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Obama Will Win By Defending the Safety Net

By John Martin - Posted on 18 August 2011

There's a rumor going around that Obama wants to face Rick Perry in the general election. At first this seems counter-intuitive-- the Governor is agressive, has a somewhat-positive record on jobs, and has already been christened as the candidate who can get the support of various wings of the Republican Party.

My hunch is that Obama wants to go against Perry because Perry has been the most adamant about dismantling the social safety net. In Perry's 2010 book Fed Up!, he writes that Social Security is "by far the best example" of a program "violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles." He later expressed his view that both Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. (Seems like when he says he wasn't planning on running for the presidency, he must have meant it.)

According to Nixonland author Rick Pearlstein, when a Democratic candidate can show the middle class that he or she is willing to fight for their interests during rough economic times, they tend to win. With voters still largely blaming Bush for the terrible economy, I almost don't think the economy will decides this election. The middle class is scared. With shrinking incomes and dwindling prospects, they're not going to want to vote for a guy (or gal) who promises to dismantle the one bit of economic security they have left.

That link shows why Rick Perry, or any other Republican candidate, will not be President.

What part of "Conservative" do these radicals not understand? These people who want to radically change our way of life?

The election could very well be similar to 1980.  We forget how "radical" Reagan was thought of by many especially those in the media.

Reagan was too old, dumb, war monger, too conservative, racist etc.  I don't think you can win by trying to portray your opponent as scary when you are the incumbnent and unemployment is 9% and the perception of most voters is that the country is in serious economic trouble.

President Obama should focus over the next year on getting the country back on track economically.  If the public perceives things as getting better, they will vote to keep Obama in office.  But if he continues to have weeks like he's been having, they will vote for Perry or Romney if they have what sounds like a good economic plan and a message of hope.

Assuming the economy does not get better, this will be a tough fight for the President, no doubt. However, I don't see 1980 as being an exact parellel. Voters don't have as short of a memory as Republicans wish they did. And it's not just Bush who's unpopular-- it's Congress, too. If Obama comes out with an ambitious jobs plan-- which the GOP will inevitably oppose-- don't you think it's possible that independent voters will accuse congress of obstructing the President's efforts to get the economy back? They've been blatant in opposing anything the administration has backed.

Certainly in my lifetime, I don't think there has ever been a time when the party out of the White House opposed the president to the extent that the GOP blocks Obama. The president could declare that the sun rises in the east and the Republicans would find a way to dispute it. If the president proposes a sensible jobs bill that most people could support and the GOP stops it just to oppose the president then I could see voter sentiment swinging in his favor despite bad numbers. But I still think his best chance is to start seeing improved employment numbers.

How can we see improved job numbers when Boehner won't bring any of the jobs bills to the floor for a vote?

Brandon, I'm curious....Which of the current potential GOP candidates do you support?

If the GOP primary was today, I'd vote for Romney.

I thought you'd say that.  I think I'll vote for Huntsman. 

IF the GOP runs one of the far right candidates, will you vote for him/her?

Here's a conglomeration of predictions I've heard and thought up all by myself over the last few days:

Huntsman announces he's in favor of a quick pullout from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Huntsman announces he's running as an independent.

That's all.

I've heard rumors about him running as an I.....I think that campaign would sink like a rock.  I think he's a decent man, intelligent and more moderate than the others.  He also has the charisma of a turnip. 

True. But he'd have a better shot as and I than as an R. If his goal isn't to win, then maybe him running as an I would be a chance to get some new ideas and new perspectives into the race. Hopefully, anyway.

And maybe to develop a sane base and some name recognition for 2016.

Of the 8 declared candidates:

I would not vote for Michelle Bachman, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich under any circumstances.

I'd have no problem voting for Huntsman or Romney.

Rick Perry is more complicated.  So far, I'd say no.  As I have stated before, I found his statements about secession abhorrent.  But I've had friends of mine on the right tell me he didn't say what I think he said.

So I still have an open mind about him and would like to know more about his record as Texas governor. 

So I still have an open mind about him and would like to know more about his record as Texas governor. 

It sucks.  Take it from me and TexasGrandmother and Kim Miller.

Even the Republicans here in Texas don't like him, but they vote for him because he has been the Republican candidate.  They dance with the one that brung 'em.

There is a reason that one of his nicknames is Pay to Play Perry.  He is the king of cronyism.

I could go on and on and on.


And the cronyism is beyond belief.  I cannot even begin to describe the Texas "bridges to nowhere" that have only enriched his buddies.

I don't know about you, but anyone who shouts "States Rights" makes my blood run cold, bringing back lessons from the Civil War and the Civil Rights Era.

The first one was in 2009 in Austin at a rally, a comment dismissed by his aides as a "joke" but already getting fresh oxygen now that he's expected to run for president.

But wait, there's more:  From Politico

An obscure interview with Perry, posted on the internet more than two years ago, has resurfaced as part of a harsh video put together by a group of Texas Democrats who don’t want the Republican governor to be elected president. The Democrats found the interview on YouTube, originally posted in March 2009, and included it in a four-minute attack on Perry emailed to supporters last weekend.
In the meeting, Perry can be heard speaking to the group of tech bloggers about the founding of Texas in 1836. A slideshow shows Perry pointing to a painting of the dramatic fall of the Alamo, artifacts in his office and the “Come and Take It” logo on his own boots.
Texans have a “different feeling about independence,” Perry told the group.

 “When we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation,” the governor can be heard saying. “And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”

If I were you Brandon,  I'd stick with my first instincts about Perry...he's a fringe candidate. 


For Brandon....

Rick Perry's Texas...

1) 49th in teacher pay
2) 1st in the percentage of people over 25 without a high school diploma
3) 41st in high school graduation rate
4) 46th in SAT scores
5) 1st in percentage of uninsured children
6) 1st in percentage of population uninsured
7) 1st in percentage of non-elderl y uninsured
8) 3rd in percentage of ppl living below poverty level

Suzi, I think you know that there are historical and demographic reasons why most of the Southern states including yours and mine perform poorly on the statistics you cite.  I think it is unfair to blame Gov. Perry for any of those stats as they would have been similar for Texas in 1950, 1960, 1970 etc.

According to Forbes, between 2000 and 2009 Chicago lost 257,000 jobs, Los Angeles over 167,000 and San Francisco some 216,000. Meanwhile, Dallas added nearly 150,000 jobs and Houston 250,000.

According to demographer Joel Kotkin:

"Over the past decade nearly 1.5 million more people left California than stayed; only New York State lost more. In contrast, Texas gained over 800,000 new migrants. In California, foreign immigration–the one bright spot in its demography–has slowed, while that to Texas has increased markedly over the decade.

A vast difference in economic performance is driving the demographic shifts. Since 1998, California’s economy has not produced a single new net job, notes economist John Husing. Public employment has swelled, but private jobs have declined.  Critically, as Texas grew its middle-income jobs by 16%, one of the highest rates in the nation, California, at 2.1% growth, ranked near the bottom. In the year ending September, Texas accounted for roughly half of all the new jobs created in this country."


Texas has out performed every other state in job growth and population growth over the last decade.  Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and especially Austin are booming.  

I'm not saying this has anything to do with Rick Perry, but Texas is a pretty good place to be in 2011.



My understanding is the better paying jobs are, for the most part, a result of public sector jobs, not private.  That's not a bad thing though. 

The rest of the truth is Texas job growth is part minimum wage jobs, part oil industry jobs, and part "poached" jobs. The latter is the practice of reducing taxes, wage, workplace and environmental regulations in an effort to lure jobs from other states. This might work for increasing jobs in one state versus another, but it's not so likely to work for the nation as a whole. We'd have to really gut our labor and environmental protections in order to compete with Malaysia, Vietnam and other labor paradises around the world.

But as a result of many of those policies in Texas, Texans have high child poverty rates, high uninsured rates and some of the worst pollution in the nation.

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