Pundits are now seriously turning to the question of President Obama's reelection chances. Jay Cost's "Morning Jay" at The Weekly Standard gives his usual sensible advice. Forget the hysteria and the ups and downs in the pundit market.
[F]irst, Obama looks no more or less beatable now than he did four months ago; second, he looks fairly vulnerable.
Given the four standard reelection scenarios--economy good/president responsible, economy good/president not responsible, economy bad/president to blame, economy bad/president not to blame--he picks door #4 as the likely scenario.
Personally, I think that we are getting closer to the possibility of #3, the Hoover option. President Obama's beliefs and instincts lead him towards stupid economic policy, from bailouts to stimulus to regulation to inflation to the latest administration wheeze "to force the nation's biggest mortgage servicers to cough up $20 billion for principal write downs on 'underwater' mortgages," according to the Wall Street Journal edit page.
When will liberals learn not to monkey with the balance sheets of the banks?
If the president wants to avoid the Hoover reelection scenario he needs to get with a pro-growth economic policy really fast, and one that gets the housing market above water by methods other than stupid liberal pet tricks.
That's why I think that Stanley Kurtz's worry about Obama doing the Alinsky is beside the point. Kurtz reckons that Obama is crazy as a fox in keeping his ideology under wraps for Alinsky taught him to keep his "views to himself, and to act by soliciting (and quietly manipulating) the desires of others instead."
This sounds creepy and conspiratorial, but most politicians act that way, agreeing with the voters on everything and speaking in general platitudes, pushing their agenda with flank movements rather than direct ideological attacks.
Whatever his ideology, Obama has to act fast to get the economy visibly on track by the spring of 2012, and time is getting awfully short. Chances are that liberal stunts aren't going to work--they've pushed the entire boat out anyway. No, Obama is going to have to get pro-growth, and fast, if he wants reelection. Otherwise the economy is still going to be in the tank by the spring next year and it will be all over for the president and the Democrats.
Win or lose, a pro-growth agenda from the Democrats will be a good thing for America. Liberals have spent the last century running away from the basic fact of the modern economy; you can't bang it around with a billy club. Government's role is to set the rules, stand back, and fight the temptation to dig young plants up by the roots to figure out why they aren't growing fast enough.