George Will offers GOP 2012 slogan: ‘Is this really the best we can do?’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Washington Post columnist George Will explained Sunday why the compromise debt ceiling deal being floated on Capitol Hill would be a “net minus” for President Obama.

“It’s a net minus in two senses,” Will said during the online “Green Room” segment of ABC’s “This Week.” “It will somewhat dampen the enthusiasm of his base — not a lot because at the end of the day, they have nowhere else to go. But the tremendous energy he had behind him in 2008 is going to be dissipated, if only because you can’t be a novelty twice. But beyond that … he has seriously validated the Republican vocabulary about the situation in Washington: that the problem is, not as Paul [Krugman] will argue that the government has been insufficiently ambitious, but that it has been too much so. So, in that sense, it’s a double-negative.”

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agreed with Will. He said Obama lost too much leverage by framing issues using “Republican rhetoric.” (George Will on debt ceiling battle: ‘Pocket these gains and prepare for the next fight’)

“Yeah, I agree — we’re in total agreement,” Krugman said. “I mean obviously you think it’s a good thing, I think it’s a bad thing. No, the amazing thing is you can argue about how much policy latitude Obama has ever had — whether he actually had the ability to do more, you know that’s hard stuff. What you can’t argue is that very early on, back when he still had a Democratic majority in Congress, he adopted Republican rhetoric. He’s framed since sometime in late-2009, he’s framed the situation entirely in terms of the way the other side talks. He completely dropped any alternative and so he’s been validating the Republican narrative, so you have to expect he cannot get anywhere.”

And such circumstances could create the opportunity for the GOP to capitalize with the proper message, Will explained.

“In 1960 Jack Kennedy represented youth, vigor and the future,” Will said. “He ran against a tired and elderly Eisenhower decade. His slogan was, ‘I think we can do better.’ Republicans’ saying in 2012 is going to be, ‘Is this really the best we can do?’”