Jimmy Carter and the first George Bush both lost re-election primarily because of a shitty national economy. How will “underdog” Barack Obama avoid their fate, even with his “vision”?
So the 2012 presidential race is shaping up to look like a hybrid of the 1980 and the 1996 presidential races.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked the people of the nation if they were better off, under then-President Jimmy Carter, than they were four years previously.
Today, President Barack Obama freely proclaims that Americans are not better off now than they were four years ago, giving the Repugnican Tea Partiers an early Christmas gift.
Obama proclaims that the 2012 presidential election will be about “who’s got a vision?”
“Vision” doesn’t pay the average voter’s bills, however, and I can’t see what Obama’s “vision” thus far has accomplished — the constitutionality of his “signature” legislative “accomplishment” of health care “reform” is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in its current term – but whatever.
Obama also has found a way to make the nation’s economic collapse all about himself, proclaiming himself to be the “underdog.” Why are you worrying about yourself when you should be focusing on Barack Obama?
These statements, apparently meant to bolster Obama, only demonstrate how out of touch with the common American he is.
And it certainly doesn’t help Obama’s re-election chances that the same young people whom he apparently lied to in order to get into the White House are now filling up Wall Street and other metropolitan areas protesting his solidarity with the Wall Street weasels and other treasonous corporatocrats and plutocrats who tanked our economy.
Obama’s best shot at re-election is that the Repugnican Tea Partiers pick the worst candidate that they possibly could, a candidate so manifestly awful that he or she makes Obama look like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln by comparison. That candidate would be Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but Perry seems to be imploding.
While Perry might have survived Niggerheadgate — he could be criticized fairly if his family hadn’t changed the racist name of the Texas property after they bought it, but it appears that they did — the scandal/“scandal” has cast a spotlight on other aspects of Rick Perry, such as this, as reported by The Associated Press today:
Austin, Texas — Eleven years ago, when the NAACP stepped up a campaign to remove the Confederate battle flag from statehouses and other government buildings across the South, it found an opponent in Rick Perry.
Texas had a pair of bronze plaques with symbols of the Confederacy displayed in its state Supreme Court building. Perry, then lieutenant governor, said they should stay put, arguing that Texans “should never forget our history.”
It’s a position Perry has taken consistently when the legacy of the Civil War has been raised, as have officials in many of the other former Confederate states. But while defense of Confederate symbols and Southern institutions can still be good politics below the Mason-Dixon line,
the subject can appear in a different light when officials seek national office. …
Yup. What plays well in Texas tends to wither on the national scene.
I’m fine for never forgetting our history (indeed, we forget it at our own peril), but the Confederate flag, like the word “nigger,” belongs in the
history books – not on public display, except perhaps at a museum (ditto for the swastika). Besides, the white supremacists who run the state of Texas make damn sure that the publishers of the history textbooks used in the state’s schools don’t offend white (or “Christian” or heterosexual or capitalist or…) sensibilities, so what’s the problem, Ricky?
The Repugnican Tea Partiers seem anxious to identify their champion to go up against Obama, with more and more red states moving up their primary or caucus dates. I doubt that Perry has time to recover in an ever-contracting Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary season. If he were eloquent he might be able to get past Niggerheadgate, but the fact that he has a penchant for stumbling into incoherence during nationally televised debates bodes ill for him.
As much as I never want to see a President Perry, it seems to me that Barack Obama’s best chance for re-election would be if Perry emerges as his opponent. Recent nationwide polls show Obama beating Perry in a hypothetical matchup by three or more percentage points.
Those same polls, however, show former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Obama within only one to three percentage points of each other, with Romney beating Obama by two percentage points in at least two recent nationwide polls. (I define “recent” as taken within the last month.)
A while back I likened Mitt Romney to Bob Dole, the incredibly wooden and uncharismatic Repugnican Party presidential candidate of 1996, the year that Bill Clinton fairly coasted to re-election.
Against Bob Dole II, Obama would be assured re-election, I thought back then, but back then I’d also thought that the nation’s economy would have shown some improvement by now.
However, the economy shows no signs of improvement between now and Election Day in November 2012, and so my money is on the 2012 presidential election looking like a cross between the 1980 and the 1996 presidential elections: Yes, the Repugnicans will front an uncharismatic candidate whom (unlike was the case with Ronald Reagan) no one is excited about, but, given the shambles that the economy is in, the uncharismatic Repugnican candidate (Mitt Romney, in case that isn’t clear) will beat the Democratic incumbent. The voters will be that thirsty for the change that was promised to them in 2008 but that never was delivered: that they’ll drink sea water, even though drinking sea water will kill you even faster than will plain old dehydration.
Many progressives whom Obama punk’d in Round One with his hollow promises of “hope” and “change” won’t bother to vote in November 2012 at all, having no progressive presidential candidate to vote for. If they do hold their nose and vote for Obama in November 2012, because of their lack of enthusiasm they certainly won’t talk up Obama’s re-election like they talked up his initial election, and if they give Team Obama any money in Round Two, they certainly won’t give as much as they did in Round One.
The Repugnican Tea Party traitors, on the other hand, I surmise, want a Repugnican, any Repugnican, back in the White House more enthusiastically than most of Barack Obama’s (former) supporters want four more years! This enthusiasm gap, I believe, is the biggest threat to Obama’s re-election.*
But, of course, the Obamabots — those invididuals for whom Barack Obama can do no wrong and who have some excuse for virtually all of his miserable failings – will blame Obama’s November 2012 loss on those of us who are actually progressive, who instead of selling out our progressive
principles steadfastly stick to our progressive principles (among which is not the idea of supporting the lesser of two evils). Some of them will even stoop to calling us “racist.” Some of them already have started doing that.
All of that completely fucking ignores, of course, the fact that Barack Obama, early in his presidency, did what even dipshit George W. Bush damn well knew better not to do: to shit and piss all over your base, to extend the middle finger, repeatedly, to those very same people who got you into the White House in the first place.
Competent historians, I believe, will identify that as Obama’s biggest mistake: having shat and pissed all over his base.
Had Obama followed the progressive economic advice that his base gave him from Day One of his presidency, the nation’s economy would have improved. But by trying to win over those whose support he never was going to gain in the first place through his countless “bipartisan” capitulations, by trying to make everyone love him to death, Obama sealed his own fate.
If Barack Obama actually manages to eke out re-election 13 months from now, I will be shocked.
I once expected him to be like Bill Clinton, easily fending off a challenge to a second term by a snooze-inducing Repugnican challenger. But now I expect Obama to be like Jimmy Carter, a one-term Democratic president. Especially when Obama freely publicly admits that we’re not better off now than we were four years ago.
*Lest any Obamabot try to deny that there even is an enthusiasm gap, a nationwide McClatchy-Marist poll taken less than a month ago asked, “Do you definitely plan to vote for Barack Obama for re-election as president or do you definitely plan to vote against him?” A whopping 49 percent declared “against him,” while only 36 percent declared for him, with 15 percent declaring that they aren’t sure yet. I surmise that the lion’s share of those 15 percent in the end will vote for the Repugnican Tea Party candidate.