Has Republicans’ Scorched-Earth Anti-Obama Strategy Backfired?

September 6, 2012 | By
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Barack Obama on screen during the Democratic national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The republicans hate Obama more than they love America and despite all their claims of patriotism,  republicans have put their party before the country.

Barack Obama should be losing the 2012 presidential election – or so says the conventional wisdom. With unemployment above 8%, a recovery that is mediocre at best and economic uncertainty far more the rule than the exception, there is certainly something to this argument. Yet, according to polling guru Nate Silver, President Obama is currently a 76% favorite for re-election.

So why does Obama continue to maintain a small, yet stubborn lead not only in general election polling, but – more importantly – in a majority of key swing states? It’s the same reason he should be losing the presidential race: his Republican opponents.

That might seem like a confusing explanation, but it’s emblematic of the extent to which the GOP has been Obama’s worst enemy over the past four years while, at the same time, may ensure that he is re-elected president.

To unpack this admittedly convoluted argument, let’s begin with focusing on the dominant political dynamic of the past four years. It’s not about President Obama’s legislative agenda or his post-partisan dreams, but rather the unceasing and unprecedented obstructionism of the Republican party. From day one of his presidency (actually, even before Obama took office), Republicans made the conscious decision to not just simply oppose Obama’s entire policy agenda, but to actively and flagrantly thwart it. They promiscuously used the filibuster to block even the holding of votes on Democratic proposals in the Senate and punished party members who contemplated the idea of working together with Obama or – even worse – compromising with him.

Indeed, that Obama was even able to pass an $800bn stimulus measure and comprehensive healthcare reform is perhaps the single most surprising political story, not just of the past four years, but indeed the past 40.

The Republicans’ obstructionist “successes” have taken a heavy toll and can be seen most dramatically in US economic performance since 2009. When fiscal policy has been expansive – as in the case of the stimulus being passed only a few weeks after Obama took office – the result has been job creation and economic growth (albeit of the more tepid variety). When Congress has adopted GOP-favored policies of austerity – spending cuts and reliance on tax cuts to stimulate the economy – the results have been far worse. By consistently opposing and blocking any effort by Obama and the Democrats to grow the economy through additional stimulus measures, like the president’s job bill, and even seeking to intimidate the Federal Reserve into focusing its attention on inflation rather than unemployment, they have actively undermined policies with the potential to spark an economic turnaround.

Read the whole story:  the guardian

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