Important Election News from Across the Pond

Over the last week, there has been a torrent of stories illustrating the extent to which the Obama re-election team is observing the Republican presidential contest and developing their strategy for the general election season. And while I’m sure that the Obama team has devoted a fair amount of attention to events in the GOP, I’m also sure that they’ve devoted even more time to events across the Atlantic, where—as Carmel Crimmins and Gavin Jones note for Reuters—austerity has pushed Europe to the edge of another recession:

With the crisis spreading like wildfire through the currency bloc’s core, pushing up borrowing costs to unsustainable levels, countries are relying more on blunt budget cuts, than time-consuming and difficult structural reforms, to get results. The upshot is ballooning dole queues, shuttered businesses and public services stretched to breaking point.

There’s no question that a second European recession would trickle down to the United States and compromise our already-anemic economic growth. The issue, for Obama, is whether this would doom his re-election chances. My guess, for now, is that it will—at this moment, a substantial hit to the U.S. economy would arrest growth and spark an increase in unemployment. Yes, campaigns and candidates have a significant effect on the outcome of a presidential election. But even Gingrich stands a shot at winning the White House if conditions deteriorate over the next year.

All of which is to say that, as much as it’s fun to pay attention to the horse race, the most important election news for 2012 is likely to come from across the pond, and the Obama team knows it.

Comments

Disagree. The most important news for Obama in 2012 is right here at home...and it largely involves people that formerly self-identified as Democrats and who worked to elect Democrats who self-identify that way no longer and will not vote for Obama no matter what happens between now and November of next year. As I said elsewhere:

We’re at war in more nations now than when Shrub was presidentin’. We now have an executive who claims the right to kill American citizens without charge or trial. Not even Shrub claimed that right. Warrantless wiretaps? Obama’s for ‘em. Invoking the state secrets doctrine not just to exclude sensitive evidence but to shut down legal proceedings entirely? Obama has gone farther than Bush dreamed of. Indefinite detention? Check. And on the social justice domestic front, how about undermining Social Security by meddling with its dedicated funding stream? No president ever before has done that, and the plan for it comes directly from a Republican think-tank. (Let FDR explain why it’s a terrible idea. See http://goo.gl/NS8mB which is Luther Gulick's memo with FDR's famous quote on the payroll tax.) Allowing politics to override science? Check. (See the EPA decision on ozone rules or HHS on Plan B birth control.)

I can no more support or vote for Obama in 2012 than I could support or vote for Shrub. Obama isn’t as bad as Shrub, he’s worse. And the thing that makes him worse is that Democratic partisans have allowed themselves to be co-opted into supporting things that they supposedly opposed. And make no mistake, to support or vote for Barack Obama is to support ALL of these things. Damn if I will lend my support.

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