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Looking at the Election Eight Months Out

by | Mar 3, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Rick Santorum (left) and Mitt Romney

Just as you can never know day to day exactly how the sun’s gravitation pull will affect earth’s tides, it’s almost impossible to precisely understand what it is that yanks some otherwise perceptive political observers into making the most preposterous statements.

I can understand, although completely disagree, with those who (with eight months yet to go) “predict” the Democrats will win back the House and retain control of the Senate. It’s at least plausible, although unlikely.

But for someone like columnist George Will to advise Republicans to “have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013” (i.e., pretty much give up the ghost on winning the presidency) just makes little sense. To list a few reasons why pro-abortion President Barack Obama can—and will—be beaten starts with not getting caught up in the moment.

Nobody likes their candidates to take whacks at each other, but that is the nature of competitive politics. In our concern over pro-life Republican candidates criticizing one another, have we completely forgotten how bitter, how ugly the contest between Hillary Clinton and Obama was four years ago? Once a nominee is chosen, the focus turns from the real (and imaginary) flaws of your competition to beating (in that case) George Bush, and (in today’s case) Barack Obama. Were Democrats “divided” in October 2008? Hardly.

Along the same lines remember in 2008 both parties had competitive races for their respective presidential nominations. Press accounts about how the fights would be “divisive” applied to Democrats and Republicans alike. This year reporters feast on the only game in town, giving their undivided attention/sharp knives to Republicans. This skews our perception of how things will look in September.

From the other end Obama’s numbers are fundamentally weak. They ebb and flow, to be sure, but the long-term trend (as opposed to the last few weeks) is low job approval ratings and with clear evidence the public is not optimistic about the direction of the country (one of the best indices).

Remember as well that this is a center-right country. For most of his presidency, Obama has been seen by the public as out of step. As I wrote in December

“If you look at polling taken over the last year (at least), you find over and over that the public believes that Obama is more liberal than it is.  A recent example was a poll conducted in December by Gallup. Gallup tested the public’s sense of how close to their own political persuasion the various Presidential candidates are.

“They offered respondents a five-point scale ‘with 1 being very liberal and 5 being very conservative. Americans’ mean score on this scale is 3.3, meaning the average American is slightly to the right of center ideologically,’ according to Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones. The two furthest away?  Rep. Michele Bachmann, who left the race after Iowa, and President Obama! More generally, ‘A majority of Americans, 57%, perceive Obama to be liberal, with 23% describing his views as moderate and 15% as conservative,’ Jones wrote.”

We can agree that Barack Obama has been one of the luckiest men in modern politics. But I would argue that once the smoke clears from the battle being waged by Republicans for their party’s nomination, the public will increasingly see Obama for what he is.

And from our perspective, that clear picture will be of an Obama who is pro-abortion from head to toe, the author of the monstrosity known as ObamaCare, and a man willing to crush religious freedom in a wrong-headed mandate that religiously-affiliated universities, hospitals, and charities pay for items in direct conflict with their religious beliefs.

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Categories: Politics