I think things are beginning to turn towards the Democrats. Even though Newt Gingrich is dismissive of the Occupy Movement, it has already changed the political conversation for 2012.
But politically, Democrats believe that they have already won this latest skirmish in the message wars. And some exasperated Republicans acknowledge that they are losing the exchange; party leaders have worked this week to bring the rank and file in line behind the tax cut.
Democrats have concluded from the payroll tax debate that Republicans are vulnerable over their opposition to any new taxes on the wealthy in a way they were not when Democrats proposed such taxes for deficit reduction. So they have reprised an old message — that Democrats fight for the middle class, Republicans for the rich — and are likely to sound it through 2012, in hopes of blunting the headwinds they face as unemployment remains high.
“Tonight, Senate Republicans chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hard-working Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the first Senate vote.
You add to this the possibility that the first big wave of Baby Boomer retirements and an improving employment picture might drop the unemployment rate below the 8% level by next summer. We have talked here about the fact that America is no longer a hard goods export economy. This may ironically be an advantage in the next couple of years as Europe struggles and China sees it’s largest export market pull back its purchases. Even more reason for us to concentrate on the American Redoubt.
Which leaves us with the question of Obama’s opponent. Clearly Cain is in free-fall and should be out of the race by Monday. He was a construct of the Koch Brothers and Fox News—a proxy to debunk the notion that the Tea party was a bunch of racist know-nothings. Anthea Butler gave him the “Lawn Jockey of the Year Award”, but now that Cain has served his purpose, Rupert and the Koch’s will drop him like a hot potato.
That seems to leave us with Gingrich and Romney. Some of my die hard Republican friends hold out the hope that these two will fight to a draw over the coming months, with neither of them having enough delegates to lock up the convention on the first ballot. This fantasy then leads to an old fashioned brokered convention where Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels emerges from a brokered convention. Shades of Mark Hanna and the Gilded Age of the Republican Oligarchs. How fitting for these times. Personally I think this is pure fantasy. As the recent Ron Paul Ad shows, Gingrich is such a hypocrite, he could not survive a Presidential Race. However, Conservatives are so wary of Romney that they may overlook Gingrich’s truckload of baggage. What Josh Marshall calls “the Murdoch Primary” is clearly being won by Gingrich, now that they have thrown Cain under the bus. There is a good case to be made that Gingrich could win both Iowa and South Carolina, thereby blunting Romney’s inevitability pitch.
All this must bring a smile to the President.