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The Silent Second-Term Agenda

Friday, August 24, 2012

obamali

President Obama has a reputation for talking, but not necessarily for saying much. He has achieved new levels of vagueness this election season. Beyond repeating that he’s in favor of making the “rich” pay for more government “investment,” he hasn’t offered a single new idea for a second term. This is deliberate.

The core of the Obama strategy is to make Americans worry that whatever Mitt Romney does, it will be worse. That’s a harder case for Mr. Obama to make if he is himself proposing change. And so the Obama pitch is that this election is a choice between stability (giving Mr. Obama four more years to let his policies finally work) and upheaval (giving Mr. Romney four years to re-ruin the nation).

The pitch is profoundly dishonest. While the choice between four more years of Obama status quo and Mr. Romney is certainly vivid, it isn’t accurate. The real contrast is between Mr. Romney’s and Mr. Obama’s future plans. And while the president hasn’t revealed what those plans are, there is plenty of evidence for what a second term would look like.

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