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Last month [the May 11 edition of the Bedford Bulletin], commenting on the demise of Osama bin Laden at the hands of Navy SEALs, Rick Howell wrote, “Then, I thought, Barack Obama just got himself re-elected in 2012.”
When I read those words, I thought about how Bush the Elder was riding high right after the success of the first Gulf War back in 1991. George H. W. Bush, however, did not win reelection in 1992. One factor in his loss was a recession followed by a sluggish recovery during which unemployment continued to rise.
It seems like nailing bin Laden is the only bit of good news that came President Obama’s way in the month of May. The economy is sluggish, creating an insufficient number of jobs to keep the unemployment rate from going up to 9.1 percent. Unemployment is even worse in some of the states that he won by narrow margins in 2008. Reports also show that consumer confidence and retail sales are down.
The bump in the polls that President Obama got after bumping off bin Laden is gone. The number of people who strongly disapprove of his performance as president is currently rising, while the number who strongly approve is dropping. As has been true ever since late 2009, more people strongly disapprove (41 percent as of June 17) of him than approve (23 percent as of June 17). Earlier this month, a Washington Post poll indicated that 59 percent of those polled disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy. Polls in general indicate that the economy and unemployment are voters primary concerns at present.
Of course this does not mean that he won’t be reelected any more than getting bin Laden guaranteed his reelection. Nevertheless, it doesn’t bode well for him. Barack Obama is in big trouble if the economy does not get substantially better in the next 12 months.
What’s worse is that his policies have not made things better. He and the other pseudo-communist wolves that dominate the “Democratic” Party have run up huge deficits that have not stimulated the economy one bit. ObamaCare is acting as a drag on job creation as it is raising the cost of hiring new employees for every company that offers employer subsidized health insurance. His EPA, packed with global warming zealots, is waging environmentalist jihad against virtually all economic activity in the United States ranging from agriculture to power generation. Their all-consuming focus is to save the world from the menace of coal-fired power plants and farting cows.
So far President Obama isn’t doing anything to turn things around. He is showing no leadership at all and maybe part of the problem is that he is afraid to try. A number of the rich liberals who bankrolled his campaign back in 2008 aren’t happy with him because he isn’t left enough. Some have declared that they won’t contribute any money this time around. That leaves him in a tight spot. He could do the sort of free market things that Texas Governor Richard Perry has done. This has worked quite well in Texas — nearly half of all the net increase in new jobs over the last two years nationwide has taken place there. However, if President Obama takes this route, he risks further alienating his leftist donor base. On the other hand, if he doesn’t do this, and the economy doesn’t get better on its own, then he will be extremely vulnerable in 2012.
Of course, the Republicans could self-destruct, but President Obama would be unwise to count on that if he expects to be reelected next year.