Morning in America it's not
The Kansas City Star
Former Clinton adviser William Galston throws a bucket of cold water on President Obama’s re-election bid. It will be a steep climb, says Galson. Forget all that hope ‘n’ change and winning the future stuff. It won’t wash this year.
The off-year races last fall, which unleased a Republican tide, were about putting on the brakes. The Dems, given overwhelming control of the political branches, over-interpreted their mandate and went to extremes. Even Rep. Barney Frank now says publicly it was a mistake for the administration to ignore the economy and forge ahead on health care.
With the brakes applied to Democratic recklessness, November’s election will be about what the next step should be — or whether to maintain gridlock. The latter outcome would satisfy no one, and given Obama’s complete failure to do anything on the debt or entitlement reform, it could trigger a nasty reaction in the financial markets. It would be a signal that the U.S. isn’t likely to do anything serious about its entitlement, debt and deficit problems.
Galston’s analysis underlines how different the atmosphere is now, compared with 2008. Obama won’t be able to count on the youth movement. Many independents, believing his bromides about bipartisanship, are disillusioned. The president won’t be able to keep the race from serving as a referendum on his record. Some of his biggest donors aren’t interested in supporting him again, especially those on Wall Street. It turns out they didn’t like being called “fat cats.”
But here’s Galston’s key bit:
“Obama is no longer the master of his fate. During the 2008 campaign, Obama could and did seize the initiative in the face of unexpected events. His agile response to the mid-September financial meltdown propelled him into a lead that he never surrendered. In 2012, by contrast, he will be at the mercy of events that he cannot control. The Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act. A military confrontation between Israel and Iran would put the administration in the no-win situation it has struggled to avoid, with incalculable consequences for our national security as well as our politics.”
Naturally, there’s a qualifier. If the pace of job-creation picks up again, Obama will probably get another term. But if the economy remains sluggish and unemployment stays high, the president will remain on the defensive.
The latest Gallup tracking poll: Romney 48, Obama 43.