There has been some buzz in the last few days that President Obama, in the face of rapidly-deteriorating re-election prospects and a stubbornly bad economy that refuses (predictably, sadly) to respond favorably to any of his frantic, herky-jerky Keynesian bandaids, might withdraw from the 2012 Presidential race and let another Democratic candidate go in his stead.

For such an action to even be contemplated by some political observers demonstrates the unprecedented extreme nature of our national circumstance. Long-time political witnesses will recall President Johnson’s dramatic interruption of the Smothers Brothers’ Sunday night TV show in March of 1968 when he announced that he would not seek the Democratic nomination and not run for re-election that November. That stunning development set off a chain reaction of Democratic Presidential maneuvering that culminated in Robert Kennedy’s late entrance into the race and his subsequent assassination in June of that year, a mere five months before the election. That stop-gap candidate Hubert Humphrey was able to wage a close contest with Richard Nixon and nearly win is a testimony to the conflicted and confused outlook of the American electorate that year.

But the 1968 Presidential campaign was marked by a rather cut-and-dried issue, namely the War in Vietnam. There were the pro-war and anti-war factions, there were groups that were distrustful of the manner in which the US Government was waging the war (with good reason, in hindsight), there was questionable verity with which the media reported the war, and then came the full-blown, commonplace emergence of such concepts as “draft-dodgers,” conscientious objectors, and flights to other countries to escape conscription.

But day-to-day life here at home remained largely unaffected. Color TV became popular through the ‘60’s. Stereophonic sound—invented in 1958—became a big seller in the ‘60’s. McDonald’s flourished. GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC owned the automotive market and the Japanese car invasion was not yet their nightmare. The housing market was reasonably stable. We produced the great majority of our own oil, and gasoline cost 33 cents per gallon. People still worked at their companies for 30 years and retired on a company pension.

Johnson’s self-removal from the race was based solely on the notion that his bungled handling of a foreign war would prevent his re-election.

The situation with Obama is quite different. It’s the way his presidency has affected day-to-day life in America that has some Democrats secretly opining—wishing, perhaps?—that he extricate himself from the next campaign and in so doing, spare the Democratic Party from the growing ire of the electorate, whose impatience with the poor economy, the every-increasing arbitrary PC-ism to no identifiable public benefit, and our perceived indecisive weakness abroad has tangibly lessened the quality of daily life for most Americans. “Are you better off than you were four years ago,” and “Will your children enjoy a better life than you have,” are both, for the very first time, “No” to a majority of people.

This is not an observed-from-afar foreign policy issue like Vietnam. This is our daily life, and some Democratic political analysts fear that the damage to Democratic brand may last a generation if not corrected now.

Removing Obama from 2012 is indeed an intriguing idea. Every ill that is his doing suddenly becomes null and void. Every single issue suddenly becomes one where the new Democratic candidate can say, “I wouldn’t have handled that in quite the same way.” A sharp strategist/speechwriter could easily thread the needle of excoriating Obama’s failed execution and inexperience, and promote the new candidate’s ability to do it right¸ while preserving sensible, compassionate Democratic values.

The fly in this ointment is, of course, race. Could a Democrat actually float the idea of replacing Obama on the ticket without being called out by the liberal MSM or the CBC for being racist? When push comes to shove, will the Democrats have the nerve to evaluate Obama’s electoral prospects independent of race considerations?

There are undoubtedly a lot of Democratic strategists, elder statesman, and pundits who are hoping—no, praying—that the economy improves to a huge degree by spring 2012 and/or Perry/Romney/Bachmann or whoever gets caught red-handed with their hand in some inexplicable cookie jar.

This will be interesting.