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Steven Kurlander

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Obama Needs to Revive Bowles-Simpson to Fix Economy, And Reelection Prospects

Posted: 06/04/2012 4:07 pm

Last Friday, President Obama continued to lay blame for the nation's economic ills on the gridlock in Washington, particularly on incorrigible Republican extremists that he said dominates the GOP in Congress.

Hours after the Department of Labor reported very unacceptable news in the job sector with an uptick in unemployment to 8.2%, a revision downward of prior positive job reports, and a lackluster creation of 69,000 jobs, the president blamed a faltering economy on GOP intransigence to work with him to lower unemployment and to get the economy moving.

At a fundraiser, he characterized the GOPs solid opposition to his policies as a "fever" of extremism that only his victory and a defeat of GOP candidates in November can cure.

Obama even went as far as pining for the good old days of 2008 when John McCain was running, who he then described as being "out of touch." On Friday, he instead spoke highly of the Arizona senator's past bipartisan willingness to work with Democrats and compromise on issues like immigration, climate control, and election reform.

That's really bizarre.

So far, the distraction game of the president invoking a GOP War on Women and gay people, equating Romney's Bain management experience to evil capitalism, and even attacking Mitt's treatment of the family dog, has not moved voters the slightest bit from focusing on their primary election concern: his poor record on the economy and a decreasing American standard of living.

This week, the president and his surrogates are yet again employing another approach to deflect attention away from his failure to turn the economy around by diagnosing the opposition as radically unhinged.

Obama surrogate Maryland governor Martin O'Malley in tandem to Obama on Saturday went even further and called Republicans in Congress "constipated" -- he stated "Republican obstructionists wouldn't pass gas if they thought it might heal our economy."

Like the other distractions, even if using childish bowel similes, it's not going to work.

The dismal job numbers on Friday were an election game changer and daily polls are already showing so.

A daily Rasmussen poll taken on Sunday reported that only 45 percent at least "somewhat approve" of the president's job performance while 53 percent at least "somewhat disapprove."

For the full month of May, the president's total job approval rating was at 49%, up two points from April.

The president stated Friday: "My hope and my expectation is that after the election, now that it turns out the goal of beating Obama doesn't make much sense because I'm not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again."

He better not wait until after November -- and he already has a great starting point.

After the president had two years of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, but failed to bring about meaningful fiscal changes, he then established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, otherwise known as the Bowles-Simpson Commission, in April, 2010 to formulate policies to improve the economy and to achieve fiscal sustainability for years to come.

The following December, the bi-partisan commission released its recommendations and provided the president the cover necessary to enact harsh, but needed reforms that would have resulted in positive economic growth, and more importantly, a perception that Washington was working to fix the economy, that would have already had a major impact today.

Yet, instead of exercising the mandate of presidential leadership to force "radical" senators of his own party opposed to cuts in entitlements to vote for the enactment of the tough austerity measures as part of a required supermajority, he did nothing.

It's not too late to bring Bowles-Simpson back on the table today or even during the first 100 days of his second term.

The recent labor reports, and the polls, are signs that the Obama negative distraction game is not working to make Americans feverish with optimism about an immediate economic recovery -- or a second Obama administration.

And continuing to call GOP congressmen flatulent lunatics or praising John McCain's bipartisanship is not going to help rescue his image as the leader in crisis either.

 

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