Remember There Are Two Candidates
Governor Romney has made clear that he wants the general election to be about President Obama’s record. While that record is much stronger than portrayed by Romney, it is clear that Romney does not want focus on him or on the previous Republican administration. Karl Rove has made clear that any attempt by the president to call attention to Republican failures will be attacked:
As he did Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University, Mr. Obama will attack “these same trickle-down theories” about taxes that almost led to “a second Great Depression.”. . . To divert attention from his administration’s many failures, Mr. Obama will also offer poll-tested nuggets that pit the many against the few. Take Tuesday’s demands for the so-called “Buffett Rule,” a new 30% tax on anyone making $1 million a year.
But as Ed Kilgore points out, President Obama not only should point out the problems with a Romney presidency for strategic reasons, he practically has an obligation to do so.
But the incumbent’s record is not the only factor, and it’s increasingly ridiculous to hear Republicans complain that Obama needs to just take his medicine and not try to confuse voters with information about the opposition. If they wanted a pure “referendum” election, they should have themselves performed a bit better during their last period in power, and should not have spent most of the Obama administration indulging themselves in an ideological bender that makes references to J.P. Morgan and Barry Goldwater all too credible.