In this week’s issue, the great Robert Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. makes a bold prediction about the upcoming American presidential elections:
‘The Republican nominee will come out of the Republican convention in August with a full head of steam. Boosted by years of growing strength and aided by the independents’ concern for Obama’s huge deficits and slow growth, he will barrel through the autumn and on to victory in November. Obama will soon be back in Blue Island Illinois, creating his own presidential museum.’
Don’t believe him? Look at the economy. Only a few months ago, America’s financial health seemed to be improving. Team Obama was lecturing European conservatives about the limits of austerity. Not anymore. American unemployment is back up. And yesterday’s Federal Reserve report showed that the net worth of a typical middle-class American family has fallen from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300. Middle America is about as well off as it was in the early 1990s.
No incumbent can expect to win an election in such circumstances. Obama’s trillion dollar stimuli appear to have stimulated nothing. How is it, then, that he is still ahead in the polls? The answer must be the toxicity of the Republicans, and of Mitt Romney in particular. Just as David Cameron’s last best hope is the obvious unattractiveness of Ed Miliband, so Obama’s must be the glaring flaws of Romney, a corporate lay-off artist with a sincerity problem. If Bob is right, however, that will not be enough to stop Obama being a one-term president.