It's going to be ugly. Why? It's what progressives do when things don't go their way, and the thing that isn't going their way is the economy, which doesn't look like it's going to go their way anytime soon. Michael Barone explains why in his column on what progressives consider their economic ideal, the midwest economic model.
The Michigan model was based on the Progressive/New Deal assumption that, after the transition from farm to factory, the best way to secure growth was through big companies and big labor unions.
The Big Three auto companies, economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, could create endless demand for their products through manipulative advertising and planned obsolescence. The United Auto Workers would ensure that productivity gains would be shared by workers and the assembly line would never be speeded up.
It worked, but only for a while. By the end of the 1970s the stylish junk rolling off of Detroit's planned obsolescence assembly lines had become boring, non-descript junk, and the door swung open for the Japanese auto makers to establish a firm foothold in the American market. We could stand the boring cars, but couldn't they at least start when you turned the key? "Made in Japan," once a label that stood for cheap, shoddy, toys became the symbol of high quality automobiles. Competition from Honda, Toyota, and Nissan began the slow disintegration of the midwest model.
Obama knows only union dominated economic models, either midwestern or European. Perhaps it's because they are really political models. In Obama's limited imagination the private sector is a mysterious black box. His challenge is to extract as much revenue as is politically practicable for the accomplishment of progressive goals, primarily the goal of keeping progressives permanently in power. With that in mind Obama seeks to return the country to a place where big companies churned out the wealth and big unions spread it around — most importantly into Democratic party campaign coffers.
Since Obama doesn't know of any alternative, he focused vast taxpayer resources on resuscitating the Midwest Model through the GM and Chrysler bailouts. But even if both companies survive and prosper, the Midwest Model is gone. There is just too much competition among the states to allow it.
So what does the president have to offer the Midwest? The idea that the wave of the future is an ever-larger public sector financed by a more or less stagnant private sector looks increasingly absurd. The Midwest's public sector has, as Margaret Thatcher put it, run on "other people's money." Meanwhile, Mr. Obama's trip to the Midwest has been preceded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry's foray into Waterloo, Iowa. Mr. Perry points out that his state, with low taxes and light regulation, has been producing nearly half of America's new jobs. The Texas model may be sweeping the Midwest, not vice versa.
Naturally, Governor Perry's record on jobs is a threat that lefty pundits can't ignore. They downplay it, noting that Texas unemployment is still pretty high at 8.2%, but ignoring the fact that the Texas population is exploding as people flood the state looking for work. Progressive politicos claim that the jobs created in Texas are low paying jobs, but the blog Political Math dismantles lefty arguments with charts and graphs and an analysis of the data underlying the Texas job numbers that comes to this conclusion.
I mentioned at the beginning that Texas is seeing high unemployment in a large part because they're growing so damn fast. The problem with this from a charts and graphs perspective is that it leaves worse states off the hook, making them look better than they actually are. Looking at unemployment alone, we would conclude that Wisconsin has a better economy than Texas. But Wisconsin is still 120K short of it's pre-recession numbers. The only reason they look better than Texas is because 32,000 people fled the state. During that time, 739,000 people fled into Texas. Anyone who takes that data and pretends that this is somehow bad news for Texas is simply not being honest.
My point is to show that most of the "excuses" you will hear about Texas' job statistics are based in nothing more than a hope that Rick Perry had nothing to do with them and not on a sound understanding of the data.
My advice to anti-Perry advocates is this: Give up talking about Texas jobs. Texas is an incredible outlier among the states when it comes to jobs. Not only are they creating them, they're creating ones with higher wages.
One can argue that Perry had very little to do with the job situation in Texas, but such a person should be probably prepare themselves for the consequences of that line of reasoning. If Rick Perry had nothing to do with creating jobs in Texas, than why does Obama have something to do with creating jobs anywhere? And why would someone advocate any sort of "job creating" policies if policies don't seem to matter in when it comes to the decade long governor of Texas?
Americans are learning that policies do matter, having seen Obama's policies in action for two and a half years. Europe is what we see. Bankruptcy, violence, and riots. The European Model doesn't measure up to the Texas Model, which leaves Obama without policies he can credibly campaign in favor of. He has only people he can campaign against, and his allies in the media dutifully join in. Prime targets are the Republican presidential front runner and the Tea Party.
On Monday's "The Ed Show," MSNBC host Ed Schultz played a video of a campaign speech by Texas Governor Rick Perry that had been deliberately doctored to change a comment about our massive national debt into a racist slur aimed at Barack Obama. Newsbusters has the video and the transcript.
SCHULTZ: You know, folks, this is the same garbage with heard from Sarah Palin and all these Tea Party attack artists in this country. I think there`s an element of racism every time people claim the first black president doesn't love this country.
Perry comes from the radical country club that loves to remind white America President Obama is other, not like you.
Perry also wants you to know that he's pro-business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: I'm a pro-business governor. I don`t make any apologies about it, and I will be a pro-business president. Getting America back to work is the most important issue that faces this country, being able to pay off $14.5 trillion or $16 trillion worth of debt. That big black cloud that hangs over America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama.
A day later Schultz admitted to the deceptive editing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R-TEXAS): I'm a pro-business governor. I don`t make any apologies about it, and I will be a pro-business president. Getting America back to work is the most important issue that faces this country, being able to pay off $14.5 trillion or $16 trillion worth of debt. That big black cloud that hangs over America, that debt that is so monstrous. There’s only one way you get rid of it that’s practical, that makes sense, and that is to free up America, free up American entrepreneurs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: No doubt about it, it was a mistake and we regret the error on this particular statement. We should not have included it in our coverage of his overheated rhetoric. That’s our mistake.
No doubt about it, Governor Perry is the candidate lefties fear most. When the charge of racism won't stick, lefties opt for the the next best thing which is to dismiss an opponent as stupid. In that vein here is lefty pundit Kevin Drum on the subject of Governor Perry:
He's too dumb. Go ahead, call me an elitist. I'm keenly aware that Americans don't vote for presidents based on their SAT scores, but everything I've read about Perry suggests that he's a genuinely dim kind of guy. Not just incurious or too sure about his gut feelings, like George Bush, but simply not bright enough to handle the demands of the Oval Office. Americans might not care if their presidents are geniuses, but there's a limit to how doltish they can be too.
And that's the tame stuff. For a flavor of how ugly things can really get, we need only look to the mindless rage the Tea Party induces in progressives. The Tea Party represents progressives' worst fears — large numbers of people who disagree with them and aren't embarrassed to say so.
Recall that their very first reaction to the Tea Party by progressives was to accuse the Tea Party of racism, which being untrue didn't stick. And so they accused the Tea Party of being violent, but that wouldn't stick either. Next they said violent Tea Party rhetoric incited violence by others.
As it happens the Tea Party does in fact induce violent rhetoric in progressives. Certainty that the Tea Party is a potent force which will have a profound impact upon the 2012 presidential campaign has progressives in a rage. Consider this bit from a recent editorial column by Deepak Chopra, who calls himself a spiritualist. He has remarkable suggestions as to how Obama ought to deal with the Tea Party.
An intolerant faction like the Tea Party cannot be tolerated. They must be stopped with harsh, combative measures. A crazy minority is running rough shod over the executive branch and shows no sign of relenting. Fighting for your principles is more honorable than compromise with immorality and injustice. Reason is a foolish, impotent guide when you are under constant attack. The bad guys should be named in public and opposed with all necessary force.
What exactly is our spiritualist author promoting? What harsh, combative measures? What necessary force? It's not surprising that a progressive would recommend using "necessary force" against the Tea Party. After all, violence comes more commonly from the left than from the right. Here is a recent example.
King Electrical Services owner John King was shot by a person who appears to be from one of the many unions who have targeted his workers, Toledo News Channel 11 WTOL reports. King is the largest non-union electrical contractor company in the area of southeastern Michigan near the Ohio border.
He has a long history of being on the receiving end of union-related violence, and this case doesn’t appear to be any different. Before shooting him, the gunman etched the word “SCAB” into the side of King’s SUV.
With Barack Obama's popularity is sinking like a stone, progressives have only one campaign strategy. Attack. Attack the character, intelligence, morals, whatever — the charges don't have to be true — of whoever runs against Barack Obama. It's going to be ugly, and there's no really telling how ugly.