Barack Obama can’t use “It’s the economy, stupid.” It’s been done before and, in this particular instance, he’s on the wrong side of that equation: Most Americans fault his handling of the economy, believe the country is on the wrong track and suspect his policies have made things worse.
His approval rating on the economy is at a pitiful 34 percent in a recent CBS News/New York Times poll.
What to do?
Wait! How about pitting one group of Americans against another?
Tragically, this tactic of anger and fear appears to be Mr. Obama’s strategy for the presidential campaign – as he is appealing to minority groups to “put on your marching shoes,” pitting rich against poor and claiming that Republicans will “cripple” the country.
Last year, he encouraged Hispanic voters to “punish our enemies.”
What happened to Mr. Bipartisanship? Mr. I Want Good Ideas From All Sectors? Mr. Hope?
In truth, he’s out of ideas. His Keynesian economic theories have failed, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve are out of ammunition – and nowadays only make things worse when they speak or act, as in last week’s stock market dive – and his notion of “shovel-ready” public works projects from his first stimulus bill has Republican presidential candidates and even Mr. Obama himself laughing.
If jobs are his No. 1 priority, it appears to be his job he’s worried about. He seems willing to further divide the country by race and party in order to keep his job.
No U.S. president or candidate in modern history has been more divisive in his rhetoric or done more to exacerbate America’s divisions. The strategy appears to be to Balkanize the country – to divide and conquer.
That cynical approach would be sad and damaging enough if the election were just a month away, or if the economy were doing well. But it looks as if Americans, who are carrying the weight of uncertainty and dread on their backs already, will have to endure a year of a president’s bad-mouthing half the population in order to get ahead.
With the economy hanging by a thread, and with Americans’ psyches fraying, can the country survive a full year of our president dividing us further and finding new domestic enemies every week?