Obama Sometimes Defies Old Political Trends and Historical Precedents
WASHINGTON (AP) — History repeats itself, until it doesn’t.
That musty saw is worth remembering as pundits speculate on whether the lumbering economy will doom the re-election hopes of President Barack Obama, who has shown a knack for beating odds and breaking barriers.
Clearly, some important trends are working against him. The latest evidence came Friday in a lackluster jobs report that said the nation’s unemployment rate was stuck at 8.2 percent.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the last president to win re-election with so much joblessness. Voters ousted Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush when the jobless rate was well under 8 percent.
It’s not as if Obama can divert public attention from the economy, which has dominated the election from the start. His signature domestic achievement, the 2010 health care overhaul, is a mixed political blessing, uniting Republicans against him. Voters show little interest in how his administration wound down the Iraq war and killed Osama bin Laden.
Yet Obama runs even with, or slightly ahead of, Republican rival Mitt Romney in poll after poll. Campaign strategists debate the reasons.
They might include Obama’s personal likability, gaps in Romney’s strategy or Americans’ grudging acceptance of a new normal in which millions of jobs are gone for good and no single person is responsible.
If high unemployment “was a killer, he’d already be dead,” said Republican pollster and consultant Mike McKenna. “The survey data tells you he’s not dead.”
There’s a problem with applying historical precedents and conventional wisdom to Obama. He sometimes defies them.
Though he was a bit younger (looking) here is his “Yes We Can” speech from 2008