I'm deeply pessimistic about the economy for two reasons:
1. President Obama may be re-elected.
2. President Obama may be defeated
I've already discussed the key failure of Obama's economic policies. His administration treated the financial crisis as a political opportunity rather than a grievous problem that demanded their full attention and bold action.
It is now painfully clear that the Republican candidates have no appetite to deal with the serious problems that still weigh on the economy. They are counting on Obama's unpopularity to carry them to victory in 2012. The programs they offer are little more than warmed over talking points.
Pundits on both sides spend their time attacking and mocking their opponents. Precious few voices address the critical issues in an honest fashion; everything is reduced to the thrust and parry of partisan "debate". We can already see the outlines of the 2012 campaign. Fox News will mock Occupy Wall Street as clueless dirty hippies while most of the MSM will portray the Tea Parties as ignorant fanatics who are the tools of the Koch brothers and other dangerous plutocrats.
It seems like a bizarre game. Unfortunately, the stakes are high.
I wonder, if Lincoln gave his Cooper Union speech in a media world like out own, would he have become president? Or is it the fault of the candidates? Is there a Republican in Washington who could write a speech half as good as the one that brought Abe to the White House?
Related: Megan McArdle suggests that we take an honest look at the impulse behind OWS. This was especially on point:
When the gap between the number of job openings and the number of people who are out of work is so large, there are going to be a hefty number of unemployed people. Maybe these people individually could have done more to get themselves out of their situation, but at the macro level, that would just have meant that someone else was out of work and suffering.
HT: To Rod Dreher who has an interesting discussion going in his comment thread.