Election Watch 2012: National Debt and Healthcare

By many measures President Obama is doing a pretty good job as leader of the free world. While he has had some hiccups, while some people will just never believe that he was born in the U.S., while some people just hate teleprompters or minorities or Democrats or Hawaiians or law professors, he has objectively had more successes than failures.

His handling of the economy, while admittedly criticized at times on this page, has nonetheless been aggressive and incisive. He has served as a competent Commander in Chief, both during mop-up duty for problems of the past and in new issues. The fact that his lack of foreign affairs experience pre-election is hardly ever mentioned anymore, even by his fiercest critics, is instructive. Some evidence, including the recently passed JOBS Act, suggests that he truly is interested in bringing parties together to make things happen. All of this, along with the blunderings of potential opponents during the Republican primaries, has seen his approval ratings on the rise.

However, come fall, Mr. Romney (presumably) has two dogs that will hunt; national debt and the health care legislation. The former is destined to be a huge issue for Obama as the national debt currently exceeds America's national GDP. This is due to the debt rising more since Obama's inauguration than it did during the entire Bush administration. That many of the bills coming due now were racked up under Bush will be lost on many people, particularly as Obama has done his best to add to the hole.

On the latter issue, Mr. Romney will have questions to answer himself as his plan is Massachusetts was the model for the national plan. However, as many questions as Romney faces, Obama will have many more to answer about a bill whose hallmark has been 'confusion.' Of course health care has made its way to the Supreme Court. However, even if the GOP appointees can cobble together enough votes to overturn parts of the bill, this is an issue that seems destined for a split vote, coalitions, pluralities and everything else that makes Con Law professors squeal with delight. In short, more confusion.

Even as Mr. Romney inches closer to an outright primary victory things are only just heating up in Election 2012. Mr. Obama can do all he wants to shift opinion between now and then. A rising Dow and declining unemployment numbers would help. However, there are two issues he is going to have to overcome at some point, and they make reelection far from certain.

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