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August 13, 2011

Jimmy Carter, Redux

Instapundit has a recurring theme that a return to the Jimmy Carter era might be a best-case scenario at this point. Ronald Browenstein makes the same point at The National Journal.

President Obama’s approval ratings are now frequently running at 45 percent or lower—not enough to win a second term. Two recent national polls placed the approval rating for Congress near its all-time low. Consumer confidence measures are scraping lows comparable to 1992 and 1980, years that produced electoral earthquakes (and independent presidential challengers).

“I think this is way beyond those years in the level of building frustration, problems facing the country, and anger with both political parties and the political system,” says Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who advised Bill Clinton during his 1992 victory. “This kind of building frustration and volatility has got to burst out in some way.”

President Obama is not solely to blame for our current troubles, any more than Jimmy Carter was responsible for those in the 1970's. But President Obama, like Carter before him, completely lacks the skills and self-awareness to lead the country out of the doldrums. A President (among his many other duties) is supposed to act as the rudder for the ship of state -- and our country is adrift right now because no one is steering it. President Obama is again like Carter in the strange mix of activist passion combined with political passivity he exhibits. ("Leading from behind", many pundits call it.)

It would be premature to write off a second term for Obama, though. The voting population is far more polarized and partisan now than it was in the 1970's, and our fiscal problems far worse and more intractable. Democrats are being pushed against a wall, and like any cornered beast, they may decide to fight to the bitter end rather than surrender.

UPDATE: Reuters piles on.

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posted by Monty at 10:54 AM

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