Fred Barnes speculates in the WSJ that Mr. Obama's best hope for political survival in 2012 is that the GOP wins back Congress in November. I can't think of a better way to keep Republican voters home in November than to tell them that voting for Republicans is Mr. Obama's best hope for reelection, but Barnes makes a convincing argument:
Let's assume Mr. Obama recognizes that the fiscal and economic peril facing the country because of trillion dollar deficits is a problem for him as well. At the moment, the 10-year deficit tab is pegged to be as low as $6 billion (Congressional Budget Office) or as high as $13 trillion (Heritage Foundation). Either way, the public is alarmed.
Mr. Obama's re-election to a second term is heavily dependent on his ability to deal effectively with the fiscal mess. He could try to push a big tax hike, like a value-added tax, through a lame duck Congress after the November election. But that's very much a long shot. Besides, higher taxes-on top of those from expiration of the Bush tax cuts-could infuriate voters all the more.
For Mr. Obama, serious spending cuts are the only sensible means of dealing with a potential debt crisis or at least an unsustainable fiscal situation. However, he may not be able to rely on reductions in military spending, as liberal Democrats usually prefer. Mr. Obama has already included deep defense cuts in his budget, and Republicans are unlikely to go along with even deeper cuts.
Mrs. Pelosi won't be any help. She's committed to enacting the Democratic Party's entire liberal agenda, and next to the president she is the most powerful person in Washington. When the president flirted with scaling back his health-care bill last January, Ms. Pelosi stiffened his spine, and the bill passed. As long as she is House speaker, bucking her would be painful, especially if Mr. Obama proposes to eliminate a chunk of the spending she was instrumental in passing in 2009 and 2010.
But if Republicans win the House, everything changes. Mrs. Pelosi's influence as minority leader would be minimal-that is, assuming she's not ousted by Democrats upset over losing the majority.
A GOP victory in November would be good for the country, good for the world, and, paradoxically, good for the President. God must have a sense of humor.
By the way, guess who has been the most fiscally conservative president, after Reagan, since Kennedy. Read the rest of Barnes' article for the answer.RLC