Saturday, January 06, 2007

Is the 'Bush Economy' a Liability in 08?

Novak has his usual interesting set of stories for a Saturday. Check him out for Colin Powell's skepticism about 'a surge,' and how the 'Giuliani playbook' issue affects McCain in Florida.

Also, Novak notes that Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with Bush administration economists and alumni to prepare a tax plan for his Presidential campaign:


During his family vacation in Park City, Utah, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with former Bush administration officials who comprise his economic policy team to discuss a tax reform for Romney's presidential campaign.

The meeting included Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) who is co-chairman of Romney's economic policy council. Also on hand were former Bush economic policy officials Brian Reardon and Cesar Conda. Gregory Mankiw, another former CEA chairman, is Romney's economic co-chairman but could not attend the Utah meeting because of a knee injury.

Romney, seeking to contrast himself with Republican presidential front-runner John McCain on taxes, has surrounded himself with architects of Bush's tax plan. Vice President Dick Cheney had to cast a tie-breaking vote on the 2003 tax cuts because Sen. McCain had voted against them.

This brings to mind an interesting question.

If Romney is perceived as the heir to Bush on economic policy, is that a good thing or a bad thing in the primaries (and the general election)? Certainly, Republican primary voters ought to be predisposed to support policies that they are likely to believe are responsible for low unemployment, relatively strong and steady economic growth, and a reduced federal tax burden. One would think that if Romney can claim to be the best person to continue this legacy, it would be helpful among primary voters.

Beyond primary voters however, it's a very different story. Polls have consistently shown that voters disapprove of the job Bush has done on the economy, even as they give a strong assessment of their personal outlook. (See this recent ARG poll, for example).

Will primary voters shy away from a candidate who might inherit this liability? Analysts tell us that primary voters sometimes look for the candidate they like best - regardless of electability - and sometimes opt for the candidate they think can win. For Republicans, 2008 is thought to fall into this latter category. If the Democrats are seen to be nominating someone who can win - whoever that might be, because I have no idea whether Clinton, Obama, or Edwards is truly a likely winner or loser - then will GOP primary voters vote strategically against Romney?

It'll be interesting to see.

I'll also be looking to Greg Mankiw's blog to see what he has to say.

Back to the top.

1 comment:

jason said...

Romney has immense fiscal talent and is by far the most intelligent candidate on either side of the ticket. He turned around a 3 billion dollar deficit into a 1 billion dollar surplus without a single tax hike.

Truly a man who can get the job done and the man for 2008.