Dole or Reagan

2010 February 12
by Dave

The GOP got the stuffing beat out of them in 2008. Many pundits spent the first 6 months of 2009 discussing the death of the party, forgetting that the Republicans have been there twice before in the last 35 years and came back faster than any one expected. You can’t fault Republicans for thinking that they are on the cusp of another Reagan revolution in 2012. As in ’76 one of the main factors in the Democratic win in ’08 was public fatigue with a long period of GOP misrule. Similar to Carter, Obama has been dealt a terrible hand. He has even had to bail out Chrysler, just like Carter. The Republicans hope that some of the other themes in Carter’s downfall will repeat themselves. Such as sabotage from the left of the Democratic party and intractable foreign hostilities.

However, the GOP aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed that you have to go all the way back to Polk in 1849 to find another single term Democratic President with opposition party members holding the presidency both before and after. The administration is just as keen to learn from history and is trying to follow Bill Clinton’s example by meeting Republican strength with executive pragmatism in order to get his achievable policy goals done.

I think that Obama will be able to pull it off and keep his job in 2012. To thwart this Republicans would have to bring fresh ideas and a track record of competent governance like Regan did. The Republican base is currently enthralled by Sarah Palin’s folksie one liners. If, like Reagan, Palin had integrity and policy initiatives to back up her crowd apeal, then she might be more than a repeat of  Dole in ’96, dead in the water before the primaries are even over.

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