This Can’t Possibly Work

This, I submit, is an iron law of American politics: a president cannot run for re-election against his predecessor. It is remarkable that, in defiance of this principle, Barack Obama, midway through the third year of his four-year term, still wants to talk about all of the problems that (like every other president) he inherited when he took office. Today at a campaign rally he said:

[W]e have made some incredible strides together. Yes, we have. But the thing that we all ought to remember is that as much as good as we have done, precisely because the challenges were so daunting, precisely because we we were inheriting so many challenges, that we’re not even halfway there yet.

Not even halfway to where? An 11% unemployment rate? $6 a gallon gasoline? $2.8 trillion deficits? Zero economic growth? A political environment so poisonous that those who want the federal government to waste less money are something twice as bad as “terrorists?” What a way to send voters scurrying for the exits!

If the Democrats seriously think they can re-elect Obama by running against George Bush and reminding voters how tough things were in 2008–which, at the moment, seems almost like a golden age–they are delusional.

Responses