Despite the fact that the Obama administration has spent four years wallowing in a quagmire of controversy, debt and deception, Washington Post writer George F. Will believes Mitt Romney will have to take some major risks if he wants to win this election, blaming the “good heart” of the American people for their reluctance to “fire” Obama.
In his article, Will compares presidential politics to a game of football. In any football game there’s a clock ticking away, and a team that’s trailing by several points near the end must be willing take risks if they want to win.
According to Will, Obama’s team has a substantial lead. Romney is behind, no matter how you look at it. He’s losing in some of the important swing states, he’s not connecting with the national electorate on issues of the economy and health care, and he’s not ranking well in national measures of favorable voter perceptions.
On the other hand, Will points at that “Obama’s administration is in shambles.” Disposable income has declined, durable goods orders have dropped and “nearly 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 55 are unemployed. Will also cites Obama’s “contradictory descriptions and explanations of the terrorist (he now concedes) attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya”, and the $529 million DOE loan which was just extended to Tesla Motors.
With the Obama administration fumbling the ball every step of the way, one would think that all Romney would have to do is pick it up and run with it. But Will says that’s not the way this game is going to play out.
Will calls to memory a significant date in history, October 3, 1974. On that date, Frank Robinson, one of the greatest players in history, was hired by the Cleveland Indians as the first black manager in the major leagues. But an even more important date, says Will, was June 19, 1977. That was the day the Indians fired Frank Robinson.
“Managers get fired all the time. The fact that the Indians felt free to fire Robinson — who went on to have a distinguished career managing four other teams — showed that another racial barrier had fallen: Henceforth, African Americans, too, could enjoy the God-given right to be scapegoats for impatient team owners or incompetent team executives.”
Historically, Americans have always been reluctant to “fire” a president. It’s been done, of course, but only when all the stars are in perfect alignment. The challenger has to have not only his own camp of loyal supporters but he must also be able to win over a percentage of those who supported the incumbent during the last election.
According an article at Race42012.com, only three incumbent presidents have been turned out of office since World War II – Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.
Of the three, Ford stands out first because he was never actually elected to begin with, which means he had no significant base of supporters and no existing political organization of his own. Carter’s defeat was more “traditional”, says Race42012, in that he was quickly perceived to be “in over his head” and his own policies and ineptitude only hastened his demise.
Race42012.com theorizes that George H. W. Bush was elected in 1988 “largely by Reagan’s coalition, as opposed to one of his own creation.”
“His numbers had dropped substantially and continued to decline throughout 1992, not as a result of any one or two specific issues but more from the general sense that he did not have a good grasp of the changes underway in the country and the economy or their implications.”
Not only is Obama the incumbent in this election, he has one other factor in his favor. Will suggests that maybe, just maybe, the fact that President Obama is African American may have some effect on the outcome of the 2012 election, but not in the way the media would like us to believe.
“Instead,” says Will, “the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure — thereby admitting that it made a mistake in choosing him — seems especially reluctant to give up on the first African American president. If so, the 2012 election speaks well of the nation’s heart, if not its head.”