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Obama on Campaign Trail but Off the Mark

Wednesday, 13 Oct 2010 06:52 AM

By Larry Kudlow

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Believe it or not, with jobs falling for four consecutive months and unemployment stubbornly high near 10 percent, President Barack Obama is out on the campaign trail bashing businesses and promoting class warfare. Huh? Oh, my gosh, is he off message.

He’s slamming the Chamber of Commerce for allegedly using foreign money in campaign ads, even though there’s not one shred of evidence of this. Huh (again)? Is the Chamber really a big election-year issue? Is it causing high unemployment?

Of course, Obama never mentions the unions, including the SEIU and AFL-CIO, and all their foreign money from their big international affiliates. Instead, he extends his own cast of villains, attacking special interests, Wall Street banks, corporations, the oil industry, the insurance industry, credit-card companies, AIG, and ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil? What did they do? Oh, they’re an oil company.

Phew. Kind of anti-business, wouldn’t you say?

Obama then blasts millionaires and billionaires, waging war on capital and investors, too. Next he talks about getting young people, African Americans, and union members to the polls. Even more division. Even more class warfare.

All this, of course, from the “post-partisan” president who was going to bring us all together for change.

But what’s truly incredible about Obama’s pre-election performance is how it totally misses the mark on the issues that really matter, like high unemployment, low growth, big-government spending, Obamacare, and tax hikes. That’s the stuff people are really talking about.

It’s as though Obama is from another planet, completely disconnected from the political reality as we march toward November 2.

A series of investor-related polls shows how totally detached the president is from the nearly 100 million folks who directly or indirectly own stocks.

A survey conducted by Citigroup Global Markets of 100 mutual-fund, hedge-fund, and pension-fund managers finds that institutional investors fear a government policy mistake far more than inflation, terrorism, a housing double-dip, poor earnings, or any other potential risk to the economy. (Hat tip to CNBC producer John Melloy.) One-third of the survey’s participants list government policy missteps as their biggest worry, ahead of the more than 15 percent who cite protectionism.

But these investors believe the chances of a big policy error will decrease if Republicans take back the House of Representatives in November.

In another poll conducted by Reuters, 75 percent of respondents believe the employment situation is the most important issue for Wall Street, followed by 41 percent who point to consumer confidence.

Fleshing out the survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents say extending the Bush era tax cuts should be a high priority; just over a third say the budget deficit is the main concern; more than two-fifths say interest rates will start to rise and the dollar will weaken more if the deficit is not addressed; more than a quarter want Obamacare repealed; and only one-fifth say additional action by the Fed is crucial.

Then there’s a new poll from Investor’s Business Daily. It shows 56 percent of respondents saying they want tax cuts extended even for households with more than $250,000 in income. Only 39 percent in the poll want the rich to pay more, while support for making tax cuts for the rich permanent hit 63 percent for both Republicans and independents. By solid majorities, that includes taxes on capital gains, dividends, and estates, all to be frozen at current rates.

These polls reveal how utterly alien Obama is to the investor class. And it’s worth noting that investors are among the most likely voters to turn out for elections.

But the absolute key point here is that while Obama is bashing businesses, rich people, and all the rest, and while he continues to wage class warfare, he is talking about issues that are not on anyone’s mind. It’s the economy, stupid, and the low-spending, low-taxing, and minimal-regulating policies that would set the stage for a stronger economy, lower unemployment, and more confidence.

It’s as though the president is stuck in a 1930s time warp. His policies have failed to rejuvenate economic growth. But he will not address this. That’s his political failing. And that’s why he is going to suffer a huge shellacking on November 2.

To find out more about Lawrence Kudlow and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

© Creators Syndicate Inc.

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