Last week, after Senate Democrats passed a bill allowing tax hikes on American families earning more than $250,000 a year, Talking Points Memo‘s Brian Beutler described the legislation as “the cornerstone of President Obama’s re-election strategy.” And Beutler is right. From his “New Nationalism” speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, last year, to his “you didn’t build that” speech in Roanoke, Virginia, this year, the continuing focus of Obama’s reelection campaign has always been increasing taxes on wealthy Americans.

There is just one problem. Americans couldn’t care less about punishing the rich with higher taxes.

Gallup released the results of a new poll this morning, showing which issues Americans want the next president to prioritize the most. Since Obama has failed to bring unemployment below 8 percent for a record 41 straight months, it is no surprise that “creating good jobs” was the top American priority. “Reducing corruption in federal government” and “reducing the federal budget deficit” were issues two and three. Terrorism, entitlement reform, and education were priorities four, five, and six. In all, Gallup offered up 12 possible priorities, and guess where “the cornerstone of President Obama’s re-election strategy” ended up?

Dead last.

Last Friday, the Commerce Department issued a new report showing that GDP growth had slowed in the last quarter to just 1.5 percent. Consumer spending is down. Manufacturing is down. Clearly, our economy is stagnating if not falling into recession. And Obama’s top priority is…a tax hike.

This Friday, the Labor Department will release the monthly job numbers. Last month, a dismal report showed only 80,000 new jobs created and unemployment steady at 8.2 percent. If this trend continues, Obama may need to rethink his campaign plans.


Campaign 2012
Obama: Former President Bill Clinton will play a central part in the Democratic convention, The New York Times reports, and will formally place President Obama’s name into nomination by delivering a prime-time speech designed to present a forceful economic argument for why Mr. Obama deserves to win a second term.

Romney: Romney drew a stark contrast with Obama while in Israel Sunday, forcefully acknowledging that Jerusalem is the capital. Last week, White House spokesman Jay Carney failed to name the capital of Israel. Newsweek attacked Romney with a cover story this week calling him a “wimp.” The Romney campaign notes this tactic did not work in 1988 when Newsweek did the same to then-Vice President George Bush.

Texas: A Public Policy Polling poll of the Republican Senate runoff scheduled for Tuesdat shows Ted Cruz beating David Dewhurst 52 percent to 42 percent. The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney says Cruz would bring conservative muscle to the Senate.

Around the Bigs
The New York Times, Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law: The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the health care law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000.

The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Profit Streak Hit by Global Weakness: Slowing economies from the U.S. to China, increasingly wary shoppers, recession in much of Europe and a stronger dollar could bring to an end at least 10 continuous quarters of profit growth for America’s biggest companies.

The New York Times, As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role: As the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s government grinds on with no resolution in sight, Syrians involved in the armed struggle say it is becoming more radicalized: homegrown Muslim jihadists, as well as small groups of fighters from Al Qaeda, are taking a more prominent role and demanding a say in running the resistance.

USA Today, Recovery’s pace may depend on worried wealthy: A Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers shows that the consumer confidence index among those who make more than $75,000 annually has fallen 20% since last year. Even confidence among millionaires has dropped to a nine-month low, according to market researcher Spectrem Group.

Righty Playbook
In The Wall Street Journal, Charles Murray explains Why Capitalism Has an Image Problem.

The New York Times Ross Douthat says we have been Defining Religious Liberty Down.

At The Corner, Avik Roy posts a chart showing that the CBO’s cost estimates for Obamacare keep rising.

Lefty Playbook
The New York Times Paul Krugman warns that the Euro is in real danger of collapsing.

The American Prospect‘s Paul Waldman says there is no difference between President Bush’s economic policies and Romney’s.

At firedoglake, Dean Baker attacks Thomas Friedman for warning about Social Security’s insolvency.