Hate to say this, folks…but the 2010 election has already begun. Potential Congressional candidates are being recruited, donors are being targeted and strategies are being formulated.
Rep. Gohmert has already given us our message. Something simple, timely and easy to communicate to the electorate:
“I would like to say tonight that if the American people will let the Republicans back in charge, the 60% of this bill that won’t be spent until after the next election, we’ll cut it off and let it go to the Americans.”
-Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Hannity Show, February 19, 2009
Is he right? According to the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan office under the jurisdiction of the United States Congress:
“…the current recession, which started in December 2007, will last until the second half of 2009.
In preparing its economic forecast, CBO assumes that current laws and policies governing federal spending and taxes do not change. This forecast, therefore, does not include the effects of a possible fiscal stimulus package. On that basis, CBO anticipates that real GDP will drop by 2.2 percent in calendar year 2009, a steep decline. CBO expects the economy to begin a slow recovery in the second half of 2009 and to grow by a modest 1.5 percent in 2010.”
So plainly speaking, according to experts with no allegiance to any side, the recession will be over before over 700 billion of the stimulus is spent.
The difficulty will be in making sure the electorate understands what is yet to be spent of the stimulus as the 2010 election rolls around. If the CBO is correct, we will be coming out of the recession, despite the stimulus, before people go to the polls. This will enable the White House to demagogue the issue and tell Americans, simply speaking, ‘the stimulus worked’.
It’s an easy message to communicate: No recession = Stimulus success.
Strategically, perhaps Republicans will want to cede this ground. But turn it back around on the White House and Congress to tell them further spending is unnecessary.
Does this strategy of ceding stimulus success provide possible ammo to Obama in 2012? Of course, but at the end of the day, 2012 voters will be choosing their President based on how we’ve always chosen our President — Is the economy satisfactory to them and do they feel secure. By 2012, the Stimulus will be long gone from our campaign lexicon.
Use this, 2010 GOP candidates. The ’94 Revolution was won not simply because of Clinton backlash, but because Republicans gave Americans a clear understanding of what they will accomplish. Give them that again.