Lately, Rush Limbaugh has been called to the carpet over his line that he hopes Obama fails. Now, since that statement was made, Mr. Limbaugh has clarified this to mean that he hopes Obama's policies fail.
While this blog is not a place for political discussion, it is a place for explaining economics. It is important to look at the alternatives to the statement, "I hope Obama fails". (I call this "game theory light")
Alternative 1: Obama fails and the economy suddenly improves.
Alternative 2: Obama fails and the economy continues to slide.
Alternative 3: Obama succeeds and the economy improves.
Alternative 4: Obama succeeds and the economy fails.
Based upon these options, we are really only happy with #1 and #3. Obviously, we all want the economy to improve and for people to get back to work. I do have a problem with Alternative #4 because by the administration's metrics, success is gauged by job creation. So it doesn't make sense that Obama and his policies could succeed without the economy improving.
Now, let's look at it from the Republican point of view. Clearly, Limbaugh is interested in getting the GOP back into power. So here are the alternatives for the Republicans:
Alternative 1: Obama fails and the economy suddenly improves.--GOP Wins
Alternative 2: Obama fails and the economy continues to slide.--GOP Loses
Alternative 3: Obama succeeds and the economy improves. --GOP Loses
Alternative 4: Obama succeeds and the economy fails. --GOP Loses
This will take some explanation.
#1. If Obama fails and the economy improves, then the GOP would be the political winner.
#2 If Obama fails and the economy gets worse, then the GOP loses because they could only claim to have caused Obama to fail, but without an improved economy and no real plans other than for the government to stay out of it then the GOP will lose.
#3. Self explanatory
#4. This is similar to #2, but in this case the GOP may win politically and the country would lose economically. You could argue that the GOP would win here simply because Obama lost, but the human costs would be pretty high. This alternative is still flawed because Obama's success is tied to job creation.