On Monday, the Romney campaign unveiled a new web advertisement suggesting that President Obama has had his “moment” in the sun and now -- after three and half years of economic stagnation -- it’s time for a change in leadership.
The implied question Team Romney’s raises is the following: given this administration’s failure to fix the economy (tens of millions are out of work, 40 straight months of 8 percent unemployment, median household incomes have dropped 40 percent, etcetera etcetera) does the president deserve a second term? The answer, of course, is no. On the other hand, ever since the White House relaxed the nation’s deportation standards last Friday, allowing some undocumented immigrants (who arrived as children and meet certain requirements) to stay in the country legally, President Obama’s popularity in the Hispanic community has soared. In fact, a recent survey found that 49 percent of Latino voters across several key battleground states -- most notably Florida, Colorado, and Nevada -- are now more enthusiastic about supporting the president.
This is troubling news for the presumptive Republican nominee, to be sure, who needs strong support from the Hispanic community to unseat his rival. And yet, while the White House can circumvent Congress and implement laws by executive fiat because “it’s the right thing to do,” thus galvanizing and exciting certain constituencies, it’s important to remember that Americans care far less about immigration reform than the economy. In other words, a relentless and sustained attack on the president’s record -- rather than a battle over the nuances of immigration policy, for example -- is perhaps the most effective way to convince voters President Obama is undeserving of a second term. And admittedly, while there’s nothing novel about the message of the advertisement, it’s a constant and obvious reminder that the president's policies have failed the millions of Americans who are unemployed, underemployed or have stopped looking for work.