They’ve gambled and, so far, they’ve lost

I’ve said for more than a year now that the Bush team was trying to rerun Reagan’s 1984 campaign. Reagan, who was one of the luckiest presidents in my lifetime was also one of the most unpopular presidents ever judging from his poll numbers in 1982 and early 1983. Reagan lucked out in 1984 when the economy recovered just in the nick of time (you and I can debate whether it had a damn thing to do with his policies) and Americans rewarded him with a second term. I have long contended that if the economy recovers and jobs start returning in any way we’ll get another four years of W, immoral war based on lies and exaggeration notwithstanding.

Well W and the boys clearly thought they were going to be able to party like it was 1984 again. As Atrios so perceptively points out in this post, W and the boys have essentially revved the engine up and dropped the clutch as far as fiscal and monetary policy is concerned. There’s nothing left they can do. They keep expecting the economy to respond and it stubbornly refuses to do so. We’re still essentially in the same place as we were two years ago.

Furthermore, continuing the engine metaphor, I would contend that the RPMs are currently nearing the redline point and the wheels are spinning but we’re not going anywhere. If the tires don’t get traction soon folks, there could be one helluva mess. (A “dubya dip” recession perhaps?) And, as Atrios notes, any sort of shock to the system at this point (say, a major terrorist attack) would be nothing short of disastrous for the economy.

Through pursuing such reckless economic policies in order to assure his re-election, W has actually left us all in a very vulnerable position economically. Politically, W had certainly better hope nothing at all goes wrong in the next eight months because he has absolutely no margin for error now.

And, even if things go relatively well, I’m really beginning to think he may still lose.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?