To everyone who has been reading this column for the last couple months, you are probably acutely aware that I have been diverting much of my writing to the Republican Party. This seems like the proper thing to do. After all, this is the party that has yet to decide on a candidate. Furthermore, we have the pleasure (or joy, depending on how to look at it) to have a primary season that goes beyond the bounds of Super Tuesday. While this is a very fascinating display of politics to observe, we must not forget the other 50 percent of the 2012 presidential election.
President Barack Obama has gone through several transformations during his political career. He started off as an Illinois congressman. Next, he gained recognition as a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. At the time, he was running for senator, a seat that he would easily capture. I remember watching him when he made this speech, with an emphasis on the need to evaporate what he felt to be a divided America.
I had to admit, he was quite an orator. Somewhere far back in my mind, I may have registered that this man had the potential to win the presidency. On the other hand, I would have never predicted it to be a mere four years later.
By 2008, the first-term Illinois senator suddenly captured the nation’s eye. His election that November allowed the American public the chance to meet the man and candidate Obama. Now all that was left to do was meet Obama the president.
Now we fast forward another four years, and the American voters have met the president. The record has been observed and reactions remain mixed. According to a recent Gallup poll, his approval ratings stands at 41 percent. At first glance, this seems to be bad news for the president.
This is by no means great, but at the same time it can be absolutely obsolete by November. Generally, these ratings are typical for incumbent presidents in office over the last 50 years at this time (Johnson & Reagan being exceptions). All of this means that now is the time for the president to determine what he will be up against.
First of all, he will want to know who his opponent is. Although he may benefit from a divided opposition, it is also vital for him to know the character of the man, which was a trait that certainly was beneficial four years prior.
Best bets are on Mitt Romney, who holds a significant lead in delegates. Running through the checklist, any character attacks are most likely out, as well as past history votes referring to national decisions, which was beneficial in attacking John McCain. There will be the questions regarding Romney’s understanding of common America and his ability to reach out to all ideologies.
Furthermore, the potential of Romney’s proposed fiscal conservatism will be brought to light, with Obama trying to make clear that his liberal economic goals are far more official. It is through efforts such as these that will bring back the candidate Obama. The other half will have to be based on his record as president until November, which would help to determine.
As for now, all that can be done is sit back and watch.