Blogs » Politcs Plus » The politics of uncertainty



I've been fascinated with this election year because of all the uncertainty. Just as I started getting comfortable in my easy chair listening to the pundit's plot the Obama v Romney strategy, along comes Rick Santorum. It's now a temporary two-man race. The race has changed somewhat but so has the issue. It’s off the economy and has switched to the social issues. On the other side, did the president intentionally outfox his opponents?

Let me explain that last sentence first. This week a high level unnamed source (of course) said that the president's team knew that the church would balk when the Human Health Services made their decision not to exempt schools, charities and hospitals from the contraceptive provision. They sent their top operatives, Joe Biden, Leon Panetta, David Axelrod and some liberal journalist insisting that the WH change their initial policy. They got their wish, so they decided to compromise and make the issue about contraceptives. This is a political issue that they know they can win. The Republicans took the bait, and here we are, if you believe a high ranking anonymous White House official.

Have you noticed and that after every primary or caucus loss, Ron Paul is grinning from year to year and looks like the cat that ate the canary? Friday night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow explained why and had her opinion confirmed by a senior consultant to the Ron Paul campaign, Doug Wead. Ron Paul thinks that he will at the very least acquire a lot of delegates because even though some states have voted for a political candidate, the official delegates’ vote has not yet been cast. Ron Paul has a great following (even if it's not a large one) who will not vote for anyone else. Several of the state delegates will vote for Ron Paul despite the election night caucus winner it’s perfectly legal and shrewd. The unenthusiastic Republican voters cast their votes and went home. The Ron Paulites stayed back and conducted the business of electing a nominee.

This is a different week, with Newt Gingrich seeing his chances becoming dimmer, Rick Santorum saying that Romney paid for his CPAC straw vote victory, as if it mattered and the Ron Paul camp is uttering some suspicion because overnight Mitt Romney went into Maine and stole the apparent victory away from him.

The president will announce his budget today (as if it mattered) and the Republicans have already rejected it, and they wonder why the Senate hasn't presented a budget in over 1000 days. Republicans are different creatures. They will pass their budget repeatedly, not caring that the opposition party will oppose it on ideological grounds and squawk, if their opponents don’t want to play the same game. Will both sides use their trump cards? The GOP has the numbers to stop a debt ceiling bill, and the president can let the Bush tax cuts die of natural death at the end of this year, even if he loses the election. The GOP, if elected in large numbers could pass a bill retroactive to 2012 ,when they take office but I don't know about that. About a month ago, Obama's budget director Jacob Lew was asked why the Obama administration doesn't support the Simpson -Bowles's proposal they initiated. He said that they still supported it but if they presented it in this environment, it would be politically demonized by their opponents, and it wouldn't have a chance, even though it has bipartisan support. It wouldn't surprise me if the president proposed it in late October as an October surprise.

In the meantime because the republicans are attacking each other, the president's approval numbers are rising as his opponents negatives are being exposed. The economy is beginning to improve, leaving Mitt Romney to say "Yes,the economy is improving but I can do better." That's not a winning strategy and if it's about social issues;Santorum's 19th century views will not appeal to the majority.