You are hereTalking Points Memo: Rush Limbaugh Leads GOP In Pondering How To Deal With Improving Economy

Talking Points Memo: Rush Limbaugh Leads GOP In Pondering How To Deal With Improving Economy


-By Benjy Sarlin

February 17, 2012- GM is reporting record profits. Jobs numbers are looking up. Suddenly President Obama looks like an incumbent frontrunner again. So what do Republicans who have been planning to run on a dismal economy do now?

Well, there are a lot of suggestions but no consensus.

For Republicans looking to win over independents, one has to be careful not to sound bummed about objectively good news. But you don’t want to give the White House credit for it either, so instead the plan is to play backseat driver and brag that the GOP would have gotten there way faster. Let’s call this the Mitt Romney Approach.

On Thursday, Romney told voters that “thank heavens” the economy is getting better and Detroit is back on its feet — but quickly added that, hey, they both would be more awesome now if everyone had listened to me.

House Republicans, who were caught off guard by surprisingly strong jobs numbers earlier this month, took a similar approach as Speaker John Boehner confirmed things were improving, but added that “we must do better.”

But there’s another idea gaining traction fast on the right as well: ditch the economy entirely and instead return to the 2004 God/guns/gays plan that re-elected President Bush. Since Rove-style national security demagoguery is pretty hard to use against Barack “Bin Laden Sleeps With The Fishes” Obama, that means social issues would likely become the dominant part of the campaign. Let’s call it the Santorum Approach.

“I suspect if I’m Mitt Romney, I’m getting a little nervous because maybe that jobs picture won’t look so bad in November,” Santorum said last month after the latest jobs report. “And then, what’s his pitch to all of you? ‘I’m the guy who can put you back to work.’ The president of the United States is more than a guy in the private sector who knows how to create jobs. You’ve got to be the commander in chief. You’ve got to look at bigger issues. You’ve got to look at what the role of a leader is in this country.”

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