Incumbents Have History on Their Side
Even knowing the president's case for re-election is a defensive one, it could still work
January 25, 2012
President Obama gave his first major stump speech in his 2012 re-election campaign, and he chose the well of the House of Representatives in which to give it.
He laid out clearly who he intends to run against: financially successful Americans who do not rely on "green energy" tax credits and subsidies to achieve their profits; Congress and most of its members; Wall Street; and his old stand-by, President George W. Bush.
The president did not make the case to the American people, or at least those who stay up and watch these speeches, that his tenure has resulted in the fulfillment of his lofty campaign promises from 2008. Instead, he indicated that his re-election will hinge on making the case that you cannot trust Republicans on the major issue of the day: attacking rich people, especially if they work in the oil patch or on Wall Street, but really any rich person will do.
President Obama also laid out a new definition for wealthy: anyone who had a good year financially, or runs their business through their personal tax return, like almost every small business does.
Even knowing the president's case for re-election is a defensive one, it could still work. Presidents tend to get a second term from the American people. In re-election campaigns from FDR to George W. Bush, only three incumbents lost re-election contests (and one of those was not really an incumbent.) President Obama knows history is on his side, even with weak approval numbers and a sluggish economy.
The Republican response to the battle on the rich will be to lift some of the effective lines from Governor Daniels' excellent rebuttal. Mitch Daniels said essentially that Americans don't hate rich people; they want to be rich people.
As Americans watched the president give his eloquent remarks last night, they probably noticed the House speaker sitting behind him. If the president secures a second term, only Speaker Boehner in conjunction with additional Republicans in the Senate can stop his class warfare agenda replete with higher taxes, more government regulations, and companion programs to Obamacare. Wealthy Americans who are worried about this agenda and its effect on their businesses may wish to make some investments of their own in politics. They should take every appropriate step to make sure Nancy Pelosi does not regain a majority in the House next year, or everything the president advocated for will actually become law.
Whatever else happens in November, one thing is certain: We need John Boehner in that chair.