Posts Tagged ‘President’
I just wanted to point out, that despite all the doomsday calls prior to the Presidential election for the fall of democracy and the American way of life by extreme right-wing supporters, we’re still here and nothing much has changed.
You know who you are. Just a word of advice…don’t make political predicting a career. In fact, give up predicting all together. Your terrible. Take solace in the face that so is everyone else.
How does one ensure that, regardless of outcome, your viewpoint remains “right”? You make the proclaimation that the possibility of an opposing outcome would presuppose a “fix”. This is standard practice for individuals whose righteous ends trump the actual search for truth.
I bring this topic up because the Supreme Court is preparing to have the final say in the Obama POTUS eligibilty issue. The Court is set to hold a conference on the Donofrio case to determine whether or not is should be argued before the Court.
One of the leading proponents rallying in support of the Donofrio case has been the td blog, where the issue of dual citizenship violating the “natural born citizen” clause in Article II of the US Constitution originated. The Supreme Court conference is the culmination of everything the td blog and similar anti-Obama opponents have been pushing for, in some form or another, for the past four months.
In late February of 2008 when Barack Obama and John McCain were in a virtual tie in public opinion polls, Obama has gradually increased his percentage lead over McCain to reaching a peak of around 5% points. The last month has seen that poll lead slowly degrade. Beginning in late August with the oncoming party conventions, McCain began closing the poll gap which has closed to within a 1-2% points.
Granted, polls are liable to the intentions of the pollster. How a question is phrased directly influences the answer given, and if the pollster seeks a particular answer, the question can be manipulated to provide the desired answer. However, these numbers are an aggregate for numerous polls. For the sake of argument, I’ll dismiss my inborn distaste for polls and proceed based on these numbers.
I don’t possess the extraneous effort required to examine the reasons behind Obama’s rise and fall in the polls. The whims and fancies of voters on a day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month basis can sometimes present such an indecipherable maze that it’s almost overwhelming. Rather, it would be prudent to examine the simplified voter decision making process and how it correlates to the historical trends in presidential campaigns.
Day to day voter opinion on candidates varies widely based on daily media consumption and singular campaign revelations. In late July when Obama was on his European tour, the news services plastered his image across our televisions giving him a celebrity appeal. The media exposure paid dividends with a Gallup poll having Obama posting a 6 point lead over McCain on July 21st. However, as his European tour pressed on, the media began lambasting Obama for campaigning for a national election in foreign countries, and in a Gallop poll taken a week later on the 28th of July Obama lead slipped to one point. A poll taken on any given day is a reflection of the voters immediate consciousness. How one can find insight into voter capriciousness is beyond me. I find little interest in trying to make sense of flippant voter opinion, but do find Obama’s failure to capture, and even relinquish, a sizable aggregate poll lead notable.
There are two undeniable factors that influence voter decision – the state of a depressed economy and the presence of an unpopular war. More aptly, these two factors play an undeniable role presidential turnover from one party to the other. Over the course of modern history, the presence of either a struggling economy or a prolonged, taxing war has been a guarantee for presidential party turnover.
An examination of modern presidential elections will bear this out. Note my definition of modern begins post World War II primarily because pre-WWII the United States was not considered an international power. The US economy exploded post WWII and, aside from the Spanish-American War, engaged in wars of personal “independence”. So, lets look at presidential results post World War Two.
In 1950, Democratic president Harry Truman ordered American troops into the conflict on the Korean peninsula. He brought the US into a war that lasted until 1953 and saw US troops suffer 390,000 causalities. With a war locked in a virtual stalemate, 1952 swept Republican Dwight Eisenhower into office winning by a margin of 11% over Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson. Truman dropped out of the race following his lose in the Democratic New Hampshire primary.
Lyndon Johnson, Democratic president in 1965, presided over the official escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War deploying some 200,000 soldiers by the end of the year. With an draft quota unsettling the American populace, a protest movement swelled during the 1968 presidential campaign. The war ultimately cost the Democrats the White House handing the reigns over to Richard Nixon, a Republican.
The energy crisis of the 1970′s in which oil prices spiked upwards causing a harsh economic downturn resulting in double digit inflation, cost Democrat Jimmy Carter the 1980 presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan by a margin of more then 10 points.
On the heels of Reagan, Republican George H.W. Bush served one term as president leading the country into the ultra successful Persian Gulf War. However, come relection time a mild recession and questions on if Bush should have ousted Saddam Hussien at the end of the war cost him a second term. Bush Sr lost the popular vote to Democrat Bill Clinton 43% to 37%.
It’s an undeniable fact in political life that any combination of a depressed economy and/or an unpopular war will cost the incumbent presidential party the office in the next election. Voters are not overly complicated when it’s time to cast their ballots. When things are sour, they want the other guy or in this case the other party.
These two essential elements to presidential party turnover are in place. A protracted and wildly unpopular war has dragged it’s feet across nearly the entire two terms of Republican president George W. Bush. Coupled with a crumbling economy, voter dissatisfaction with the current president are at all time record lows. No previous president in the history of the United States has has an approval rating of 22%. If history is any indication, the voting public should be screaming for the other guy. He could be a crudely constructed puppet made of a sock and yarn scraps, and we would vote him into office provided his party affliation was anything other then the guy who we perceived to run this country into the ground.
Hence, it’s with some surprise that when looking at poll numbers I don’t see an increasingly widening gap in favor of the other guy, Barack Obama. In fact, those numbers are closing. Maybe, just maybe these numbers are indicative of those daily voter whims, and won’t bear out come election time. However, if the American public opts for the same guy, the socio-political experts will have a field day trying to disect what has to be considered one of the biggest failures in presidential election history.
I can recall many, many months ago being told that the majority of college educated voters supported Obama. It was waved in front of me like a badge of validation by an Obama supporter, seemingly trying to imply to me that not supporting Obama somehow relegated me to being viewed as a political dunce. While I took offense to this, it caused me to give greater thought to the question of what was the primary reason behind Obama’s whirlwind rise to political fame?
The answer, unknown to me at the time and to my recollection not widely discussed in the press, appeared quite simple. Obama is the kind of rare breed public speakers that captures the imagination and attention of the populace once every few decades. Not unlike John F. Kennedy. His uncanny mastery of the language combined with his fantastic skill at conveying a message that connects with the American people, puts him at a significant political advantage over any competitor.
This is a critical skill set for any politician. Particularly for those that possess limited experience in the political arena seeking to crash the national stage. FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan are all former presidents who secured their political strength through their astounding communication skills. But is this really reason enough to rally behind a candidate? It’s flimsy at best and most certainly a shallow basis for casting one’s vote.
Being a realist, I understand how the world operates. Spoils and success go to those who are best suited to convincing others to join their cause. This applies to every arena in life. The smooth talking playboy gets the most sought after women. The sly and ass kissing employee climbs the promotion ladder. And so it was with anecdotal pleasure that I came across this article.
There’s a favorite quote of mine by George Bernard Shaw that reads:
The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.
Obama struck me as a sort of used car salesman selling me exactly what needed to be to a voter base that desperately wanted to be sold something – anything other then the rusting and rotting 1985 Honda Accord they’ve been saddled with for the last eight years. That was my initial impression of him when I asked myself what his primary appeal was those many months ago.
I’ve been bombarded by friends, family, and media to support Obama, but my hesitantcy fueled itself out of this singular concern. I need more then just a long string of enamored speeched. My vote has been and still is undecided.
I’m sure in the end my vote will mark beside Obama’s name, but in the meantime I’m going to relish in the knowledge that what I always knew was correct. Obama’s appeal stems mainly from people’s weakness to be swayed by a salesman, and that for all the supposed “education” it requires to support Obama, it was actually just the savy sales pitch that sold the car.