The 2012 race has become much more well defined in the past month, and the events of yesterday and this evening will continue to do so ever further.
The theme at last night’s first Republican presidential debate amongst the eight candidates was jobs, with former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) taking up most of the air in the room. Many candidates assailed Romney’s record during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts for not producing more jobs, particularly Perry and former Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R-UT). Perry came out swinging hard, but took a few hard ones on the nose himself, as he stumbled on questions pertaining to climate change, Social Security and social questions.
And tonight, the President is set to address a joint session of Congress on his job creation legislation at 7:00 p.m. EST. In his package are contained a variety of measures to put more Americans in the workplace, a comprehensive strategy expected to cost upwards of $300 billion dollars, including tax cuts and workplace training programs. Obama’s record with such addresses is pretty strong, least thus far, and I anticipate that while he’s sure to make a strong speech, the speech itself could serve as a record against which his eventual opponent may be able to seize upon in the even that the economy continues to generate anemic levels of jobs.
So, this race is shaping up along the lines that everyone, including myself, seems to have expected: Republican candidates trying to out-conservative each other in the primaries, and the President making a late reaction to the lackluster jobs growth that we’ve experienced in the nearly three years of his tenure. For the time being, expecting to hear the refrain ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ is going to become so common that it’s going to pretty much be gospel when it comes to writing the respective campaigns’ playbooks.