President Obama did not have a good week. Slow economic growth was evident, with only 120,000 jobs added in March, far less than the more promising average of 246,000 jobs added per month over the past three months. And 380,000 Americans filed for jobless aid in the week ending April 7, the highest number since January. Keep in mind, we're now just over six months away from the election. Whatever the economy will be in late October and early November is now set. The economy that Obama will have to answer for on Election Day is baked in, and it doesn't appear to be very tasty.
Obama also had an odd start to his campaign, with an unrelenting push for what he calls "tax fairness," but which really just means tax increases on a few that he disfavors. And, oh by the way, there will be a vote soon in the Senate on this tax fairness issue, and it's going to fail. It's going to fail even with a Democratic majority in the Senate. There is zero chance there will be more Democrats in the Senate after the 2012 elections, and so even if Obama wins a second term, his tax plans will continue to fail. So what's it about? It's a gimmick, and based on my experience, it looks like someone is not telling the boss that his approach is not working. The notion of tax increases, even if it really is just on the disfavored few I mentioned earlier, is lost on the general population, which sees raising taxes as a bad idea in a weak, low-growth economy.
Further bad news for Obama came in the form of a Fox News national poll conducted April 9-11, which shows his job approval rating dropping to 42 percent, down from 47 percent in the same poll conducted just a month ago. And in the category of bad gets worse, the Obama team finished off the week on the defensive regarding the role of stay-at-home moms. Stay-at-home moms are not good villains - they should leave them alone.
My friend Hilary Rosen, whom I genuinely respect as an effective advocate of her position, said something she wishes she could take back. Haven't we all? But nevertheless, it finished off the week with the White House stumbling. And while Republicans can enjoy and take advantage of the gift that was given to us, let's not forget that white stay-at-home moms are already part of the Republican coalition. Our problem is more among the "working worried" paycheck moms, and even as we exploit the faux pas that was given to us, we should not think that we have a problem that was solved this week.
Mitt Romney's honeymoon, which will last through the Sunday April 22 talk shows, is off to a good start.