Economic News Leaves GOP Scrambling for New Strategy

by on December 16th, 2010
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COMMENTARY | Despite a rosier economic outlook, the Republican Party continues to attack President Barack Obama on the economy. The clear and continual recovery of the U.S. economy must cause Republicans to rethink their rational for denying President Obama a second term. The present course of “things are getting worse” attacks have run out of credibility.

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the economy added 243,000 private sector jobs in January. This marks the 23rd consecutive month of job growth. We’ve seen 3.7 million private-sector jobs created during that time. With continuing shrinkage of unemployment numbers and GDP numbers increasing for 10 consecutive quarters, President Obama and the Democratic Party are rightly more optimistic about the president’s chances of re-election.

In spite of these numbers, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., declared in his response to the State of the Union Address that the president’s policies have made things worse. On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney has called the president a job killer and claimed he “has not created any new jobs.”

Newt Gingrich went further, saying, “The president has now spent three years proving that he kills jobs in energy, he kills jobs in manufacturing, he kills jobs in virtually every part of American life.” Statements like these are opening Republicans to accusations of incompetent analysis or outright lying.

As seen in the most recent head to head polls between Obama and likely nominee Romney, this strategy is clearly not working with the American people. From the quintessence of “lamestream” media, ABC/Washington Post, to the conservative Rasmussen, the gap between Obama and Romney is widening. Should the economy continue to improve the GOP will have to develop a different way to state the case against Obama.

Unless the economy tanks, the Republicans do not have many optional strategies to use to deny Obama a second term. They could try to credit the House majority with the economic turnaround but with congressional approval ratings near the single digits it’s hard to imagine voters being receptive to this.

The other tack they might try is to tie the improved economy to newly elected Republican governors. With the new GOP governor’s approval ratings lower than the president’s, it will be another tough sell. The only people things are getting worse for are GOP strategists.

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