It's not Obama vs. Romney in 2012.
It's really Obama vs. Obama.
The president has to run against himself. His own record on the economy has been so pitiful he can't defend it or run on it. He has to run away from it.
Instead of comparing his performance as president to what Romney-Ryan might do, Obama has to pretend like it's been someone else who's been mismanaging the economic recovery for the last 3 1/2 years.
He has to pretend that it's not his policies that have kept unemployment above 8 percent for 43 straight months and racked up too many trillions of new debt to count.
And this week, when the incompetent-in-chief was asked to give himself a grade for his own performance, his answer was not an "F" or "F-minus." It was "incomplete."
President Obama said he needed more time. For what?
To hope that Obamanomics can work, if we just wait until the USA becomes Greece or California?
To prove that obscene deficits, wasteful government spending, overregulation and higher taxes on the successful can put the greatest economy in the history of the world in a coma for another four years?
Compare what Obama is doing in this election to what Ronald Reagan did when he ran for re-election in 1984 against Walter Mondale.
My father didn't have to hide from his own record, he ran on it. Proudly. Unlike Obama, he was able to show that his economic policies had pulled the wrecked Jimmy Carter economy out of the ditch and turned it around.
Ronald Reagan could point to real progress -- real hope and change. He had cut the unemployment rate from double digits to 7.2 percent, adding almost 8 million jobs. The inflation rate had dropped from 10.3 percent to 3.3 percent. Interest rates were on their way down from 20 percent. Gasoline prices were not going up, but down.
By 1983, the country was already clearly headed down the road to recovery, fueled by lower tax rates, simpler tax codes, less regulation and tighter monetary policy.
Reaganomics -- which got government out of the way of the private sector -- was working. The severe recession of '82 -- when unemployment hit 10.8 percent, still the highest since the Great Depression, was shrinking in the rear-view mirror.
When my father's re-election campaign ran that famous optimistic ad that said, "It's morning again in America," people believed it. It was already coming true. That's why he was re-elected in a landslide.
After 44 months in office, Obama is still trying to blame George W. Bush for the problems he inherited and hasn't been able to solve.
My father didn't spend his first three years whining about the mess Jimmy Carter left him. He rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He didn't roll up his sleeves and put on a golf glove or practice his bowling skills.
Being president of the United States in a time of economic crisis means you don't get to play golf more than 100 times. Being president means you have to go to work to fix the economy, not destroy it further.
Obama is a true disaster -- a failure, a flop. Saying his grade is "incomplete" implies that he's got a good plan for the economy, but that he just needs four more years to put the finishing touches on it.
He doesn't. He has no plan but the same old economic plan -- the one that hasn't worked and never will.
Obama won't change. And unless the American people follow Clint Eastwood's advice and "let him go," we may have no hope.
In the fall we'll have a clear choice. Do we want to rehire an ex-community organizer with a record of failure? Or do we hire a businessman with a record of success? It's a question we shouldn't even have to ask.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.