Lost in emotion
My friend Brittany, who's a staffer at the Republican National Committee, made a very savvy observation a couple of months ago regarding President Obama's reelection prospects in 2012. She basically said the Obama campaign will vie for the emotional vote since the intellectual vote is out of play.
My how Brit's prescience is playing out perfectly.
Let's start with the agreement to end the Iraq war. In less than 24 hours after announcing the draw down of US forces in Iraq by the end of 2011, the Obama reelection team sent out a campaign letter patting themselves on the back for keeping one of their central promises. Of course the emotional component was how all the troops would be home for Christmas, for which Obama et al were quick to accept full credit. But the intellectual aspect of this issue tells us that the exit strategy was agreed upon by the Iraqis and the Bush administration in late 2008. In addition, the withdrawal date was kept only after the Obama administration failed to secure an extended stay in Iraq. The region was still rather unstable, so prominent Pentagon officials advised that there still be a presence. Sadly, with US forces having been gone approximately one week, multiple explosions occurred in Baghdad Thursday, resulting in multiple fatalities.
How about Obamacare? Despite the Supreme Court of the United States blocking out three days in March for hearings on the law's Constitutionality, the Obama administration is touting the supposed wonderful attributes of the new bill, specifically how young adults can remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26. The emotional highlight is that 2.5 million more younger Americans will have healthcare under this new law. That's good, right? Ah, but that darn intellectual component just throws cold water on the whole thing. Such a provision of allowing young adults to remain on Mom and Dad's coverage is already causing premiums to rise. Lest we forget, the major provisions of the bill are not even slated to take effect until 2014. What will that do to healthcare costs???
But the coup de grace of "emotionalism" took place during this whole "payroll tax holiday" debacle. From the beginning, President Obama was looking to extend the payroll tax cut for another year. In exchange for this agreement, the Congressional Republicans attempted to negotiate expedition of a review of the Keystone XL pipeline, which many argue would create thousands of jobs as well as giving us more access to our own source of energy, thus lessening dependence on foreign oil. Yet when the Senate inexplicably passed only a two month extension of the payroll tax (a logistical nightmare to implement according to people familiar with...y'know....how business works) and the GOP-controlled House voted it down because they wanted to pass a one-year pact, what do you suppose the spin was? Yep, according to the President, those awful Republicans are denying tax relief to the middle class....even though they were acquiescing to Obama's wishes of one entire year of maintaining the lower rates. Facts are, the continued lower payroll tax rate means less money going into Social Security, thus perpetuating this absurd practice of deficit spending. That's the argument that should have been made at the outset.
These examples provide a clear-cut strategy to defeat the President in 2012. Now the onus is on Republicans (Presidential and Congressional candidates) to make the intellectual case to voters. As Michelle Malkin noted last month, it's high time somebody offers "Concrete solutions (as opposed) to kick-the-can-down-the-road fecklessness.”