Esteemed political commentator Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner reminds us that despite all his problems the worst American president in modern times isn’t quite history. He even has a fair chance of winning reelection in 2012.
The fact that Americans tend to like Obama on a personal level helps the president.
Another factor is that polls show that most Americans have favorable personal feelings toward the president. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both happened to have personal characteristics that people on the other side of the cultural divide absolutely loathed. Obama doesn’t.
His reliance on his teleprompter, his secret smoking, his irritability when not adored — these are pretty minor failings. People like his family and his obvious devotion to them. They don’t mind that he likes to get away and play golf or shoot hoops from time to time.
The possible error –we’ll only find out retrospectively in 2012– in Barone’s thinking is that we are in a normal political period, that is, that we are experiencing politics as usual. In fact we are in a period of heightened political volatility.
Think about it. An incumbent wartime president who had been massively popular barely wins reelection in 2004. His party is swept out of power in Congress in 2006 in what political pundits describe as a historic partisan realignment. Fast forward to 2010: the party of an incumbent wartime president who had been massively popular suffers a historic repudiation in the midterm elections so bad that political pundits say a historic partisan realignment is underway. Volatility seems to be the only thing that is certain.
There is also a feeling in the land that America is in decline. The decline is planned and deliberate, part of the left’s strategy. Do Americans associate the powerlessness they feel with Obama? I think they do and that these feelings will only grow between now and Election Day 2012.
Unless circumstances change dramatically and the American people forgive Obama and Democratic lawmakers for the countless legislative and policy atrocities they’ve inflicted on America over the last two years, Obama will be Jimmy Carter 2.0.
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