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Mitt’s Problem, Part 1: It’s the Economy, Stupid

by Keith Koffler on February 8, 2012, 9:40 am

As Rick Santorum pointed out in three states last night, Mitt Romney has a problem. The rationale for his candidacy is beginning to look a little weathered.

Mitt can beat Obama, says Mitt, in essence, because he can give the economy the Bain Capital Treatment. He’ll have his little Mittniks pour through the books to find waste and fraud, revamp bloated entitlement programs, find the perfect mix of tax cuts and incentives, and make the economy go VOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!

But the economy  is starting to getting better, allowing Cool Hand Barack to make his case, popped full of holes though it may be, that he’s got the country back in the saddle and you voters better send this City Slicker Romney back to Boston before he messes it up with his Rich Dude ways.

Many Republicans seem to be in a state of denial about the slowly improving economic picture and its probable benefit to Obama.

Hurray for me!

Case in point was the Grand Conspiracy suggested by some over the 1.2 million people supposedly added to the ranks of the no-longer-looking-for-work, and the insidious numbers nerds over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics who malevolently cooked the books for Obama to show the unemployment rate declining to 8.3 percent.

But these were not newly disenchanted workers giving up the search. They were brand new people, uncounted before, but now recognized by the 2010 census. And they were mostly older, so they were stuck in the non-labor force category. Essentially, the census nerds found a bunch of people they thought were dead. So they had no impact on the unemployment rate.

It’s very true that things are still sickeningly bad. Unemployment is crazy high, and the economy is expanding only at a lackluster pace.

Obama’s economic program has failed miserably, and an economy that could have been roaring right now is simply limping back into shape.

But human beings – AKA voters – tend to consider things in relative terms. That is, if you are told you have terminal leukemia, and then informed a few days later you actually have a really bad case of the flu, YOU FEEL GREAT! Even though you have a bad case of the flu.

Some will realize that Dr. Obama administered the wrong medicine, and that the economy is recovering despite him, not because of him. But he will be able to make the argument - and many may believe it – that the nation shouldn’t switch hospitals now that the patient has been stabilized.

But of course, there’s much more to Mitt, qualities that can make him attractive to independents and that will bring conservatives out to the polls in droves.

Wait a second . . .

Stay tuned for our next installment, Mitt’s Problem, Part 2: It’s Not Just the Economy, Stupid.

Leave a Comment

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff February 8, 2012 at 10:47 am

The economy is of paramount importance, but for me, even if the economy was roaring, I still wouldn’t vote for Obama. Quite simply I’m tired of being lied to, lectured, sneered at, laughed at, called lazy, watching my individual liberty slipping away, being lorded over by temporary politicians and unelected czars, getting groped by TSA agents, living with a hollowed-out military, and I don’t feel that Mitt Romney shares my outrage. The economy is important, but it’s going takes a lot more than a good economy to save America.

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Jeff February 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

Sorry, meant “going to take a lot more . . . .”

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Star February 8, 2012 at 10:57 am

If this site is turning pro-you-know-who, I am leaving it. There are things I don’t care for about every Rep candidate–including Romney–but I am not about to feed them to the enemy.

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Jeff February 8, 2012 at 11:26 am

Anyone but Obama, but there are enemies in the republican camp too. It’s a matter of degree. Isn’t that what this primary is supposed to be about, separating the wheat from the chafe?

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Susan February 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

The books were cooked, no doubt in my mind. Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge ran the hard numbers – treasury receipts against so-called new jobs – and the numbers just don’t jibe. Also not buying the claim that the the economy is improving. I live out here in the real world and guarantee it is not. Jobs are scare. Energy bills are “necessarily skyrocketing”, food prices are through the roof, and gasoline prices continue to rise. Everything costs more. Those of us who have to live on fixed incomes are struggling to keep our heads above water.

I believe the reason Santorum did so well is because people are looking for a candidate with core convictions over Romney’s purported electability. Like Santorum said in his speech last night… “I’m not the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I’m the conservative alternative to Barack Obama.”

Obama’s war against religion with Obamacare may have played a big role too. Romney is a good man with a beautiful family, but as long as he keeps carrying the torch for Romneycare, we lose the most powerful argument against Obama in the general – Obamacare.

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srdem65 February 8, 2012 at 11:00 am

My thoughts, too. Nothing’s changed but the “official” numbers.

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Star February 8, 2012 at 11:00 am

I agree on the books being cooked but most Americans, including my friends and relatives, will never bother to study this or check. Most of them have jobs–case closed, peachy reigns. As for Santorum, if he is the nominee, I will do my best to voice what support I can muster.

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Jojo February 8, 2012 at 11:20 am

Obama’s minions also say there is not Inflation, but if you have bought a gallon of milk or gas recently, I think you would have to say that doesn’t jive either. Hopefully the sheeple will see through him, but they didn’t the first time… I pray this country will be able to recover after 4 more years of him, my hope for a different outcome is small. But regardless, I will vote against Obama…

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Star February 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

I am with you, JoJo… If the purists haven’t destroyed all the candidates.

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WMP February 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Keith – the jobs numbers may sound good to some and they may be able to justify the adjustments set forth in your article, but if you live in California – you see a huge disconnect with the report and this. Soooo many people are out of work, don’t have full time jobs and are really struggling. Like they say – there are statistics and there are statistics and then there is reality. The analogy you use works with some voters; doesn’t work with others. Those that are addicted to Obama weren’t going to change their vote anyway; those who detect Obama were gong to change their vote – the real change is going to be with moderates and independents – do they see an improvement? I also read an explanation that is used (similar to your leukemia comparison) where a company announces they are going to lay off 300 people but only lay off 200 – all of a sudden that is a gain of 200 jobs – go figure.

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Star February 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I will second this–Arizona is horrible. Vacant stores, closing restaurants…I had a new roof put on (insurance co) today and they had 10 people eager to work–and work they did! Three hours–done! I was glad they could get the work… I just had another regular client inform me that they “rejiggered rates”–well, they didn’t increase them!

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Keith Koffler February 10, 2012 at 12:06 am

WMP – no denying it’s bad out there. Eight percent unemployment is still a tragedy.

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BlogMagag November 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

When our economy was imploding, Obama spend the first 18 months focused on Obamacare. That is not what a leader does. Now he says he needs more time??? NO, We watched what you did with the time you had, not just the 100 rounds of golf. Even my liberal friends said that should have been a second term objective. Obama basically put our economy on hold to cram in his liberal health program, now we all continue to suffer and he says he needs more time. STICK IT

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Lanie February 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

Tragically, the Republicans have no candidate that not only represents true conservative principles and values but stands a chance against Obama.

I disagree that the economy ought to be the most important issue for this election. It ought to be centered on two things: the expanding role of government which has made a mockery of the U.S. Constitution, and the immorality and corruption that are the cornerstones of the reasons why our fiscal house and economy are a mess.

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Car in February 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

The economy is extremely MEH and if it is getting better by droplets, that’s only because the American economy is extremely dynamic.

But, amid the MEH is Obama’s complete failure at foreign policy. The Syria? Egypt has American hostages? Iraq and Afghanastan and Iran … his failures are never ending.

While the MSM just ignores it all.

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Car in February 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

And can we talk about the pipeline, and that oil going to China? HELLO?

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Susan February 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm

PM Harper is over in China working a deal on that oil. I’m still shocked at how one man can put the kibosh on a national project that has been in the works for years. Since when did we become an autocracy?

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Car in February 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

. But he will be able to make the argument – and many may believe it – that the nation shouldn’t switch hospitals now that the patient has been stabilized.</em.

Yea people … it's halftime in america. You don't go changing coaches.

@@

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Nancy F February 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm

But it HAS been done and CAN be done!

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Tracy February 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Keep drinking the kool aide Keith…just his mere language of tax the rich…the rich will be anyone above the median income in this country soon at the rate by which Obama spends. Obama would look great if he spent his time looking at clearing up govt fraud especially in areas like Medicare and cut out shit like Planned Parent Hood, solyndra …If he merely stopped talking and spending the economy would be rolling…problem is he can’t help himself…he truly feels the Govt is smarter then the people and the more people are dependent on the govt the better we are…..well even the poor know better then that. His Ideology is un-American and his days are numbered. Time to head back to Chicago Barack……don’t you find it interesting that the great Dem stronghold states are losing population and have debt issues…. he is trying to make the whole country that way.

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Nancy F February 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thumbs up to you Tracy!

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Star February 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Huzza!

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WMP February 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

It is February 8, 2012 – like they always say – a week in politics is an eternity. Santorum seems to be a decent man with conservative credentials; Romney seems to be a decent man with good business credentials. Paul,while a bit out there, seems to be a decent man with some good ideas about the economy. If we could roll them into one – it would be a slam dunk but that is not how it works At this point in 2008 there was nothing but negative publicity about the Democratic nomination process. This is nothing new. I wish people would look long term. Each of these parties is going to have a difficult week – it will only improve their abilities. The odds are still in Romney’s favor delegate wise and I honestly cannot see Santorum doing well in traditionally moderate states – not because he isn’t decent but because he is who he is. Florida is the best example of the overall electorate in the United States, not Missouri – as unfortunate as that is. What I do see as a positive is the credibility of Santorum essentially rendering Gingrich obsolete – he is the real thorn right now – he is angry period. At the end of the day – after the conventions – there will be Obama and a Republican. I personally hope it is Romney because I still believe (in spite of all the observations) that is the most likely to be able to beat Obama. If that is how it plays out, I hope that Santorum and Paul can be major players on election day. If the selection is Santorum, I will gladly vote for him, but I simply am not optomistic that he can pull it off.

Lastly Tracy makes some great points about the traditionally Democratic strongholds and their debt problems. I live in California – need I say more?

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Knothead February 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Let me see if I understand this, we borrow or steal $4 trillion dollars and give it to good ole buddies in the form of stimulus or you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours favors. Duh the economy has got to improve BUT, wait til the IOU comes due.
Heard the other day an ad stating, ” Are you better off now than you were $4 trillion dollars ago?”

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Star February 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

Good one. This is the drum to beat–not the Romney is not a “conservative” one.

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Keith Koffler February 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Well, I hear you all, but I stand by it. The economy is bad, and many will recognize it and hold it against him. But if it’s improving, it will help Obama, and hurt the rationale for Romney.

And 1.2 million people did not leave the labor force, and I don’t believe the numbers are cooked. Employment increased at a robust rate last month.

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BlogMagag November 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Economy getting better? Why the record food stamps then? Why don’t you report the REAL unemployment, especially for blacks? You know the number including those who have GIVEN UP looking for a job. So report these numbers and then let us know what exactly has $5 trillion in new debt gotten us so far? Looks and smells like failure to me. But if you dig deeper into the corruption, it is actually much more sinister.

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