The big story at tonight’s Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan is not just the first appearance of Fred Thompson in a debate, which seems to be the prevailing story-line. By the time the general election is held in November, 2008, one way or another, the Iraq War will have receded somewhat as a political issue. At this point, the economy, I believe, will be a central issue. The G.O.P candidates will provide their perspectives on the economy tonight.
Mitt Romney needs to have a big night and he can. Not only is Romney the son of a former Michigan governor and c.e.o. of American Motors, he is the only candidate in the race with a record of creating jobs in the private sector. There’s no question that Romney was a disappointment in Massachusetts as far as being a c.e.o. who could recruit other business executives to come to Massachusetts, but it’s also true that he never invested the time necessary to do this. I did see him, along with Mayor Menino, personally lobby representatives of Virgin Airlines to headquarter their new domestic airlines in Boston. Still, economic issues should be Romney’s sweet spot.
John McCain delivered a speech to the Detroit Economic Club. He’s trying to get into the anti-tax act:
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves at a time when the U.S. economy is growing more slowly than anyone would like. As you are well aware, conditions in Michigan are even tougher, with the state suffering through one of the most severe recessions since World War II.
Tough times can breed fear, and Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are using those fears to push an agenda that is tired, dangerous, and will rob us of economic freedom. Once again, they want the government to make our choices for us – not respect our dreams, and trust our decisions on how best to seize our opportunities. ”
As for Rudy Giuliani, I don’t believe you can separate his mayoral leadership from the economic boom New York enjoyed in the 1990s.