, or Ronald Reagan that the "devil is in the details." Health care costs are still out of control--Obama should have demanded (at a minimum) a "public option." He (and the Democrats) blew it.
Tax reform? Under Obama? Forget it--it's just band-aids. I know, he will blame the Republicans for gridlock in Washington--but remember, the Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress during Obama's first 2 years in office. 2011 has been gridlock because Obama has been unable to pivot like Bill Clinton did when faced with similar circumstances. Obama is afraid of real change; he is afraid to take decisive action when it might open himself up to criticism from members of his own party--Bill Clinton was the great "triangulator" which is why he got things done (and won re-election) even when Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate!
It's pretty easy to see Obama's core base--public (governmental) unions, wealthy wall streeters (Jon Corzine et al) and other lobbying/funding sources for Democrat campaigns, and traditional Democrat "minorities" and "interest groups." He inherited a mess from George W. Bush--foreign (Iraq/Afghanistan) and domestic (economy). He (and the Democrats) deserved to win (meaning the Republicans deserved to lose) the election in 2008 (and I supported him then). But 2012 is different. Obama is weak on leadership. He doesn't understand how private sector jobs are created--government must, but can only, create a positive business environment: comprehensive tax reform; entitlement reforms; sound fiscal policy; "smart" (meaning common-sense, effective, yet limited) regulations; and infrastructure investment (which should have been the primary fiscal stimulus in this "recession"). Instead, we got things like Solyndra and Obama's proposed "jobs bill" that threatens businesses in the U.S. with lawsuits if they hire anybody who doesn't happen to already be unemployed. Any business person could have told Obama (and did) that those provisions would discourage, not encourage, hiring. Unfortunately, Obama (and the Democrats) just don't get it. James Carville pleaded with him "fire somebody!" Obama doesn't fire anybody--government employment is lifetime employment even if you're inept, incompetent, or just doing a lousy job. Think of "Fast and Furious" (where the U.S. government--Justice Department's ATF--armed a foreign criminal enterprise and thereby engaged in "state-sponsored terrorism") for just one of many examples. Anybody fired? How about firing the Attorney General who is either clueless or inept to allow such an operation to be conducted? Unfortunately for Obama (and the Democrats), the American public conducts its business differently--just ask Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush.
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