How do Republicans, when in power, manage to destroy the economy and send the debt soaring, and most voters barely even notice?
Then a Democrat takes office, and suddenly people discover those problems and get outraged?
It's never been as stark as the presidential sequence of Bush-> Clinton -> Bush -> Obama. All the things they blame on Obama were set in motion under Bush (and Bush I and Reagan), and it's hard to stop a moving freight train, let alone reverse it. But it's recent history. Did so-called "conservatives" not NOTICE what was happening as recently as 2001-2008?
Apparently not. That's because they were busy being scared of terrorists, and indulging in the great Patriotic Stupor. If you said "economy," they said, "We can't think about that now! There won't be an economy at all if we're all destroyed!" That's why the Iraq invasion was ready to go even before 9/11. (It was the Cold War before that.)
There is only one way Romney could take office with an economic plan that doesn't add up -- the same way his Republican predecessors did: Scare the Bejeezus out of people, start a war, put the survival of the country itself on the line (or make it seem so), and distract. It won't take long before they'll be back to "Deficits don't matter."
The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the defense contractors get happy, multinational corporations get fatter, the debt gets bigger, people become get so freaked out they'll give up freedoms for security... and we all get a few steps closer to the REAL threats to America.
1. Having a job matters. The debate showed the difference between being a full-time campaigner and a president. What else does Romney have to do? The man has no work. He had plenty of time to memorize a smooth pack of lies, vague defenses, and feigned empathy for the plight of the 47%. President Obama has been working at his job rather than the "retail" stuff, but he's got to take the time to hone his chops as a campaigner. Now that he's an incumbent under attack, he needs to fight back the way he did in the 2008 primaries.
2. The "liberal" feedback can help. If the more liberal side of the media (MSNBC) seems critical of Obama tonight, maybe it can be constructive in reining things in before they spill out of control. The campaign should listen carefully.
3. The jury is still out. Many of us want the president to be more aggressive in the next debate. On the other hand, although Kerry and Gore won all three of their debates handily in every way (as I saw it), the Chimperor got the bounce as "more likeable." The CNN tracking showed that Rmoney's favorability went down when he quoted percentages and technicalities about benefits for the wealthy. He was smirky and smarmy. So who knows -- wait for the poll results.
4. A change can do one good. Maybe David Plouffe (or whoever is Obama's main advisor now) is as great as, well, David Boies, Jeanne Shaheen, and other disappointments. There's time for corrections.
5. History is a great teacher. It's not enough to be right, to be honest, to be smarter, to have better policies. We learned that from Al Gore's campaign in 2000; we learned it again from John Kerry's campaign in 2004. We know Obama has long been a uniter, a bipartisan, a reacher-across-the-aisle. That worked in a race without an incumbent, but now that he is the incumbent, he must take on the rhetoric -- the LIES -- point by point. He can do that while staying dignified and laid back, and without falling into the trap of being "angry" (we know what they're after there).
The lesson: Never overestimate the intelligence of the American populous. Yes, many ARE stupid enough to believe anything. There's no other choice, Mr. President. Take the gloves off.