Hope and Change Part II: Electric Boogaloo

The time for governing is over It’s Obama’s campaign time now.

. On April 13 Obama delivered a ballyhooed speech at George Washington University. The man who conservatives as well as liberal pundits told us was a combination of Edmund Burke and Reinhold Niebuhr was widely expected to present a serious plan to address the budget deficits and entitlement spending.

Instead the man who can call on talented career professionals at the Office of Management and Budget to produce detailed blueprints gave us something in the nature of a few numbers scrawled on a paper napkin.
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Now he was signaling that the time for governing was over and that he was entering campaign mode 19 months before the November 2012 election. People took notice, especially those people who decide whether to hire or not. Goldman Sachs’s Current Activity Indicator stood at 4.2 percent in March. In April — in the middle of which came Obama’s GW speech — it was 1.6 percent. For May it is 1 percent.

Obama’s in full campaign mode with 18 fundraisers in April, despite claims that the President won’t be fully engaged until next year. Yikes. I worry what THAT is going to look like.

While Mr. Obama will not fully engage in campaign activity until next year, aides said, he is embarking on weekly economic-focused trips throughout the summer. Doing so will allow him to use his bully pulpit to show that he is focused on addressing joblessness, the issue that more than any other could shape his electoral prospects and that Republicans are using to assert that his policies have failed.

He will also continue to be the main draw in a fund-raising campaign that has a goal of taking in at least $750 million by Election Day, which would match his 2008 figure even though he does not face the long primary battle that he did four years ago

What will be the Obama theme for reelection?

So uncertain are the economic indicators that Mr. Obama’s aides say they have not fully settled on an overarching campaign theme for next year.

For now, the president faces a delicate task in arguing that things have improved under his watch when they remain so grim for so many — and that the programs he has put in place are working but need time to show their benefits. With their hopes dashed of substantial improvement in unemployment anytime soon, aides indicated that the theme was likely to be less “morning in America” and more “don’t change horses in midstream.”

Mr. Axelrod said: “We’re not going to be putting up a ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign. Part of the message is going to be we have to see these things through.”

Humn … “WE HAVE TO SEE THESE THINGS THROUGH.” They may want to tinker with that a bit.

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