Why Republicans Need Not Worry About a Strong Economy in 2012

President George W. Bush and President-elect B...

Bush and Obama. Change wasn't as bad as the right feared.

Looking at my clock it is just a few minutes past 9:00 in the morning and already two small business owners have told me they need to rethink a contract with me.  Why? 

One business owner tells me he’s not sure what next year will be like.  Ok, fine, that’s fair.  I’m not sure I know what next year will be like either.  He says things are better, but it might be “just a blip.”  There’s too much uncertainty, he says.

The other business owner said he has to assess how much it costs for him to operate his trucks.  “Have you seen the price of gas?  I need to cut costs somewhere.”  He told me with all the trouble in the Middle East and Obama in charge, there’s too much uncertainty.

Uncertainty?  I hardly think so.  There is a very carefully controlled message that is far from uncertain.  The buzzword for this election cycle is — at this point anyway — uncertainty.  Anyone who needs a reason to be skeptical about the future has his reason, again courtesy of the naysaying can’t-do political right:  The GOP. 

I work with business owners every day.  Two years ago the word “uncertainty” didn’t pass the lips of one of them.  So why is everyone talking in the trumped up lingo of Wall Street investors today?  Because this idea of uncertainty is one the key talking points on the right.  It also shows the skillful manipulation of public discourse that the right is so much more capable of compared with Democrats and the left.

When was business success ever a certainty?  The myth of the self-made man in America is all about tackling unknowns and succeeding, about taking calculated risks and overcoming the odds.  Am I right?  If there is a profitable margin, someone will move to take advantage of it.  That’s what innovation and competition are all about.  That’s enterprising American capitalism at work.

As the economy recovers, conservatives are in a tough spot.  How do they win the blame game if there is less to whine about?  Of course current legislation proposed by conservatives is at best misguided and insincere, but even passing those backward efforts might not succeed in derailing the economy to favor petulant Republicans and their destructive agenda.  So the idea of uncertainty is a way to hedge against success.  If the economy recovers, we can be certain that it will not be enough.

Conservatives have their lock-step followers who will march right off the edge of a cliff for the sake of toeing the party line.  They don’t actually need to destroy the economy further to gain more power in 2012.  They just need to continue with the Big Lie strategy that has served them so well in recent decades.  And that is the very, very unsettling thing about politics and our future in the United States.

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