And the race is on. Earlier today Barak Obama delivered a speech at an Associated Press luncheon and he left no doubt about who he believes his opponent will be. He went full bore after both the proposed republican budget plan and Mitt Romney.
He described the plan, that was developed by Paul Ryan, as so radical that, "It makes the contract with America look like the new deal." He then linked it to Romney saying that the former Massachusetts governor had called the budget "marvelous."
The president also invoked the name of the that mythical conservative god, Ronald Reagan. He pointed out that even Reagan knew that when the deficit was spiraling out of control, which it did constantly during the great communicator's presidency, that you had to couple spending cuts with tax hikes. He pointed out that the republicans have gone so far off into never never land that even Reagan couldn't win a primary in this election season. Frighteningly, that notion is not an over statement.
Yes, this is going to be a no holds barred campaign that will illustrate perfectly the ever widening divide between the conservative wing of the republicans and the middle and left of the country.
In calling the republican budget a "Trojan horse," Obama has opened up a theme he will not doubt hammer right up until the sixth of November. The republicans will scream deficit, but their idea of budget reduction is to put the screws to the lower and middle classes, the very people who can least afford it. That trickle down doesn't work, has never worked and will never work. As he explained it, true growth doesn't come down from the rich, it comes from the heart of the middle class.
His problem will be to get people to believe it. The republican propaganda machine is well oiled, ruthless and has all the money in the world. The right knows that no matter how outlandish the lie, if it is repeated enough on television, in print, and on the web it will stick. Before it is over Obama will be blamed for Amelia Earhart's disappearance, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Russians getting nuclear weapons, and the breakup of the Beatles. His handling of the economy has not been perfect, but given the disaster he inherited, it at least has been credible. The right wing wags and hacks will describe his policies as some sort of communist plot.
Of course the republicans have problems too. The economy is slowly improving from a melt down greater than anything seen since the depression. If that improvement continues the cold hard fact will be that they created the disaster, but now want the American public to hand a healing patient back over to them. In other words, "Yeah, we slipped you the poison, but trust us now." Hopefully the voters will see through that cynical ruse.
November seems so far distant that any thing can happen between now and then. Two things are sure however. It will be Obama vs. Romney. And it will get ugly.