If the Republicans are smart, unscrupulous and want to win in 2012 at any cost, here’s a game plan.
Step 1: Fight like a demon against any fiscal stimulus that would help accelerate economic growth and reduce unemployment. Make up any excuse that sells. If one excuse begins to lose its juice, switch to another; consistency is irrelevant.
Step 2: Wait for the economy to stall or even go into reverse by early 2012.
Step 3: Once it’s too late for policy to have any effect before November, switch gears and demand an emergency program to create jobs, coupled with tax cuts for carefully targeted campaign contributors. Blame Obama for the endless slump and paint yourselves as tireless activists for full employment. Obama then faces the ugly choice between remaining consistent and toughing out the feeble economy or flip-flopping and chasing after your policies.
It’s all hypothetical, of course, except that we’ve been living in Step 1 since the moment McCain conceded in 2008.