Eliot Spitzer: 2 Bold Ideas Obama Should Embrace to Stand Apart from Mitt Romney
With Mitt Romney’s almost certain win in New Hampshire this week, the race for the White House has now resolved to what was predicted almost a year ago: Mitt vs. Barack. The more extreme and entirely irrational voices of the Republican Party have nearly burned out, and the Republicans will be offering up a rather bland and opportunistic middle-of-the-roader who nonetheless has a credible record in the big leagues of private equity and as a one-term governor of Massachusetts. Romney has successfully navigated a minefield of debates and attacks from the right without marginalizing himself so that he lost his capacity to appeal to the undecided voters who will determine the election in November. So let’s be clear: Democrats cannot easily dismiss Mitt Romney. This will be a tight race, and the economic data of the late spring and summer will help determine the emotional state of the electorate.
So how will Obama approach the contest? His good news: We are out of Iraq; Bin Laden is dead; DADT is gone; we avoided an economic cataclysm (often by doing the wrong thing) and kept the auto industry alive; the economy is beginning to create jobs (note the 200,000 private-sector jobs reported last week and an unemployment rate that has dropped to 8.5 percent); and health care reform was enacted.
Yet the crisis of the middle class continues unabated; the wages in new manufacturing jobs are far below what is needed to support middle-class living; the mortgage crisis continues, depressing the middle class; poverty is increasing; social mobility is down; and there are enough storm clouds on the horizon—a European recession in particular—that Americans are extremely anxious.