It’s About the Economy, Not Immigration

In the last month, the president and his advisers caught a glimpse of how they could control their destiny and throw the Republicans off-balance. It is bewildering to me why the Obama campaign didn't do a better job of seizing the moment.

Think how different the political discussion would be right now if Obama had held a White House ceremony last week signing into law a job-creating energy security mega-project and a payroll tax cut that he lead the fight for after out-maneuvering the stingy Republicans. Whew!

The 2012 election will be about the economy and jobs. The president can’t just hope for the best; he has to convince people that he has a plan and can be effective. As my friend Gov. Haley Barbour says, “A lot of independents still wish President Obama well. They haven’t slammed the door on him.”

I don’t think the Dream Act, or the immigration issue generally, gives the president an opportunity to ease voters’ core concerns about him or the overall direction in which he is taking the country. Carter is right that the Dream Act has some soothing, compelling features, but it isn’t what swing voters care about. And Republicans can avoid being trapped by being positive and saying that there are some good ideas in the Dream Act, but we have to wait until we:

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THE WASHINGTON POST

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