So far, we have three Republican candidates for President (Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Jon Huntsman) who have come out with plans on how to “create jobs in America” and fix the economy. On top of that, President Obama sent his plan to Congress last night and has been touting it across the country. Obviously it is good that policy proposals are being put on the table, but they don’t seem to be doing much good.
I know it has only been a day since Obama sent his full jobs plan to Congress, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell already said of the plan that “For one, they undermine the president’s claim that it’s a bipartisan proposal — because much of what he’s proposing has already been rejected on a bipartisan basis.” In the mean time all Congress did today was pass another three month extension for the Federal Aviation Administration. It won’t do anything for the economy let alone make sure Americans are safely flying in the sky. It also turns out the additional budget cuts Obama will be asking for soon (which are part of his plan to help the economy) will actually slow growth.
This is exactly why politicians do not like to come out with plans while they are campaigning. (I know technically Obama isn’t campaigning but for all intensive purposes he is on the campaign trail.) Reason being is that in the past, talking about specific economic policy issues would bore people. It happened to Kerry in 2004. He knew everything about his plan and what he would do if elected to the White House, but not only was he side tracked by the swift boat attacks, he wasn’t able to articulate the numbers he had in his head in a short and positive way people could understand.
Even now with Herman Cain’s “nine, nine, nine” slogan to promote his plan, people don’t understand what the means. He just sounds crazy and unelectable. While Romney and Huntsman have both listed plans on their website, they never explain them unless asked. Of course the answers they give only scratch the surface. Not to mention Romney’s plan only comes in a five page summary where you don’t learn anything, or an eighty-five page book that no one has time to read. Then again, some of the pages on Huntsman’s website haven’t been updated since May and seems to be organized so only someone who speaks mandarin can read.
In the Republican’s latest debate, it was less about substance and more about who can get the catchiest line in. Not surprisingly many of those lines were repeated from the debate just last week. As much as this country is in need of a serious discussion about how to create jobs and help people, the campaign is still a popularity contest. That is why we saw Huntsman start mentioning he rides a motorcycle and using Nirvana references. Not to relate but get on television.
There are never any serious policy proposals in politics anymore. Decisions are made after the election is over, and instead of trying to come out a winner, we’re lucky if politicians let the chips fall where they are.