WH strategy for midterms: BushBushBushBushBush

Well, it worked twice before, didn’t it?  Why not just pull the Halliburton meme out of mothballs and use that, too?  Actually, that one won’t work nearly as well for Barack Obama this time, and since the Obama administration has run out of defenses for its poor performance, they’ll rely on a rerun of their main 2008 campaign bogeyman script:

President Barack Obama is trying to ride the wave of anti-incumbency by taking on an unpopular politician steeped in the partisan ways of Washington.

It doesn’t matter that George W. Bush left office 16 months ago.

The White House’s mid-term election strategy is becoming clear – pit the Democrats of 2010 against the Republicans circa 2006, 2008 and 2009, including Bush.

It’s a lot to ask an angry, finicky electorate to sort out. And even if Obama can rightfully make the case that the economy took a turn for the worse under Bush’s watch, he’s already made it – in 2008 and repeatedly in 2009.

It’s not clear that voters still want to hear it.

Gee, maybe that’s because Obama has had the job himself for those sixteen months, and most people don’t see any improvement in the economy.  Instead, they see a runaway Democratic Congress making George Bush look like Ebenezer Scrooge, while noting that terrorist attacks have suddenly started coming to fruition after a year of political correctness run amuck in counterterrorism efforts.  National debt is skyrocketing, and Obama’s planned budget deficits dwarf anything seen during the Bush years.

Perhaps the comparison is more damaging than helpful, apart from Obama’s attempt to dodge accountability.  Bush took office during a recession and then had to deal with a smaller financial collapse following 9/11.  Neither of those events created double-digit inflation, and the recovery time was much shorter thanks to strong signals of pro-growth policies in their aftermath.  After sixteen months, voters tend to notice the differences, and the recent bad news on employment and on growth make those comparisons even more relevant.

Mostly, though, it points to the emptiness of the Obama oeuvre when it comes to this election.  His policies haven’t created growth, and the only real legislative accomplishment was to pass (after several months of having filibuster-proof majorities) a bill so unpopular that the White House is still trying to sell it.  He has done little to nothing about Iran, seems intent on distancing the US from Israel and the UK while bowing and scraping to China and Russia.  With that kind of track record, Obama has nothing else to talk about but Bush — and that will not fool anyone in 2010.