John Huntsman, meet Karl Rove (updated)
In today's Wall Street Journal, Bush 43 advisor Karl Rove lists four reasons why President Obama is unlikely to be reelected. Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman seems focused on Rove's third reason, while foolishly ignoring Rove's equally important fourth reason.
Backing up a bit, Rove's first reason is, predictably, the sluggish US economy and its high unemployment rates. However, as AT recently pointed out, the unemployment rate at election time is an unreliable predictor of voting behavior. The improvement from March to September is a far better predictor, and this summer's falling oil prices could boost the economy just enough next year to take that issue away from Republicans.
Rove cites the disenchantment of the president's base as his second reason for Mr. Obama's likely defeat next year. But that too, might be temporary. Like women suffering Battered Wife Syndrome, most far-left Democrats return for more abuse. Republicans' best hope in that segment is for low voter turnout on Election Day.
In describing his third reason for the president's likely defeat, Rove wrote:
While many voters still personally like Mr. Obama, they deeply oppose his policies, and he tends to be weakest on issues voters consider most important.
When Mr. Huntsman announced his candidacy earlier this week, his campaign seemed to be based on this third Obama vulnerability, failed policies. That probably is indeed the best way to attack the president. However, Mr. Huntsman also seems resigned to the fact the voters personally like Mr. Obama, and that there's no way to weaken that affection. Consequently, Huntsman plans to ignore the president's many disturbing character flaws, believing that any personal criticism might alienate prospective voters.
But Mr. Huntsman should consider Rove's fourth reason for Mr. Obama's weakness and exploit it too. As Rove points out, Mr. Obama foolishly surrendered his inherent strategic advantage as the world's most powerful politician and is campaigning rather than leading:
Finally, Mr. Obama has made a strategic blunder. While he needs to raise money and organize, he decided to be a candidate this year rather than president. He has thus unnecessarily abandoned one of incumbency's great strengths, which is the opportunity to govern and distance himself from partisan politics until next spring.
There's little risk that Mr. Obama might wise up and elevate himself above the fray. He can't be a leader because he simply does not know how to lead. Before his election as president, he had never held an executive position. He spent his entire adult life rabble-rousing and campaigning, and apparently can do little else.
And that makes it far easier to link Mr. Obama with his unpopular policies, thereby making him personally unpopular too. If Mr. Obama wants dive into the slop and mud wrestle with all the Republican candidates, his opponents should accept this electoral gift and put him into a virtual hammerlock.
Update from Lloyd Marcus:
Two days ago, Jon Huntsman launched his campaign to win the White House. Huntsman promised a civil campaign respectful of president Obama. Apparently, Huntsman has embraced the Republican strategist John McCain, "Can't attack the black guy or the media will attack you" approach to campaigning. Just two days after Huntsman's 'I'm gonna play nice" speech, Democrats have launched a shock and awe campaign. This confirms the Democrats with their liberal buddies following suit, with trash our Republican/conservative candidate no matter what.
Displaying "off the chain" arrogance and chutzpah, Democrats have launched an outrageous campaign saying Republicans are against tax cuts to damage the economy for political gain. Unfortunately, there will be voters who will believe the Democrats' absurd claim.
Meanwhile, Huntsman is talking about playing nice. The man is obviously clueless about what we are up against. Mr Huntsman you are entering the ring with Mike Tyson, Smokin Joe Frazier and Mohammad Ali all rolled up in one Democrat contender. Playing nice, refusing to lay a glove on Obama will not cut it. Please grasp this concept.
The Obama administration is evil. They are not going to play nice. They are going to fire both barrels, at point blank range, at every opportunity.
Patriots, our presidential candidate MUST embrace this reality.
Lloyd Marcus, Proud Unhyphenated American
Vice Chair, www.CampaignToDefeatObama.com