Put me squarely in the camp of Robert Caro admirers, even if I’m woefully behind in making my way through the biographer’s LBJ canon. But it’s also been clear to me for some time now that Caro’s exhaustive, colorful depiction of Johnson’s rise to power in Washington has not exactly been helpful when it comes to our country’s weakness for the Great Man Theory of politics and history.
Tucked inside this morning’s lackluster monthly jobs report is a remarkable figure: the economy is back to a net positive for the number of private sector jobs created since the start of 2009. That is, even with the ginormous job losses that we saw in the first few months of 2009, we’re now back in the black from that standpoint. But that’s private sector jobs.
I first saw Mitt Romney playing the dread Europe card on the campaign trail in Iowa. “I think President Obama wants to make us a European-style welfare state,” went the standard refrain. “What I know is that, if they do that, they’ll substitute envy for ambition. And they’ll poison the very spirit of America and keep us from being one nation under God.” At another stop, Romney warned that Obama’s policies were already “making us more and more like Europe. I don’t think Europe is working in Europe.
My Stump-mate Noam has been doing a nice job of tracking the shift in approach from Team Obama’s “new politics” campaign in 2008 to its more mundane, grind-it-out strategy this time around. He zeroed in on the exact right example—Chicago’s emphasis on trying to score points on manufactured kerfuffles such as the Republican National Committee chairman’s ironic (and if you ask me, innocuous) comparison of women to caterpillars.
A few weeks ago, I raised a question here on The Stump that had been bothering me for some time—why were the big voter registration outfits like the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote pulling out of the Electoral College gold mine of Florida in response to the harsh new restrictions there on registering voters, rather than plowing ahead with their work?
My apologies for the lack of posts today – spent the day at a terrific policy seminar far from the madding crowd (did Obama say something about Romney and bin Laden?) Posting may also be light in the next few days as I dig into reporting a feature piece. But seeing that as I am now riding good old Amtrak, I figured that would be a good occasion to …announce a run for president!
Four years ago, the McCain campaign decided that the only way to overcome Barack Obama’s star power was to try and turn it into a negative. The campaign made up its “Celebrity” ad, which, amid images of Obama being cheered by a huge throng in Berlin, compared him to Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton. The ad’s narrator asked: “He’s the biggest celebrity in the world—but is he ready to lead?” This tack wasn’t enough to bring Obama down in 2008, but the opposition had decided to try it again this year—with a bit of a twist.
One bit of Barack Obama’s recent interview with Rolling Stone has caused a little stir: He talked about climate change! After not mentioning it once in the 2011 State of the Union, nor in his recent Earth Day proclamation, Obama had this to say when the magazine brought up the issue: “I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.
I don’t usually wade into global economic policy here on the Stump, but as Mitt Romney reminded us in his speech last night, the 2012 presidential race is “still about the economy—and we’re not stupid.” So after coming across a particular pet peeve of mine just now, I’m going to wade on in. In its lead editorial today, the Wall Street Journal pushes back at the broadening ranks urging Germany to loosen up on its austerity mantra for Europe. I’m not going to get into that fight now—I figure this guy’s got it under control.