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The future’s so bright, Obama’s gotta wear shades

"I see an empty suit . . ."


Would I joke about something like this?

A Forecast That Obama Could Love

THINGS are looking up for Barack Obama.

You might not think so, given the flow of news lately. His foreign policy has met with limited success, at best. And, back home, unemployment is mired at 9.6 percent. Earlier this month, in a major political blow, Democrats lost more than 60 seats and control of the House of Representatives.

So what is there for Mr. Obama and his supporters to cheer about?

Try this: Based on the facts at hand right now, Mr. Obama is likely to win the 2012 election in a landslide. That, at least, is the prediction of Ray C. Fair, a Yale economist and an expert on econometrics and on the relationship of economics and politics.

What’s the basis of this forecast? In a nutshell: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

To make a long story short, Mr. Fair thinks:

A) The economy will be booming again by 2012 and

B) Obama will be Mr. Popular again.

I’ll agree that if A is true then B is probably true too, but I don’t agree that A is true.

Maybe it’s true and maybe it isn’t. But there is a reason they call economics “the dismal science.”

Not all Democrats agree with Fair’s rosy assessment of the economy. If they did they wouldn’t be trying to preemptively blame the Republicans for it:

Matt Yglesias had an item the other day that went largely unnoticed, but which I found pretty important.

…I know that tangible improvements in the economy are key to Obama’s re-election chances. And Douglas Hibbs knows that it’s key. And senior administration officials know that its key. So is it so unreasonable to think that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner may also know that it’s key? That rank and file Republicans know that it’s key? McConnell has clarified that his key goal in the Senate is to cause Barack Obama to lose in 2012 which if McConnell understands the situation correctly means doing everything in his power to reduce economic growth. Boehner has distanced himself from this theory, but many members of his caucus may agree with McConnell.

Which is just to say that specifically the White House needs to be prepared not just for rough political tactics from the opposition (what else is new?) but for a true worst case scenario of deliberate economic sabotage.

Budget expert Stan Collender has predicted that Republicans perceive “economic hardship as the path to election glory.” Paul Krugman noted in his column yesterday that Republicans “want the economy to stay weak as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House.”