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The Race We’re In



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My latest Bloomberg View column makes the case against Obama’s reelection based on his main pieces of legislation — which he doesn’t brag about in quite the way most incumbents do.

 

It has been ages since prominent Democrats used the word “stimulus.” Instead what they say is that the president pulled the country back from the brink of another Great Depression. They don’t mention that he won this alleged victory by spending hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars.

And saying the stimulus saved us from a depression simply isn’t true. The economy hit bottom in June 2009, too early for a bill signed four months before to have had much effect. Studies that claim the bill had a strongly positive effect on the economy fall into two categories. Some of them simply assume, rather than prove, that stimulus had to work. The others suggest that some places did well from the stimulus, but they don’t prove it helped the country as a whole. None of them takes account of the Federal Reserve’s power to set the economy’s speed limit.

At the same site, Margaret Carlson and I debate the last debate. I write:

In addition to agreeing about Iran and Afghanistan, both candidates seemed to agree that voters don’t care about foreign policy. Both used every opportunity to move the debate back to domestic themes: We heard more about teachers than about Latin America. Obama repeated John Kerry’s 2004 line about the need for “nation-building here at home” several times. The line is premised on an accurate read of the public mood, which is why even Obama’s effective attacks on Romney didn’t change the campaign’s course. Advantage Romney.

I’ve always expected North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia to come back to the Republican column, in that order, but earlier in the campaign it looked like they might stay toss-ups through Election Day. The first state is effectively off the table for the Democrats now, the second is almost there, and the third is headed that way too. With those Obama 2008 states (plus of course Indiana) behind him, Romney will have several routes to 270.



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