The week before last I went down to San Diego to visit Mom. Let me tell you a little bit about her, to set the stage.
Mom’s Armenian, born and raised in Iran where my dad met her after WW2. She’s a post-war bride, an immigrant who did the whole Ellis Island thing, got her US citizenship, and became a productive member of society, raising two young kids alone when she became a widow at a young age while working her tail off to provide them a good standard of living.
Like many (if not most) immigrants of her era, she’s politically conservative, subscribing to the traditional American values that made this country a Mecca for them. But over the last few election cycles, as health issues have affected her mobility, she’s become much less politically active, by which I mean she hasn’t voted in the last few elections.
When I visited her we talked politics, as is usual. She’s very concerned about the direction Obama has taken this country, and the implications of his policies and how they’re affecting our economic soundness, as well as our standing in the world community; so much so that she has determined to cast her vote in this election come November. Each time, she asks me how I assess the status of the race, and what I think the outcome will be.
Each time, I tell her that in my opinion, if the election were held today, I think Obama would handily lose. Further, that contrary to the popular wisdom and polling data, I think it could well be a landslide of Reaganesque proportions. And that barring any unusual event between now and November, I don’t think Obama has a chance.
I then point out to her that she, herself, is a great example of the dynamic that’s in effect. She’s so motivated to see him gone that she’s more engaged in the political scene than she’s been in almost two decades, and is bound and determined to make her voice heard. And because of that, she’s a great example – a bellwether – of what’s ahead in November as so many other people just like her – people who aren’t normally involved directly in the process – get themselves to the polls to get rid of the amateur/socialist in the White House.
Most of the current polls indicate a very tight race, with Obama sometimes in the lead, and sometimes Romney. But don’t let those polls fool you; there’s a dynamic in this country I haven’t seen since 1980, when the polls showed Carter with the lead over Reagan, right up to end of the campaign, when the only poll that matters – the actual vote results – ushered Reagan into the White House with a 49-state landslide victory. I well remember the absolute shock (and outrage!) of the newscasters of the time when they were announcing the election results, and that Reagan had won.
In 1976 Carter’s campaign for President revolved around the country’s disaffection for anything Nixon, including his policies and his replacement, Gerald Ford. Carter was the “not Nixon” candidate. By 1980, he’d demolished the economy, inflation was through the roof, interest rates on loans were at record highs, property values had crashed, there were gas lines at the pumps as prices soared, we’d lost our international prestige, and Americans had been held hostage in Iran for over a year.
In 2008 Obama’s campaign for President revolved around the country’s disaffection for Bush and his policies. Obama was the “not Bush”; McCain was tarred as being “Bush 3”. And now, in 2012, he’s demolished the economy, the country’s in debt to its hairline, gas prices are at record highs (having more than doubled since he took office), credit card interest rates are at record highs, property values are in the doldrums, right along with our international prestige, our national credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in history and is in danger of being so again, and he’s perceived by large segments of the populace as having run rampant over the Constitution with such programs as Obamacare and his penchant for abusing the Executive Order power to make laws not properly enacted by Congress.
In 1980 Carter had lost the enthusiastic support of much of his base, and energized his opponents by his actions. In 2010 Obama finds himself in exactly the same position. Again, remember my Mom; she’s going to vote for the first time in many years just to get rid of the guy.
That’s what’s going to make the difference this year, and why I’m predicting that – barring unforeseen major events – we could very well see another landslide this year.
In 2009, shortly after he took office, Matt Lauer interviewed Obama, and he had this to say: “One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. A year from now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress. But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
I think he predicted that one correctly. Probably a first for him. Let’s all do our best to make his at that time arrogant prediction a self-fulfilling prophecy.
© Brian Baker 2012