Top marks to Matthew Dowd among the Allen’s Alley of characters on the talking heads programs this weekend. On ABC’s This Week Mr. Dowd, after noting the retrospective or nostalgic quality to last week’s Republican National Convention, reminded us that the winners of presidential elections tend to be the candidates who’ve painted the brighter but still believable picture of America and its future.
Obama political advisor David Plouffe’s performance just a few minutes earlier strongly suggested that the question that the Obama campaign wants to ask, rather than answering Ronald Reagan’s famous “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, is “Are you better off than you would have been if Bush were still president?”
The emerging picture of the two campaigns is that the Romney campaign wants to run against the Obama economic record of the last four years and the Obama campaign wants to run against the Bush economic campaign of the previous eight years, joining it with Romney’s plans. While accomplishing each of those tasks may be necessary for victory, will they be sufficient? I don’t believe so and I certainly hope not.
Gov. Romney needs to explain how tax cuts and trade war with China will put 23 million people to work. The president needs to explain how his stalled jobs bill will accomplish that. Or what else he plans to do. And how he plans to accomplish whatever he plans under the conditions that are likely to prevail in Congress in the next term.
Nostalgia is all well and good but whether it’s nostalgia for the New Deal, the 50s, or the 90s today’s conditions are different from the conditions then and we need to address today’s problems with today’s solutions. Time’s a-wastin’. Chop chop.