Opinion: Carolina Beat

It Is Still The Economy, Stupid

The media and political insiders were all abuzz recently about the leaking of a provocative, 54-page proposal designed to damage the re-election chances of President Obama.

First reported by The New York Times, the memo immediately hit Politico and other blogs, as well as cable news and talk radio.

The memo was concocted by Fred Davis, the GOP advertising man known in political circles for his occasionally off-the-wall media campaigns. Under the umbrella of the Republican-friendly Super PAC “Ending Spending Action Fund,” Davis and his team of operatives sketched out a storyboard using the slogan “Character Matters.”

The thrust of Davis’ proposed ad strategy memo was the following:

It referred to President Obama as “the metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln” and said that his longtime association with controversial Chicago pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright “is [a] phenomenally powerful argument that’s never been properly exploited.”

The proposed $10 million ad campaign was designed to rehash a four-year-old controversy over inflammatory remarks by Wright, Obama’s former pastor.

In fact, Davis first proposed this line of attack in 2008, when he was advising Sen. John McCain. McCain rejected it at the time.

In my view, the proposed campaign was repugnant and insulting to the American electorate and has no place in the ongoing debate about the future direction of the country.

Within hours of the Times article being circulated, Gov. Mitt Romney distanced himself from the proposed racially charged line of attack. “I want to make it very clear: I repudiate that effort,” Romney said at a news conference. “I think it’s the wrong course. … I hope that our campaigns can respectively be about the future and about issues and about a vision for America.”

Gov. Romney and his team got it right.

In short — this campaign is about the future of the economy.
Several cases in point:

* By any objective standard, Obama’s economic policies have not worked. Although he has served less than a full term, Obama now has the dubious distinction of being the first president to see the nation’s debt increase by more than $5 trillion.

* Other key economic indicators that point to trouble for the president’s re-election are anemic job creation and an unemployment rate that has been above 8 percent for more than 39 months. No incumbent president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been re-elected when the nation’s unemployment was higher than 7.2 percent.

* Excessive regulation and uncertain tax policies — as well as the looming implementation of Obama’s health care plan — have stymied small businesses, which are the driving force of job creation in this country.

* And have I mentioned skyrocketing gasoline prices and home values across America that have not recovered from the real estate crash?

Millions of Americans of all ethnicities and political persuasions are suffering under this president and his lack of understanding of how capitalism works. Government-centered economies do not work, as Greece and the rest of the European Union are finding out.

Conservative, free-market Republicans are on the right side of history.

Let’s not be deterred by our opponents or our friends.

As James Carville said in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Marc Rotterman is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation, and a former board member of the American Conservative Union.