posted on July 23, 2012 09:47
This presidential campaign has a hint of 1980.
A Democratic President is running for reelection in a bad economy. Americans are feeling down. The President’s poll numbers are worrisome. He is criticized as weak and disconnected.
The Republican is veteran campaigner who lost the nomination four years ago. He’s attractive, but his record offers rich targets for attack. The President’s team hopes to make him unacceptable to voters. And no one knows how he will stand up to the pressures and pitfalls of the campaign.
In the end, Jimmy Carter’s team couldn’t make Ronald Reagan scary to voters. Reagan reassured them with his debate performances. Americans liked him. They saw him as a safe alternative to Carter, not a risk.
The question this year is whether the Obama team is counting too much on its ability to demonize Romney. Now, there is plenty to demonize. And Romney’s vulnerabilities have more salience than Reagan’s did in 1980.
The attack on Reagan was that he was a dangerous right-winger. Well, he didn’t seem dangerous with that grin and shake of his head.
The attack on Romney is that he’s the kind of rich guy who got America in this economic mess, laid off a lot of people and got rich doing that.
Does he have the ability to shake off that image? If he does, President Obama is in trouble. If Romney can’t, Obama may pull off the amazing feat of winning reelection when poverty is at its highest level since the 1960s and a New York Times-CBS poll showed that voters disapprove of his handling of the economy by 55-39.