In today’s WSJ.com’s Political Diary (available by subscription), Stephen Moore quips “The Laffer report on the two presidents”, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama “is aptly entitled ‘The Odd Couple.’ In this case Reagan would be Felix, because he cleaned up the mess; and Mr. Obama is more like Oscar, who leaves a bigger mess behind.”
Seems Democrats believe the incumbent can repeat the feat of the most successful domestic policy president of the 20th century and win reelection despite middling polls during his third year in office. Problem is is that the Gipper’s poll numbers steadily increased in 1983 while in the corresponding year of his term, Obama’s have drifted downward.
Moore is onto something when he talks about Obama having left a bigger mess behind [than the one he "inherited"]. One reason House Republicans haven’t been able to devote more time on conservative reforms is that they have had to clean up messes the previous Congress left behind, such as its failure to pass a budget and to increase the debt ceiling high enough to accommodate the spending increases it did pass.
In addition to the messes the last Democratic House left the current Republican one, there are the messes Obama will leave to his successor, including notably two of the “big” pieces of legislation he signed, the health care overhaul and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, each increasing federal control over our economy. Not to mention all the new regulations administration appointees have foisted on the private sector, particularly those imposed by the EPA.
The next president is going to have to devote the better part of his first year in office just cleaning up the messes the incumbent is making today.