Remember ‘It’s the economy, stupid’?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tell me if this sounds familiar. It’s an election year, and every candidate is running on the fact that unemployment is high, the economy is slow, and the sitting president doesn’t seem to have a plan to fix it. No, I’m not talking about the current political battle between President Obama and the 1,589 Republicans running for president. I am talking about 1980 and 1992.

In each of these presidential contests, the current president’s popularity was tanking faster than the unemployment numbers were rising. In each race, a similar message, but different party platforms were able to flip the presidency to the newcomer and oust the incumbent.

In 1980, a former actor and governor of California ran against President Jimmy Carter and walked into the presidency of the United States by talking to American people about a better tomorrow and “Morning in America” in an attempt to lift the hopes of the people by speaking about a better future for themselves and their children.

In 1992, a young charismatic governor from Arkansas ran on a very simple slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid!” The line, crafted by the ever affable Louisiana-born James Carville, summed up the entire election and made the then-current President Bush seem out of touch and unable to grasp the real problem affecting millions of Americans.

Next year is 2012, and President Barack Obama is losing support from all sides, every economic indicator is pointing down, and opposing candidates are running on the economy. If President Obama doesn’t want to repeat what happened in 1980 and 1992, then I suggest he start this Thursday with his speech to Congress by laying out a concise plan that does not involve threats to the other side but instead speaks to the American people about how their lives will be improved by his plan.

He cannot alienate one side and try to pressure them into doing things his way. The political strategy is to speak to the people, convince them and watch the politicians play catch up as they run to the winning side of the argument. It’s what Reagan and Clinton did.

President Obama should take a lesson out of the Reagan and Clinton playbooks. However, he better do it quickly or someone will swoop in at the last minute, speak the people’s language, and walk into the presidency. Mr. President, it’s about jobs!

The last bite…

I cooked! Shocking, I know. It doesn’t matter that the meal came out of a box and all I had to do was “add chicken.” The fact is I cut the chicken, put everything in a pot, and watched everything to make sure it didn’t burn (a very important task). It was a Macaroni Grill instant meal in a box, and it was darn good! The meal consisted of grilled chicken in an alfredo sauce with sun dried tomatoes, basil, and LOTS of parmesan cheese served over linguini pasta. To give it the “I slaved over this all day” look, I added shaved parmesan cheese on top right before serving. Courtney gave my cooking 5 (out of 5) crumbs! (at least that’s what I remember her saying)

Buddy Boe, a resident of Garyville, owns a public relations and program management company and is well known on the local political (and food) scenes. His column appears Wednesdays in L’Observateur.