Flawed field

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Filed Under Races 2012 on Apr 20 

Is there a chance that President Obama doesn’t win re-election in 2012?

Not much. His victory is virtually certain.

In sports, this is called “winning ugly.” That’s when a team plays poorly, makes mistakes, fails to capitalize on opportunities, but commits just one less error than the other side, so they squeak to victory by the narrowest of margins, in the most unsatisfying manner. But they win nonetheless.

The conditions that normally decide Presidential elections are stacked against Obama:

The Economy:
It’s still staggering along like punch-drunk fighter in the 11th round. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Job creation—though improving somewhat—is just barely keeping pace with population growth and jobless workers returning to the workforce. The topic of the national deficit/debt, although not clearly understood by most Americans (nor clearly explained by Republicans to their political benefit) is becoming a known, troublesome issue for many people. The threat of tax hikes looms. Inflation fears abound.

Energy:
Gas prices, gas prices, gas prices. This is as far as most Americans’ interest and understanding of energy goes. The basic mainstream feeling is that gasoline pricing is fairly elastic—a non-issue— up to around $2.99/gallon. Once it crosses the psychologically-threatening $3.00 barrier, it begins to weigh on peoples’ minds. When it hits $4.00+, it’s an extremely major factor in peoples’ day-to-day outlook on their personal finances and their confidence/spending sentiment. Everyday, the prices posted on the corner gas station are a stark indication that either things are grim and getting worse or that life is good. One’s entire personal economic outlook depends on the direction/trend and absolute price level as shown by the Mobil station two blocks down. There it is, a perfect public-opinion barometer.

President Obama has offered no near-term solutions, nor any solid, tangible long-range energy strategy to comfort people that better times lie ahead. Nothing.

Foreign Affairs:
The President is showing himself to be weak and disengaged on overseas developments. Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, Libya—all addressed late (or not at all), none in a definitive, productive manner, and there is seemingly no overall plan on how to shape events to our country’s benefit. His overriding goal is perceived by many to be “unaccountable,” to make sure the U.S.’s imprint is not stamped on any operation that could come back against us. Granted, in these times of 9% unemployment and $4.31/gal gasoline, what happens in Egypt is not foremost on Joe Smith’s mind in Smyrna TN. However, solid foreign policy accomplishments could be pointed to as a great achievement, if there were any to be had. There are not.

Border Security, Social Issues, Court Developments:
Has President Obama won the undying love and confidence of the majority of the American public with Obamacare? No.
Do people roundly support his Justice Department’s efforts to try admitted 9/11 planner KSM in civil court in NYC? No.
He’s done essentially nothing about illegal immigration, another area where his non-action is at odds with majority public opinion.
He looked weak and indecisive all through the BP oil spill.
Even when he was lobbed a meatball on the Ground Zero Mosque issue, he popped it up, rather than roping a sharp liner up the gap.

The “right track-wrong track” polls are running against him by a very troubling wide margin.

There is a cumulative impression forming among many (but not to his ever-loyal-to-the end 40%, liberal base, obviously) that he may simply be in a little over his head, that he’s well-intentioned, but not quite up to the task.

Yet against this most appealing of low-hanging fruit political opportunities, the Republicans have chosen (or have the luck-of-the-draw misfortune, take your pick) to field this year what has got to be the weakest, most flawed set of prospective Presidential nominees in recent memory.

And there have certainly been some doozies in the past:

– The portrayed-as-shifty, telegenicly-challenged Richard Nixon (’60)
– The easily-lampooned Barry Goldwater (’64)
– The clumsy Gerald Ford (’76)
– The bland-as-unflavored oatmeal Bob Dole (‘96)
– and the even less interesting John McCain (’08)

Conventional wisdom says that the Rising Stars, the Young Bucks of the GOP won’t be ready until ’16. Presumably, that’s when the Pences, Jindals, Rubios, Perrys, Cantors, Christies, et al. will storm the national stage.

Until then, is there a heretofore unannounced Republican with the requisite qualifications, experience and lack of flaws who could do the job? Perhaps retiring AZ senator Jon Kyl might fill the bill. He is certainly an experienced politician with impeccable credentials, national standing, and the ‘gravitas’ to do the job. However, he would need a serious infusion of charm and charisma, something that may not be possible.

Absent someone like a Kyl, the chances of the Republicans defeating Obama in 2012 are looking dimmer and dimmer.

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