It’s still the economy, stupid!

I hope my readers will forgive me if I digress just a little (again!) from Calvin Coolidge in order to remark on the current race for the GOP nomination.

Some commentators have opined that Mitt Romney may be in trouble to the extent that economic numbers start looking better. With some reason, they make the case that his candidacy is built largely on his strength on the economic front – the ideal CEO fixer-upper for an economy that’s been in the doldrums for some years now. And presto! as soon as some jobs numbers tick upwards, not only does president Obama suddenly look a lot less vincible (is that a word? probably not), but social conservative dreamboat and vest model Rick Santorum is looking a lot better all of a sudden.

I think that’s all foolishness, and if Romney is smart (he’s supposed to be), he’ll still make the case that one swallow does not a summer make, and that, regardless of one or more positive quarter, the direction of the economy is still wrong, will continue to slide in the wrong, statist direction under Obama, and needs to be turned around. He may need to throw a bone or two to social conservatives, but he should be stressing that America can’t afford to dawdle away precious time on questionable social issue battles while a tide of red ink and unrestrained big government spending are still steadily rising, the president’s sleight-of-hand budget proposals notwithstanding.

Calvin Coolidge was basically a one-issue president – the issue being a laser-like focus on budget discipline and on cutting the debilitating debt incurred during WWI. Since not everyone appears to have grasped that today’s debt crisis is every bit as severe as that of the early 1920s, Gov. Romney will need to summon more clarity and conviction on this issue in order to make his point clearly understood. This will serve him well against a president who does not have an economic plan that goes beyond tax-and-spend.