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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

What's the GOP message if the economy booms?

By David Frum, CNN Contributor
updated 6:46 AM EST, Mon November 26, 2012
A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange, which has seen rising prices due to optimism about the prospects of a
A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange, which has seen rising prices due to optimism about the prospects of a "fiscal cliff" deal.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • David Frum says signs pointing to the economy gaining steam in next two years
  • He says household debt is down, consumer confidence is up, jobs are returning
  • Republican message in 2010, 2012 was that Obama's plan wasn't working, he says
  • Frum: GOP needs a new message if the Obama economy produces real gains

Editor's note: David Frum, a CNN contributor, is a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He is the author of eight books, including a new novel "Patriots" and his post-election e-book, "Why Romney Lost." Frum was a special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002.

(CNN) -- Here's the next thing the Republican party needs to rethink. What does it say if and when the United States returns to prosperity?

For five years, U.S. politics have been shaped by economic hardship. In 2008 and 2010, voters rejected the party in power, booting Republicans out of the White House, and then sweeping Democrats out of Congress.

Mitt Romney campaigned in 2012 on the slogan, "Obama isn't working." President Obama responded by attacking Romney as out of touch, assuming (probably correctly) that he could not win by running on his record.

David Frum
David Frum

But the indicators are suggesting that by 2013 and 2014, the Obama record will begin to look a lot better, assuming, that is, that the two parties in Washington don't recklessly push the country off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

The nation's economy added 171,000 jobs in October 2012, for a total of almost 700,000 in the four months before Election Day. More than half the jobs lost in the crash of 2008-2009 have now been recovered, even as public-sector employment has shrunk by a net 500,000.

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The economy is recovering because consumers are less burdened by debt. They are paying down their credit cards, building home equity and strengthening their personal balance sheets.

As household debt burdens become lighter, consumers express more confidence. They are allowing themselves to spend a little more. They are even buying new homes again. Housing starts in October 2012 rose to a level 41.9% over a year before.

Brighter days ahead for U.S. economy?
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Accelerating economic activity is rapidly reducing the budget deficit. The deficit has contracted since 2009 at the fastest rate since the end of World War II, faster even than during the late 1990s boom.

Wages remain flat, and will likely stay flat until unemployment contracts more, but Americans can begin to see better times ahead for the first time in a long time.

As they do glimpse that better future, two things will happen in politics:

1) President Obama will begin to claim more credit. In 2012, the word "stimulus" went unmentioned by Democrats. It was Republicans who tried to make political use of the $800 billion spent on job creation in 2009-2011. In 2013-2014, however, the shoe may suddenly rematerialize on the other foot.

2) Republicans will discover that their old "Obama isn't working" theme has become obsolete. By 2014, again assuming that Congress does not leap off the fiscal cliff, it will likely look as if Obama is working. What then? If negative messaging failed in 2012, it will fail bigger in 2014.

For too long, the Republicans have predicted apocalypse, debt crisis, the loss of freedom, the overthrow of the constitution. As the economy improves, that doom-saying will seem even more out of touch than ever.

Republican political chances will depend on the Republican ability to devise a positive program to address the country's fiscal problems in ways that improve people's lives. It's a new day, guys, and it demands a new game.

by on Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Replies (11-20):
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:43 AM
2 moms liked this
My hope is that the American people will recognize that our elected officials have to work together and compromise for our country to move forward. The problem is that many in the GOP are actively working to destroy this countries economic strength and long to take our country back 60 or so years. Hopefully enough us us will be able to move forward, I fear the GOP will drag us down out of spite.
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:56 AM
1 mom liked this

Just as I do not believe that Obama's goal is to destroy our capitalist nation, I do not want to believe that Congressional GOP members are placing [or would place] partisan politics over the economic health of our nation. I do not want to accept that level of irresponsible, immature behavior from any elected official- if that is the case, our country is certainly doomed via perverse politicians.

Quoting mikiemom:

My hope is that the American people will recognize that our elected officials have to work together and compromise for our country to move forward. The problem is that many in the GOP are actively working to destroy this countries economic strength and long to take our country back 60 or so years. Hopefully enough us us will be able to move forward, I fear the GOP will drag us down out of spite.


mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:58 AM
1 mom liked this

I seriously hope you are correct. CM is full of women who think this is what should happen. It's just sad.

Quoting Sisteract:

Just as I do not believe that Obama's goal is to destroy our capitalist nation, I do not want to believe that Congressional GOP members are placing [or would place] partisan politics over the economic health of our nation. I do not want to accept that level of irresponsible, immature behavior from any elected official- if that is the case, our country is certainly doomed via perverse politicians.

Quoting mikiemom:

My hope is that the American people will recognize that our elected officials have to work together and compromise for our country to move forward. The problem is that many in the GOP are actively working to destroy this countries economic strength and long to take our country back 60 or so years. Hopefully enough us us will be able to move forward, I fear the GOP will drag us down out of spite.



NWP
by guerrilla girl on Nov. 26, 2012 at 11:03 AM
1 mom liked this

This article was not written by a liberal. It was written by a republican.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

I guess libs think if they start now with talking points implying the economy is booming the people will think it's true? 

Well at least we won't have to listen to another 4 years of Obama blaming Bush...



New World Peace

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Nov. 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM

People who think their "side" is always right, has all the answers and should be elected at all costs are part of the problem. Thankfully, they are in the small minority of voters/citizens.

Quoting mikiemom:

I seriously hope you are correct. CM is full of women who think this is what should happen. It's just sad.

Quoting Sisteract:

Just as I do not believe that Obama's goal is to destroy our capitalist nation, I do not want to believe that Congressional GOP members are placing [or would place] partisan politics over the economic health of our nation. I do not want to accept that level of irresponsible, immature behavior from any elected official- if that is the case, our country is certainly doomed via perverse politicians.

Quoting mikiemom:

My hope is that the American people will recognize that our elected officials have to work together and compromise for our country to move forward. The problem is that many in the GOP are actively working to destroy this countries economic strength and long to take our country back 60 or so years. Hopefully enough us us will be able to move forward, I fear the GOP will drag us down out of spite.




NWP
by guerrilla girl on Nov. 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM
1 mom liked this

When I have discussed Frum before, I have been told he is a RINO who works for the liberal media....Just look for what Kitty will say once she responds to the fact that I pointed out a Republican wrote this article.

Quoting shannonnigans:

What floors me is that this is written by a Republican.  He gets it.  But none of them here seem to, at least not the ones that I've run across. 


New World Peace

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Nov. 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM

As someone who actually identifies with a "side" I agree with you wholeheartedly. There are certainly enough flaws to go around.

Quoting Sisteract:

People who think their "side" is always right, has all the answers and should be elected at all costs are part of the problem. Thankfully, they are in the small minority of voters/citizens.

Quoting mikiemom:

I seriously hope you are correct. CM is full of women who think this is what should happen. It's just sad.

Quoting Sisteract:

Just as I do not believe that Obama's goal is to destroy our capitalist nation, I do not want to believe that Congressional GOP members are placing [or would place] partisan politics over the economic health of our nation. I do not want to accept that level of irresponsible, immature behavior from any elected official- if that is the case, our country is certainly doomed via perverse politicians.

Quoting mikiemom:

My hope is that the American people will recognize that our elected officials have to work together and compromise for our country to move forward. The problem is that many in the GOP are actively working to destroy this countries economic strength and long to take our country back 60 or so years. Hopefully enough us us will be able to move forward, I fear the GOP will drag us down out of spite.





New World Peace

gotnothinonme
by Silver Member on Nov. 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM


Quoting 12hellokitty:

I guess libs think if they start now with talking points implying the economy is booming the people will think it's true? 

Well at least we won't have to listen to another 4 years of Obama blaming Bush...


If spending is up, homes are being bought and people are working and paying down their debt, that isn't "talking points" it's that elusive hard to accept thing called "facts" I know for some "facts" are akin to "unicorns" but for many, deciphering the big bad scary world becomes a bit less scary if one chooses to apply them. While there is always interpertation to be taken into account, it's relatively simple to find statistical economic information that supports or denies these "talking points"- they don't necessarily need to be debated, if we could decide on a firm place to stand in agreement then we could have legitimate and productive discussion about the why's how's and where will it go from here's-

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Nov. 26, 2012 at 12:07 PM


Quoting gotnothinonme:


Quoting 12hellokitty:

I guess libs think if they start now with talking points implying the economy is booming the people will think it's true? 

Well at least we won't have to listen to another 4 years of Obama blaming Bush...

 

If spending is up, homes are being bought and people are working and paying down their debt, that isn't "talking points" it's that elusive hard to accept thing called "facts" I know for some "facts" are akin to "unicorns" but for many, deciphering the big bad scary world becomes a bit less scary if one chooses to apply them. While there is always interpertation to be taken into account, it's relatively simple to find statistical economic information that supports or denies these "talking points"- they don't necessarily need to be debated, if we could decide on a firm place to stand in agreement then we could have legitimate and productive discussion about the why's how's and where will it go from here's-

I guess you missed the QUESTION mark at the end of Frums hypothetical....

 


 

shannonnigans
by Platinum Member on Nov. 26, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I know. Which is so dumb on its face but oh well, he just writes books on the subject, how does that even compare to kitty's CV?

Look, the more they stay like her, the more irrelevant they will become.


Quoting NWP:

When I have discussed Frum before, I have been told he is a RINO who works for the liberal media....Just look for what Kitty will say once she responds to the fact that I pointed out a Republican wrote this article.

Quoting shannonnigans:

What floors me is that this is written by a Republican.  He gets it.  But none of them here seem to, at least not the ones that I've run across. 



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