The political battle being waged between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is like a very subtle game of ping-pong. Romney serves a political point, and Obama pings it back in such a way that it doesn’t look like he’s addressing Romney at all…but he is.
A quibble over the housing market is Obama’s most recent pass back. He is using Wednesday’s housing proposal as his artillery against Romney’s plan (or non-plan, depending on your perspective) to let the housing market hit the floor and work itself out.
In October, Romney told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an interview with their editorial board that he would allow the housing market to “run its course and hit the bottom.” A pretty bold statement in Las Vegas, which many consider the epicenter of the housing crisis.
As he announced his proposal on Wednesday, Obama fired back using the exact same language.
“It is wrong for anyone to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom,” he said.
Obama’s proposal won’t pass through Congress — that I would bet Romney’s $10,000 on. But this isn’t about successful legislation for Obama, as I'm quite sure that he knows that the eventual fate of his proposal is death by Republican disapproval. This is instead about a political win that may give him more ground in the election come November.
Obama’s plan is populism at its finest. He is placing himself in the corner of “the people” and squaring off against Romney, who Obama hopes to peg as an elite. This housing policy, and his subsequent subliminal attacks on the former Massachusetts governor may appeal to several states that are considered both housing nightmares and political battleground states.
Nevada, for instance, has a primary coming up and is still shaking from the dilapidated home market there. They have the highest portion of underwater homeowners, so Obama’s proposal, even if it won’t actually work, may appeal Nevada voters who would qualify for refinancing if his plan passed.