Sunday, June 26, 2011

Who’s Going to Run the Country

A friend recently asked an interesting question … who is going to run the country in two years? I believe her question was born out of the frustration of watching endless media coverage of gridlock in Washington. Every elected leader from the newest member of Congress all the way up to the President seems to have plenty to say but is getting nothing done. Add to that the growing lineup of potential Republican Presidential candidates in the next election; the election is more than a year away but the campaigning has already begun.

Some pundits and many Republicans believe Obama will be a one-term President. It is difficult to unseat an incumbent, but it certainly has happened. Ask the first George Bush and Jimmy Carter. Presidents live with the cards they are dealt and sometimes frustrations of the American public are taken out on a President who can’t seem to fix the problems they inherit.

So what makes a good President? That doesn’t really matter. What actually counts are factors that get a President elected, including the mood of the country, the media savvy of the candidates and which candidate can be taken seriously as a potential President. The country as a whole was depressed during the Carter administration and Jimmy never looked comfortable in front of a camera. When Carter ran for re-election Ronald Reagan came in with optimistic promises and great TV presence and won the election.

When the first George Bush ran for re-election the country was ready for a change and Bill Clinton was much more interesting in the media. Bush was boring. Read my lips: Bush lost.

So back to my friend’s query: who is going to run the country in two years? Obama will certainly run for a second term. The present mood of the country is iffy; many people are frustrated with the ongoing down economy and the high jobless rate. Obama will get blamed for that but what Republican can capitalize on that? Which one is media savvy? And which one will be taken seriously as a potential President. In my opinion Palin, Gingrich and Trump would never be taken seriously. Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain are relatively unknown to the general public. Ron Paul gets plenty of attention but some say he is unelectable. Michele Bachmann represents the Tea Party, which puts her on a more extreme end of the list, making it difficult to appeal to the mainstream middle; but she has media savvy and is quotable. Mitt Romney, who leads many straw polls, also has media savvy and can be taken seriously as a potential President. He is also palatable to many non-Republicans.

That all adds up to my prediction (guess). I believe the election in 2012 will be between Obama and Romney and I think Obama will win by an extremely small margin. Obama has media savvy and many people believe he can be taken seriously as a President who has done reasonably well with the hand he was dealt. Of course many people don’t see him as someone who can get us out of some of our messes. That’s why I think it’ll be close. I also think the economy will be better in the next year and the jobless rate will be lower and both of those factors will help Obama. And of course he is the incumbent. There is something to be said for the devil you know.

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