While practically a whole book could be written on Obama’s “Blame Bush” strategy, a new theme is developing in his reelection campaign — Blame Romney. While I was in the gym over the weekend, I saw a campaign ad in which Obama cited a series of liberal newspapers as proof of Romney’s outsourcing and tax sheltering. The ad concludes with, “Mitt Romney … part of the problem.” If ever there was evidence that there are two distinct worldviews coexisting in this nation, this was it. The sitting President of the United States accused Mitt Romney, and private business, of being the problem. This is a far cry from the mantra that swept President Reagan into office in 1980 when he ran on the idea that government is the problem.
Thus all that remains is for Mitt Romney to clearly delineate this natural difference between himself and the President. President Obama believes that government is the solution and that guiding the economy towards green energy projects or universal health insurance coverage is in the best interest of the citizenry. And on the other side should be Mitt Romney, standing firm athwart the idea that the government is inherently a flawed agent and that private markets are better able to supply the goods and services that people need and desire. These are two essentially different worldviews.
While it’s beyond the scope of this article to present the case for either of these views, a short purview of political philosophy tells us that neither of these views is new. Centralized leadership has been the longest-standing tradition of human leadership since the time Plato wrote The Republic. By way of contrast, classical liberalism and free market economics are relatively new developments. So whenever a liberal tries to tell you that “hope” is a new idea, calmly tell your friend that controlled economies and centralized control have been around for a while. Free market and conservative policies, on the other hand, base their system upon the premise that we should first attempt to understand human nature and extrapolate from that to generally applicable laws of human action.
This sharp divide highlights the fact that President Obama has been powerless to effect any meaningful economic change. Unemployment is higher than he claimed it would be during the height of the recession and job growth is stagnant. If government was the solution, why has it proven so ineffective. Perhaps its time for a less centralized solution and see what happens when markets are allowed to flourish. Obama’s “headwinds” can only be blamed for so much, at some point Americans have to realize that all the talk of hope and change really masks a President who believes that business is the problem. Which is funny, because they didn’t build there businesses anyways — somebody else did. Thus President Obama’s campaign strategy basically could be read as — somebody (anybody) else is the problem.