1. So the sequester was the Obama team’s idea and, if the sequester actually happens, a plurality of the public is going to blame the Republicans.
2. Sequester, fiscal cliff, debt ceiling. Do any of these terms have any meaning to the average person?
3. Obama got a bunch of tax increases with the passage of Obamacare and more tax increases as a result of the fiscal cliff deal and is now asking for even more tax increases. When does he get tagged as a taxaholic? My guess is that it will happen when:
a) The Republicans are able to put the number of Obama tax increases into context. So far Obama has been able to explain every tax increase as part of a “balanced” approach. The fiscal cliff tax increase was balanced by nothing of course, but now we are back to more balancing.
b) The Republicans have an alternative approach that doesn’t come across as thinly disguised high earner interest group politics. Reihan Salam, James Pethokoukis, and Yuval Levin have written some interesting things on these matters and I hope to talk about them tomorrow.
c) Circumstances change for the worse so that it appears to the average not-especially-engaged person that Obama policies are actually failing rather than succeeding with agonizing slowness.
4. Obama isn’t that popular. His numbers might go up some if the housing market continues to improve, but I still think that Obama’s center-right opponents are an undervalued political stock. They need something to say to rising constituencies and they need new ways of saying it, but those problems should not be insoluble if conservatives avoid the twin temptations of complacency (seen in many places before the election) and despair (which we have seen since Obama’s reelection.)