Monday, June 21, 2010

Beginning the Fall Campaign

On the talk shows yesterday Rahm Emmanuel opened a line of attack for the fall campaign.  He said “There is a choice that Joe Barton has offered the American people, a philosophy for the Republican Party, which is that BP is the aggrieved party,” Emanuel said. “In the coming weeks, you'll see the president speak to the country about these competing different philosophies. That is, do you have only the energy executives in the room, or do you have energy executives, environmentalists, and other people from the venture capital community to come to a consensus on energy policy? Do you think that BP is the aggrieved party here? Do you think that Wall Street should be left alone and not have any reforms? Elections are about choices. Those are what is fundamental. There is a difference in our philosophies. And not only in our philosophies, (but) how we make sure that America strengthens its economy.” (As quoted in Politico)

But this may be too smart by a half.   So far the Administration's response on the BP spill has looked Katrina-esque.  One could make the case that the involvement of the AG and the President in pressuring BP to cough up $20 billion was short sighted.  If claims are settled quickly and there is enough money then the strategy may turn out to be a good one.  But if they are not it will look like what Barton called it to be a "shakedown" which did not help solve the problem.  If the oil is still flowing - that is the image people will see on TV.  And if the civil and criminal actions are hampered by the "safe harbor" created by the fund demanded by the Administration, then the Administration looks like bumblers.  

The counter attack is pretty simple.  This administration wants to be too deeply involved in the private sector - why don't they focus on the jobs that government is assigned to do.   The level of anger in the region and across the country may not fall for a populist line - when most people understand that the president is far from being a populist.  The GOP would be wise to recover all of the president's statements about guns and religion.  One of the errors of many people in Washington is that they talk to each other a bit too much.  

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