Sunday, January 15, 2012

Obama 2012 (FilAm Star, January 6, 2012)




Happy Belated New Year to everyone. I want to get 2012 off to a rocking start by making a bold prediction: Barack Obama will be re-elected as president next November despite the fact that no US president since the time of Franklin Roosevelt has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate of more than 7.2%. For those too discouraged or cynical to check for themselves, unemployment has been ranging above that red-flag figure, coming at times perilously close to a depressing 9%.

Starker voices on Obama’s re-election chances provoke the question of his continuing struggle to define and build a brighter future for an economically strung out America that has every reason to doubt such a future. He may still find his way towards redeeming that future for the American people, but one of the problems afflicting Obama is that he is the right president at the wrong time. In a stable and prosperous America, Obama, known for his cool and calm demeanor, his strong self-control and intelligence, his choice realism, and his accentuated pragmatism and reasonableness, would have been an ideal chief executive for maintaining the nation’s power and resoluteness to transcend its already-impressive achievements.

But as so many of America’s 300-million plus inhabitants are foundering in an economic recession, and against a backdrop of political paralysis at the top governmental levels, Obama’s goodwill and prime leadership capabilities become so much fodder for political fearmongers and opportunists.

We recognize these fearmongers and opportunists in the shape of the rivalrous Republican Party, a party that oozes in Tea Party extremism and intransigence. The GOP is a political party in which moderates and realists have been blown away by sanctimonious Tea Party talking heads and a stream of agitated, populist jackboots who are prepared to lead Americans on a blind march off a socio-economic precipice.

These are the human flecks of fear and paranoia that are wending the Republicans to an electoral loss in November. The fact that a hypocritical and pseudo-intellectual blowhard like Newt Gingrich has found himself at or near the top of Republican presidential polling just goes to show how far gone Republicans and conservatives are from reason and reality.

All of the recognizable Republican presidential hopefuls are the latest evidence of how low American politics has fallen. Even their most electable candidate, Mitt Romney, the one Republican who stands the most chance of defeating Barack Obama, is contaminated by flip-flopping charges and beset by lukewarm support at best from the Republican base and from crucial independent voters.

Republicans are quick to note that Obama would have no chance against their political and ideological icon, Ronald Reagan. But that is neither here nor there: Reagan is no longer with us, while Romney has the charisma of a cardboard box and is a supremely corporate, and thus, a socially-disarticulate and out-of-touch individual. The picture that emerges is that of a presidential wannabe who can’t electrify his own party’s electorate to save his life.

Having to contend with Republican and conservative furor and double-standards over his attempts at fixing the economy, Obama resembles Sisyphus as he tries to push the rock of socio-economic recovery and political bipartisanship up the hill, only to have a Republican kick it back down again. However, although the Republicans continue to hamper Obama’s efforts in any way they can, the one thing the president has reason to feel good about in his re-election campaign is that independent voters, their current disappointment and uncertainty notwithstanding, will likely come back to him in sufficient numbers. Especially when they shudder at the Republican alternative.

Another thing President Obama has going for him is his support among minorities, specifically among Blacks and Hispanics. Disenchanted as they may feel, they are not about to commit political and economic suicide and vote a Republican for president. A recent Politico report proves this out: Obama still enjoys the support of approximately 90% of black swing state voters and 70% of swing state Hispanics. These results are reflected nationwide by various surveys. Republicans should pay more attention to this broader demographics vs. economics angle before they start flattering themselves over how Obama’s re-election hopes are supposedly languishing because of a bad economy, an economy primarily of their making.

If Mitt Romney is the best the Republicans can do, and he probably is, then Obama wins re-election. Ronald Reagan, where are you when the Republicans need you?

ALLEN GABORRO

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