Republican strategists are confident that President Obama hasn't found a winning issue in his latest deficit-reduction plan, which he announced Monday. "It's going over like a lead balloon," said Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee.
Spicer told me that many key groups including centrist Democrats are dissatisfied with the plan, which calls for higher taxes on the rich, on big corporations, and on others. Some polls indicate that most Americans actually support key provisions such as higher taxes on the rich. But Republican strategists point out that Obama's ratings for handling the economy are poor so his credibility is low. And Spicer argues that the public will, in the end, realize that Obama's blueprint would make things worse.
The RNC spokesman says the Obama plan has already been undermined because it comes "on the heels of the failure of Stimulus 1," Obama's initial plan to bolster the economy that the GOP says has failed miserably. Referring to a remark made by the president, Spicer notes that Obama admitted that the "shovel-ready projects" he promised to fund weren't as shovel-ready as he thought. His latest plan amounts to a "regurgitation" of ideas that have gone nowhere in the past, the RNC spokesman adds.
Business leaders are particularly disappointed, Spicer says, because Obama isn't cutting burdensome regulations on a massive scale as they wish, and he keeps changing his mind on economic policy, resulting in uncertainty and a minimal level of business investment and hiring.
Obama's predicament is worsening, Spicer argues. "Every day it becomes more and more difficult for him to find a path forward," he says. "The economy is first and foremost the biggest obstacle in his way."