David Plouffe’s “Same Old War Horses”

Scarecrow, Digby, and Jon Walker rightly took David Plouffe’s promises that a 9% unemployment rate won’t hurt Obama’s reelection chances to task.

But I’m at least as appalled by this part of Plouffe’s statement:

The White House’s top political adviser, downplaying the significance of the unemployment rate in the 2012 election, said the Republican candidates are offering the same policies that caused the economic crisis and targeted one potential opponent — Mitt Romney.

“So all of them are basically just bringing out the same old war horses,” senior adviser David Plouffe said yesterday at a Bloomberg Breakfast in Washington. “Let Wall Street kind of run amok, cut taxes for the wealthy, starve investment in things like education, research and development.”

Let Wall Street run amok. Check.

Cut taxes for the wealthy. Check.

And while Obama hasn’t as obviously starved investment in education and R&D (indeed, the stimulus he doesn’t like to talk about increased investments in both), by insisting on deficit reduction at the same time as states have had (or pretended they had to) cut education and R&D to balance their budgets, he has allowed such cuts to happen on his watch.

It troubles me a bit that David Plouffe doesn’t even see the irony of his statement.  Sure, the Republicans will be running on all those things. But so will, to a large extent, Obama.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

11 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sure, the Republicans will be running on all those things. But so will, to a large extent, Obama.

    Like many of the mighty, I suspect Mr. Obama has fallen prey to his own exceptionalism and his own powers of speech.

    A bruised and battered public has, however, probably had enough of his speechifying. It knows that a 9% official rate is punishingly unacceptably high and that, as Digby says, the true rate is probably twice that. As bad as a Palin or Bachmann presidency might be, fear of it won’t be enough to get out the vote in favor of man so full of empty promises and so oblivious and uncaring about the plight of average Americans.

  2. scribe says:

    AS I’ve been saying for weeks now, the 2012 election will be a referendum on a simple question”: “Should a President who tolerates 9 percent official unemployment (and 18 or 20 percent real unemployment) and does nothing to alleviate that be re-elected?”

    Or, in other words, “do you ratify allowing massive unemployment as government policy which is good, good enough to get re-elected upon.”

    Because if Obama is re-elected after this performance and his utter disregard of unemployment, no politician will ever again have to pay any attention to unemployment. The precedent will be set, just as the precedent that torture was and is an acceptable part of US conduct was ratified by the 2004 election.

  3. radiofreewill says:

    Obama is a Gooper.

    I’ve been giving him the benefit of the doubt – believing that the Republicans could only be worse…

    …but they’re really just the same.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Obama won’t get very far by having his minions tell a harried middle class that having 9-18% of their fellows unemployed isn’t all that important for Washingtonians to worry their heads over.

    He might get re-elected if he acted like a CEO in a troubled company, if he stopped pretending that his company was made up of his pals in the boardroom; if he got out and made cold calls with junior sales staff; if he spent as much time with his suppliers as he did with his customers; if he walked the factory floors, chatted up his design teams, facilities staff and warehouse workers; if he spent the morning with his recruiters; if he told his managers that their salary and jobs were every bit as much on the line as his head office staff and his rank & file workers. If he walked the talk and acted on what was important to him. If he rewarded everyone who helped turn his troubled company around, not just the guys he plays golf with.

    Success is never assured, but not succeeding is never as damning as not trying. The trouble is, as Frank Rich pointed out, that Mr. Obama is walking his talk. He is taking care of those who are important to him, and they are as small and select and rich a group as any favored by George Bush or Dick Cheney. He doesn’t care what anyone outside that group does or what happens to them, not enough to do anything more than throw a few speeches and bread crumbs their way.

    In 2008, Barack Obama told a public desperate for a change what it wanted to hear. He then ignored what he said, ignored what needed to be done. That won’t be enough in 2012, no matter who runs against him.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Reminds me of the claim made by every company that files a strategery bankruptcy: its top managers all need to keep their jobs and need to be paid big bonuses in advance for doing so – despite their having navigated their company into bankruptcy.

        • tejanarusa says:

          But, heaven forbid we ordinary folks consider walking away from a mortgage or any other debt, no matter how much “business sense” it makes for our personal business. That makes us really baaaad people.
          And it’s so irresponsible of us to not have saved enough money for a comfy retirement on minimum or poverty level wages.

        • PJEvans says:

          Right up there with having to pay them that much just to get them to stay – or so those huge paychecks are justified.
          Funny, no one else seems to need multiple millions per year just to show up for work.

  5. MadDog says:

    OT – Benjamin Wittes over at Lawfare has some compliments for both EW and Spencer Ackerman and a “stay tuned for a more nuanced response” response on the “public debate on our drone wars” topic.

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