Ponnuru: Obama avoids Romney’s biggest weakness
President Barack Obama is in a bind. All the obvious strategies available to an incumbent president running for re-election are foreclosed to him.
He can’t run a “Morning in America” campaign in the style of Ronald Reagan in 1984 or Bill Clinton in 1996. In those years, the country was doing well and felt it. A majority of the public now thinks that we are “on the wrong track” as a nation rather than headed in “the right direction.” The already dismal jobs picture is growing bleaker: Payroll growth slowed and the unemployment rate rose in May to 8.2 percent. If voters make their decision based on the state of the country, Obama will lose.
Obama can’t run on his record of accomplishments: Too much of that record is unpopular. Bringing Osama bin Laden to justice was a great victory, but it hasn’t been matched by any domestic success. His two major legislative achievements were the stimulus enacted in the spring of 2009 and the health care law enacted in the spring of 2010. Both have been chronically underwater in the polls. The Kaiser Family Foundation finds that only 37 percent of the country looks on the health law favorably. In February, a Pew Foundation poll found the same percentage of people viewed the stimulus positively.
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