Normally, we think that when we elect a president, his coat tails will carry into office a few more members of his party than if he had lost. Sometimes his coat tails are long and he helps sweep his party into control of one, sometimes both, houses of Congress.
But, re-electing a sitting president isn’t always a slam-dunk. The last two, two term presidents had different paths. Clinton had a fairly easy time, W just squeaked by.
Which takes us back to the last one-term president, George H. W. Bush. During an economic recover, the public perception lags the numbers by about six months. On election day in Nov 1992, the recovery had started, but because the Senate Majority Leader, Senator George Mitchell (D – ME) had bottled up legislation for several months before he would let it come up for a vote. Public perception of a recovery was non-existent.
Presently, the country, the Democrats and President Obama have three important issues to deal with that could determine the outcome of the elections this November.
They are, in order of importance;
- Price of gasoline, diesel fuel and home heating oil (shortened to ‘gas’).
- Unemployment rate.
- War in Afghanistan.
The price of gas affects everybody. Unless you are into the “1%”, the effect of rising fuel prices affects everything you buy. Everything sold at your local grocery or IGA, shoes, clothing, anything at a ‘big box’ store, all the goods come in via truck and every truck uses diesel fuel. Taking a business trip? You can bet your sweet hat and pea coat sleeve that the airplane uses a kerosene that is derived from oil.
So, whether you drive to work, eat-out or or grow all your food in a back-yard garden, the price of gas has a serious effect on your spending habits.
Which leads to point 2, the unemployment rate. If you are spending too much on gas, you don’t have nearly as much “discretionary” dollars to spend on items that might stimulate the economy and create more jobs. These are items that you were planning to do, but the price of gas took away all of the money you were planning to spend on it. All of the things that you cannot spend money on are potentially, part of a new job that could have been created.
Maybe it was 1. buy a new car, 2. put siding on your house, 3. go on vacation, 4. get braces for your daughter or 5. any one of a zillion things that people do when they feel a little flush.
An unemployment rate below 7 per sent by the 4th of July would go along way toward re-electing President Obama.
Afghanistan. Speaks for itself. If points # 1 and # 2 are accomplished, the war in Afghanistan will be an irritant, a thorn in the side, but it will not preclude a second term. But, getting most of the troops out before Labor Day will be the icing on the cake towards a successful election campaign.