President Obama has begun running ads for his re-election. Unfortunately, according to the Washington Post today, his ads thus far have all included berating his opponent. Even more depressing, we can expect, for the next six months, to see this theme amplified and consolidated in virtually every ad that is run by Obama. Why is this likely to be so?
Generally, incumbents run positive campaigns when they believe that what they have accomplished in office will encourage voters to support them. Well, what has Obama accomplished thus far? I’m guessing that his two biggest ‘accomplishments’ have been the Stimulus Bill and ObamaCare. The Stimulus Bill was a hodgepodge of silliness where the President of the United States said to both houses of Congress, just do what you want, I’ll sign it…and Pelosi and Reid went nuts. By the time the bill went to the White House, it was filled with so much pork, that any possible policy benefits were minimized.
Here’s what Obama could have done instead if he absolutely wanted to do a stimulus bill. He could have said that what we need are our bridges repaired. If we want stimulus, what we’ll do is get every bridge in the country up to code. I’d wager that most every Congressional district in the country has a bridge or two. This would have gotten a bunch of construction workers back to work, which everyone who has looked at the issue, has the greatest multiplier effect. But, alas, bridges are still a mess, and now the government is bankrupt since we’ve wasted all of our money.
Let’s now address the health care bill. How can anyone claim that having the federal government mandate that individuals buy insurance policies from insurance companies is not stupid? I don’t know whether it’s constitutional or not, but it’s certainly foolhardy for government to require this for everyone. Now, nearly two years later, public support for this policy hovers around 35%.
So, after his first two years in office, with overwhelming majorities, the main accomplishments were two boondoggles; in the last two years, virtually nothing has been accomplished. So, that is the main reason for Obama to wage a completely negative campaign.
The second reason is that during the primary season, Romney also chose to run a substantially negative race against each of his feckless opponents. So, he rarely had to develop complex policies. Therefore, he can be painted virtually any way that Obama’s team wants. If they want to say that he flip flops, or that’s he’s a right wing lunatic, or a socialist. Most people haven’t a clue where Mitt stands.
Lucky us, those few who actually care to pay attention to American politics. We’ll be immersed in two guys throwing mud at each other from now until the middle of October. This will keep many independents from wasting their time voting. Then, miraculously, each candidate will spend a few weeks presenting their vision of the future, This will get their own targeted supporters to the polls.