OK, maybe that is overstating things just a smidgen. But a win is a win, and two wins are even better for Mitt Romney. He entered Tuesday as the Republican frontrunner and he exited just the same. Romney has an 83 percent chance of winning the GOP nomination, according to Intrade, which called both Arizona and Michigan correctly. Romney also gave a pretty coherent victory speech that outlined his theory of the case (word cloud via Wordle).
Two themes ran through Romney’s speech. First, Obamanomics still isn’t working despite the uptick in the economy. This is the “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” part of the argument:
From generation to generation, Americans have always known that the future would be brighter and better. Americans have always believed in a tomorrow full of possibility and prosperity. … That deep confidence in a better tomorrow is the basic promise of America. Today, that promise is being threatened by a faltering economy and a failed presidency. … Did he fix the economy? Did he tackle the housing crisis? Did he get Americans back to work? No. He put us on a path toward debt, deficits, and decline. It is time to get off that path and get back on the path to prosperity. … Today, we’re $15 trillion in debt. Real employment stands at 15%. … You’ve heard the saying, “I need a vacation from this vacation?” Well, we need to recover from this so-called “recovery.”
A few facts that support what Romney is saying:
– During President Reagan’s two terms, debt as a share of GDP averaged 35 percent. Under President Obama’s recent budget, it would average 71 percent of GDP.
– The Congressional Budget Office recently noted that the U.S. unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, making the past three years the longest stretch of high unemployment in this country since the Great Depression.
– The S&P/Case-Shiller housing price index fell 3.8 percent during the fourth quarter. This index is at its lowest level since 2002. Adjusted for CPI inflation, it is at its lowest since 1998.
So while the pace of the “recovery” has picked up and jobs are being added, let’s not mistake this for some sort of mini-boom. And Romney is smart to point that out.