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Forget those Republicans for now, Obama's real 2012 opponent is The Economy

Obama tells Chrysler workers in Toledo their industry is important 6-3-11

It's not really that hard to do so far.

Just forget for a minute the expanding array of already, certain and maybe Republican presidential candidates. And forget the idea of a serious Democratic challenger to President Obama next year.

The incumbent's most serious opponent for reelection in 2012 is right now and likely still will be not a person but The Economy.

It's not good, despite all of Joe Biden's glib fundraiser promises. From the very beginning of his presidency, which sure seems like more than 870 days ago, almost every poll has shown the top concerns of Americans were economic: jobs, the economy, the deficit.

Yes, yes, Obama said and still does, creating new jobs is Job One, after endlessly reminding of the troubled economy he inherited, an excuse that doesn't seem to work anymore. On June 2, press secretary Jay Carney repeated all the travails and then stated:

"There is no issue that matters more to this president than the economic health of this country and the job security of Americans and job creation in this country. So he's focused on this very directly."

Which is, no doubt, why a Daily Economic Briefing has been quietly erased from....

...the president's routine weekday schedule. And why next week he's off to a Miami DNC fundraiser and then a visit to, say what, Puerto Rico. As we may have mentioned here before, the presidential eyesight for political optics needs some serious laser surgery.

In the public mind there always seems to be something else getting in the way of a perceived laser-like chief executive's focus on the economy, other than regular recitation of the same big-hole-but-we're-on-the-right-track-now-though-obviously-we-want-more speech. First came Obama'sMemorial Day 2011 Arlington National Cemetery Lawton Family Prays at his grave $787-billion economic stimulus bill, from the desks of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Twenty days into office, Obama's National Economics Council director, Lawrence Summers, was asked how long for the stimulus bill to take effect? His reply to CNN: "You'll see the effects begin almost immediately."

Fourteen months later, remember in the spring of 2010 Joey B promising 200,000 to 500,000 new jobs a month any day? Last month: 54,000.

If we didn't get that stimulus bill through the Democratic-ruled Congress, the Democratic administration warned, unemployment could possibly soar as high as 8.8%. Yikes! Quick, get that sucker passed.

Well, here's a problem: We got that bill through Congress in all its debt-bound, union job glory. The president was so pleased he signed it after flying all the way out to Denver for some reason.

But as the astute Jonah Goldberg notes, the national unemployment rate has now climbed above 9% anyway. So, we're three-quarters of a trillion dollars poorer with too few new jobs to show for it.

A loss of 2.8 million jobs in these 870 days and a gain of $3.7 trillion in new debt. Such a deal! Who wouldn't want four more years of that?

Lots of talk about the economy. But those five dozen townhalls were on Obama's beloved healthcare heave-ho. Then came Wall Street financial reforms, clean cars, foreign trip after foreign trip, schoolyard bullying, windmills, that little oil spill and victory laps over killing Osama bin Laden and saving some U.SRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks in New Hampshire 5-11. automakers.

The polls now show Obama's job approval on the economy tanking, even among Democrats and, ominously, among independents so crucial to his 2008 victory coalition.

At the moment public dissatisfaction over the economy seems to benefit Republican former businessman/governor Mitt Romney, who now leads an incumbent president narrowly in some polls, while 60% flunk the president on his economy job performance.

Right now, the future doesn't look great. Three wars underway, counting the controversial combat over Libya, which Obama assured congressional Democrats would last days not weeks and has already been months.

Forecasts for economic growth this year have been revised downward, as has the Obama campaign's once optimistic chatter about this first quarter of money harvesting.

There's still time for Obama to recover, of course. And/or for Republicans to cripple themselves in some holy war over ideological purity. But gas prices remain almost twice what they were pre-hopey-changey days.

By this time next year the legal challenges to Obama healthcare could be nearing V-day in the Supreme Court, dooming the president's trademark achievement. While one report this week suggested one-third of employers would drop employee health coverage by 2014, dooming Obama's oft-repeated promise that everyone could keep their existing coverage if they want.

And if the economy and unemployment rate don't show noticeable improvement by then, Obama might opt for some kind of dramatic cosmetic change. Incumbent presidents don't like changing vice presidents; it hasn't happened since FDR's days.

But Biden will turn 70 next year, almost the age that so many suggested disqualified John McCain from the White House.

If someone close to Biden suggested that he was looking like he felt a need for more family time after serving in government since Barack was a sixth grader, then, gee, Obama would have no choice but to pick a fresh, quite possibly female face as running mate. Creating an heir apparent for 2016.

And possibly shaking the race up just enough.


DNC chair so strongly supports U.S. automakers, her car is Japanese

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You know how Sarah Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? Well, he did

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: J.D. Pooley / Getty Images (Obama recounts importance of the auto industry to Chrysler workers in Toledo, June 3); Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press (family of a Marine lost in Afghanistan prays at Arlington National Cemetery, May 30); Jim Cole / Associated Press (Romney speaks in New Hampshire).

Comments () | Archives (38)

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Our Progressive President and Progressives who ran the 111th Congress still believe that throwing billions and trillions of other peoples money at every problem is the only answer. That has never worked and is not working now. Government cannot solve this, it can only get in the way with draconian policies. Progressives need to study up on the free market.

And if the economy and unemployment rate don't show noticeable improvement by then, Obama might opt for some kind of dramatic cosmetic change. Incumbent presidents don't like changing vice presidents; it hasn't happened since FDR's days.flexible led display

But Biden will turn 70 next year, almost the age that so many suggested disqualified John McCain from the White House.

Obama had his chance to improve the economy, and he blew it. I don't trust the GOP to fix things either. They are so predictable. They will just lower taxes on the rich, pay slave wages, and give a cold shoulder to the unemployed. Both sides seem to have lost sight of the average citizen to please corporations.

Obama doesn't care about people. He has unresolved issues with his father leaving him and his mama. Obama doesn't care about 4 million American citizen children who live in fear of losing one or both parents due to deportation. Obama doesn't care about couples, spouses who live in fear of losing loved ones. He actually enjoys watching other people's sufferings. He is good for nothing. Vote him out.

Unfortunately Mr. Malcolm is right. The buck stops with President Obama and he didn't repair the economy - far from it. He tried to throw money at the problem while making healthcare reform his top priority.

Economic america will be top.
Obama will be speech up the
strategy and business trading

Well,Obama must have new tactic how can got reason from the international partner

Maybe Obama should go visit his brother and learn howto live on less!!

If he and big hips are so family driven-/- what's he doing for him!!

Nothing!!! Same as for the rest of us!!!

The snapshot of the American economy is depressing!
Job creation is down. So is consumer confidence. And homes sales, auto sales, construction spending, manufacturing expansion, record high gas prices,Food stamps at a all time record high, home foreclosures continue to roar!
Things will get worse when inflation hits us!!!
"We're on a downward path," said Greg Daco, principal U.S. economist at IHS. "It's not looking good."
"We're at the tip of the iceberg," said Christiana McFarland, the National League of Cities' program director for finance and economic development. "We don't have many options at this point."
How is that hope & change coming??????

" Obama's real 2012 opponent is The Economy"

No kidding.

Where are the comments?

Andrew Malcolm was an official of the Republican Party before Obama took office. Malcolm is doing everything he can to make it look like Obama took a good situation and made it bad. A fine example of the Josef Goebbels School of Journalism.

Look, I am not saying that any of the Republican candidates are going to be any more or less effective than Obama....but they couldn't do any worse on the economy.

The fact of the matter is we get what we deserve in this country...and we tend to vote for style and appearance over substance...we don't want some politician who is too intellectual because they are generally boring.

In California, for example, we had a choice between Schwartzenegger or Tom McClintock...and we chose a number of years ago...and we chose Arnold because he was popular and "electable"...where as McClintock put our fast food mentality minds to sleep.

Obama v. McCain was a similar study in styles...Obama with all that sizzle and no steak...and McCain...well...McCain had no sizzle AND no we got what we deserved in both cases...

don't blame me..I voted for the black guy in 2008.....Alan Keyes

Spend 18 months passing a healthcare bill that was supposed to lower costs and make it affordable for everyone. Instead, add 32 million people to medicaid, then jack up the price of insurance for everyone, to pay for it. Then pass an unconstitutional law to make everyone buy it.

This is supposed to be the Summer after the Summer of The Recovery, thanks to "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009".

$852 Billion dollars of 'targeted' borrowing for 'shovel-ready' infrastructure projects that would kick start our economy, as President Obama said.

It was supposed to return to our treasury $1.60 for every $1.00 the Democrat borrowed to pay for this bill, just like President Obama's Chief Economist, Christina Romer said. She's not there anymore.

It was supposed to keep unemployment below 8% and by now, we were supposed to be seeing over 200,000 jobs a month, added to the economy, just like Vice President Biden said.

And we were supposed to use the $2.72 Trillion Dollars it would return to the economy to pay off the deficit, just like Larry Summers said. He's not there anymore.

But the Democrat Socialists only spent 3% of that on infrastructure and used the rest to pay off their political allies.

His last Chief Economic Advisor left, just recently, and they can't find anyone willing to take his place. Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money to spend. It's a leech that eventually kills its host.

Obama shouldn't worry about being re-elected, that's over. What he should be worried about is going to jail after he's kicked out of office Nov 6, 2012.

How can the republicans not be the problem if we are talking about economy??

All republicans have done is try and stop the recovery.

Saying that President Obama is at fault is wrong. The republicans in Congress have placed every obstacle possible to stall the recovery.
Senator McConnell stated his goal was to make the President a one term president. To that end there has not been a bi-partisan effort. Have the republicans put forth a single jobs bill ?. No. They don't have a realistic plan themselves.
Special interests such as the oil companies (Koch Bros,) and the healthcare industry have spent millions in attack ads to mislead voters, The republicans will strip regulation of their industries so they can make even more money, which will come at our expense. No new taxes (from government) but higher prices from protecting special interests.
Faith that the republican party will save the day is blind faith.

"If someone close to Biden suggested that he was looking like he felt a need for more family time after serving in government since Barack was a sixth grader, then, gee, Obama would have no choice but to pick a fresh, quite possibly female face as running mate. Creating an heir apparent for 2016.

And possibly shaking the race up just enough."

If he really wants to shake things up and win the election he ought pick his new running mate-succesor and trade places with him or her for the top of the ticket.

Its the economy stupid, and right now it sucks, and is getting worse.
I dont blame Obama for the recession, he inherited that. But I do blame him for the complete lack of a real recovery, the huge addition to the debt, the regulatory burden (especially Obamacare), and the surge in commodity and oil prices (caused by fed debasement of the currency, and Obamas hostility to oil and natural gas exploration).

This presidency deserves an F on domestic policy, and a gentlemens C on foreign policy.

Don't forget that Obama has now involved us militarily in Yemen. That would make it FOUR military conflicts for the Peace Prize Whiner.

The economy is not President Obama's enemy. It is his creation and it's turning on him. Worse, he's won't stop doing what is so harmful. So, is he just dumb or is this on purpose?

Undoubtedly Obama's REAL FOE is ECONOMY as generated due to his WRONG/MISGUIDED APPROACH. Several Trillions Loan with all the jobs going OVERSEAS has caused the Major Disaster.
But if he is willing to listen and then Act on a Well Planned Program to help create Long Term Permanent Production jobs for the US People to see as REAL then nobody

Oh, that's right it's the economy, stupid.

Who is Obama going to pick for a new VP? Debbie Wasserman Schultz? I think "shaking up the race just enough" is wishful thinking.

Mr. Malcolm:

You hit the nail right on the head. Obama has a one-way ticket to palookaville (to quote Marlon Brando). He has seemingly ignored job creation in the private sector for every left-leaning program that the Democrat Party has desired for a century; all in 870 days. He has trashed the American economy. He has increased our national debt. He has made all past presidents look like Scrooges by increasing our debt by trillions of dollars. His deficit is something like 7 or 8 times George Bush's worst. He has apologized for our country all of the world; a country that has spent untold amounts of treasure in lives and money in the cause of human freedom. Then to cap it all off he and his accomplices have repeatedly lied to us; reassuring the American people that everything will be all right, just like they would talk to young children.

Rick Billies
Charlottesville, Va
The Home of the man who favored small government, Thomas Jefferson

Replacing Biden would not do any good. Barak Obama will be defeated or re-elected based on how much people pay at the pump for gas, how much they pay at the grocery store for groceries (dependent on gas prices and the strength/weakness of the dollar in global food commodity markets), and how much their paycheck increases or decreases in both absolute value and purchasing power.

Nothing, not "First Black President," nor a reshuffled team nor a "really big speech" nor killing Ayman Al-Zawahari or withdrawing from Libya or dislodging Khadaffi will do any good for Obama. Other than a booming economy or one strangling. Reagan won re-election with 7% unemployment, but that was with a massive hiring binge (massive military buildup) jump-starting the economy and producing starting in late 1983 quarterly GDP growth of 10% or so, then 8%, then 7%, averaging out to nearly 6% annual GDP and creation of about 5+ million new jobs. Obama **COULD** have guaranteed his re-election by massive military spending to replace worn 0ut military equipment (subject to US made rules) and rebuilding the Navy to Reagan levels (going from less than 300 ships to Reagan's 700 ship Navy) with all the direct stimulus. But his ideology and his party's prevented that.

So he's doomed barring a Palin/Bachman nomination.

Obama screwed up by: 1. Not drilling like crazy to create high paying US jobs and lowering energy/gas costs. Sure it would have killed baby seals and pelicans, but the world is not a choice between chocolate and strawberries. He chose his enviro-weenies and paid the price. Then he 2. larded on lots of high regulations that increase the cost of doing business here, pushing big corporations, the only ones with capital reserves in a banking crisis to expand overseas instead of here. Caterpillar added 18,000 new jobs and three new factories -- in China. Where regulations are much less onerous. Then Obama did 3. refused to put on high tariffs and import duties to force US companies to manufacture at home (as China does btw) to meet domestic demand. Then Obama did 4. Printed money in an effort to "push on a string" by creating cheap money to prop up Wall Street stocks and bonds, but which also made the US dollar buy less of gas, corn, wheat, and other basic commodities in the global marketplace (consumers pay more for necessities). Then Obama responded to the Gulf Disaster by sitting on oil permits to placate the enviro-weenies more, choosing no more disasters over jobs (and the plethora of small businesses servicing the oil patch in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi). That is #5. Then Obama spent $20 billion in guarantees to ... Brazil for deep-water drilling, sending jobs and investment to ... Brazil instead of the Gulf (that's #6). Then, #7, Obama has pushed for more regulation on fracking to kill off US gas and oil exploration and exploitation at home. To make enviro-weenies happy. Then #8, ObamaCare makes small businesses reluctant to hire, because workers cost a lot more. Then #9, Obama pushed useless "green" stuff that will never be built as a jobs program.

Each of these in isolation is defensible as long as the President delivers economic growth by spending US govt. money wisely. He got a big mandate to do just that in 2008. Instead he wasted a year on health care reform at a time of economic crisis because of political priorities. Then put consistently the environment over jobs at a time of crisis. Then put the environment over cost of gas/oil at a time of crisis. Then put propping up Wall Street as a main priority even if it devastated Main Street (in higher food, clothing, and energy prices).

These are all the unforced errors of a man who never held executive leadership, relied upon dirty tricks (uncovering the Ryan Divorce papers) and a compliant press to win elections. Obama ceased trying about a year ago to do anything, he either expects to cheat massively, or stage a coup, or simply ride out as a one term President enjoying massive perks. Bill Clinton understood he had to deliver good times. But then, Clinton had been defeated once and understood that voters demand results from executives (as opposed to safe legislatures who can vote present for 8 years).

Obama should replace Joe Biden with Ginger Lee.

She is the face of the Democratic party for years to to speak.

If we can't bring ourselves to flush a hundred years of progressivism down the toilet, we don't deserve to be saved.

Why would any one candidate spend one billion dollars to get elected to an office that pays .025 percent of that each year as a salary? It takes a lot of time to raise that kind of money and spend it on advertisements and events.

Voters will be swamped and smothered by advertisements. As most of us know, political advertisements rarely stick to the facts and often contain malicious half-truths, false accusations or slander of some kind. What is obvious is that we are dealing with the same problems year after year. Few problems ever seem to get solved. Men know how to talk about problems, but lack the courage and integrity to solve them. The solution often is to spend more money with good intentions and dubious results, but western nations are running out of money. Nearly sixty percent of the U.S. population is living off of a government check of some kind, and the percentage that does not pay income taxes is almost larger than those who do. A study of the history of nations reveals that financial collapse follows moral collapse, which we have witnessed for many years

Notice if any one of our presidential candidates were to have four qualities: 1. Men of ability, 2. Fearing God, 3. Men of truth and 4. Hating bribery or unjust gain. Would it not be wonderful if we had such men governing nations today! Instead, in all too many cases our systems bring out the venal, narcissistic, proud, ambitious, dishonest, godless, bribe-giving and taking, arrogant and self-centered types. To me character matters, always.

In most comment sections on these news sites, I find it incredible that most of the people commenting, who live in this country, think we live in a monarchy. PLEASE study, read something of substance regarding the workings of our system. One person DOES NOT create change of any kind. As long as the GOP continues to play their juvenile game of "stand off," all will remain in stalemate. They are 100% to blame for our stagnation and backward motion. Until and unless there is some kind of unity in this country with regard to the people human beings who inhabit it, we are doomed to destruction. It is ALWAYS the parasite in the lion's body that brings it down.

When this joker had full control of the house and senate what did he do to curb jobs going over seas NOTHING wait he passed a gaint bill called health care that will send more jobs overseas due to TAXES AND COMPANIES NOT WANTING TO PAY HUS HEALTH CARE FINES .

I don't think Obama or any of his cohorts stands a snowballs' chance in Hell of getting elected. They (the Democrats) have done a very good job of wrecking the economy and I believe most Americans are aware of this. I never thought we could have a president that would make Jimmy Carter look good, but I was mistaken.

Whatever...gas will soar to $5 per gallon shortly before the elections (what a coincidence), idealogical insanity from the tea-mongers, and media frenzy for an American Idol-like race will hand the election to the GOP. We need to become a more educated nation, and quickly.

President Obama is not a leader.

Immediately after his election, the President had a fillibuster-proof majority in both houses of Congress. If he was a leader, he could have had single-payer healthcare, cap-and-trade and his entire agenda.

Instead, President Obama played golf and deferred to Pelosi and Reid to guide the agenda. Legislators cannot lead.....that is why they make lousy Presidents.

With regard to the economy, President Obama gives great speeches about being "focused like a laserbeam" on jobs. Instead, he goes golfing and allows the EPA and other agencies free reign to enact all sorts of rules that stifle business investment.

President Obama could not lead the world on Egypt or Libya (now with troops on the ground even though he said there would be none).

Even during the campaign, Mr Obama talked about "Hope and Change". That is a cheerleader slogan, not a leader's agenda.

Liberals should abandon President Obama because he squandered their best chance at advancing their agenda and golfed while the economy burned.

Independents should abandon President Obama because he has not changed the discourse in this country, nor has he taken one step to heal our racial divide. But he has golfed while the economy burned.

Conservatives never supported President Obama and tried to say that he did not have any leadership experience and was not qualified to be POTUS. Conservatives have suffered as well in this burning economy while President Obama golfs.

President Obama is still not a leader and deserves a pink slip.

Wow I directed to an article in a major media outlet that actually tells many of the truth this President has brought upon himself and the American people. It has been one disaster after another yet until recently all the poor decisions were candy coated by the likes of media outlet like these... LAT's NYT's, WAPO.

SO now we actually have some facts stated and the picture is clearer... DISASTER has happened, the experiment in Socialism is over..... November 2012 is not coming quick enough.

Obama had the largest democrat majorities in over 100 years. He could pass whatever piece of legislation his heart desires without needing a single solitary vote from the republicans. And in fact he did get every last pieces of legislation he called for. Going on his 3rd year, none of his predictions on the economy have been met, we are another 4 trillion in debt because of this clown and absolutely nothing to show for it. If there is anybody left out there that still supports this clown needs their heads examined. The man has failed miserably and needs to be voted out immediately. The people that will vote for this imbecile will be people who enjoy being treated like a battered wife. Anyone who is unemployed would be crazy to vote for 4 more years of unemployment, because that’s what we are likely to get from another term of this dork. All of Obamas economic sense could get lost in a thimble.

But all you hateful republicans and tea baggers posting here have to remember, Obama said he is focusing like a laserbeam on the economy... all the way to the golf course.

It's not just the economy. He started an illegal 'non-war', kept Guantameno, the Kill Team, kept torture legal, the patriot act, bailouts on Wall Street, more troops in Afghanistan and he keeps blaming Bush. Grow up Mr. President, you own everything now.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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