Is Obama a One Term President if Unemployment Does Not Decrease?
With more than one year separating us from the 2012 Presidential election it’s admittedly a little lousy how much media attention is being paid toward the campaigns of potential candidates and the President’s chances of reelection. So much can change between now and then that projections are impossible and predictions are improbable. But if one thing universally weighs on the minds of the President, his opponents, and the American people, it’s projections and predictions about unemployment. The following fact is a fundamental one about American politics: the President cannot be re-elected when the country has a lousy unemployment rate.
That’s been the way it’s been historically since the Great Depression, anyway. Obama is obviously aware of this, and from now until November of 2012 he will be fighting fiercely to see his jobs bill passed by Congress. It’s so important that the jobs bill in essence has been written to tie itself in with every middle-class problem from lousy public schools to mom and pop dependence on small business credit cards, in order to make it make sense on main street. It’s just one of several economic plans the President is unveiling and will continue to unveil as 2012 gets underway.
But analysts, experts, pundits, and political junkies all agree on one thing in addition to the fact that Obama needs to see unemployment lower in order to win reelection: his jobs bill has no chance of passing the Republican-led House of Representatives. If Obama and his people are any good at what they do, they know as well that the plan’s passing in this political climate is unlikely. So why will he be essentially wasting his time selling economic cures that won’t see the light of day?
Because he’ll need to explain to the American people come this time next year why the unemployment rate continues to hover in the same place it has for years now. The calculation his political team is counting on is that he’ll be able to blame the solution-lacking and solution-preventing Republicans in Congress for the economy continuing to suffer. Mixed with the likelihood that in the months leading up to the election the President will call in just enough favors to lower the unemployment rate to a cool 8.x%, his team hopes they can convince the American people that he’s trying. But little can be done in a political system where power is divided three ways and one branch is unwilling to agree to do anything to fix the economy.
Projections and predictions of 2012 made in 2011 are unlikely to be true. But one thing is true: no American president in office during a period of high unemployment has ever seen a second term. Times are different, but are the politics? One year separates us from knowing the truth. Plenty can happen in the interim.