The Run-Up To 2012

So, I was watching Morning Joe on Tuesday (because I was off of work and actually had the time to sip my coffee and watch some of the teevee) and the group was (still) talking about Iowa, Rick Perry and the Republican front-runners (Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann).

Nicolle Wallace, formerly a Bush 43 top White House staffer, was on the Morning Joe panel when they had former Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on to talk about the 2012 election.

After Gibbs went through his talking points, Wallace asked a very poignant question:
Are you really going to run again on going back to the past? Are you really running against the ghost of George W. Bush, for re-election?
Now, I've never been a huge fan of Wallace's. She strikes me as a bit pompous. BUT, in this instance I must agree with her. She asks a very good question -- and Robert Gibbs' answer was bad. Really bad.

If President Obama's campaign for re-election is going to re-hash all of the same old, tired talking points from 2008, then his presidency will be one term and one term only. Americans do not want another campaign of "nevermind what we're doing, remember what George W. Bush did!" I swear, if all that we hear from the Obama re-election folks is "[fill-in-GOP-candidate's name] supports the failed policies that got us into this mess", the voters in this country will drop Obama the same way that he has (allegedly) dropped his smoking habit.

While Republicans may not agree with it, President Obama needs to highlight the successes that he has had as President. It may not be popular, but he got health care* done. He stopped enforcing DOMA and oversaw the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". He continued the hunt for, and oversaw the finding and killing Osama bin Laden. These things, while not necessarily positive to everyone on the political spectrum, are Presidential successes. They are goals that Obama set, and completed, during his first term in office.

But, most importantly, the President needs to outline what his plans are for his second term. Again -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- President Obama and his surrogates need to stop harping about who or what "got us into this mess". The President and his surrogates need to tell us what they are going to do to get us out of this mess.

If they can't do that, or if it seems like there is no coherent plan, then the President's re-election campaign will be toast. Toast.

*with the help of a Democratically controlled Congress