When Unstoppable History Meets Immovable Silliness

“I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.” – Mitch Hedberg

Had an interesting chat today at lunch, which I thought I’d bring up in the vein of “a few data points can be construed into any type of trend you like.”

History is on Obama’s side …

Trend #1:This country rarely switches political parties in the White House in four-year increments. It happened to Jimmy Carter, who won in 1976 supplanting the Republican administration of Nixon/Ford, and then lost in 1980 to Ronald Reagan. Before that, you have to go back to 1892 and 1896 to find Grover Cleveland pulling of a similar feat.

Until it’s not …

Trend #2: This country rarely re-elects Democrats … and often regrets it when it does. Bill Clinton won re-election, winning two general elections: 1992 and 1996. Carter won in 1976 but lost in 1980. Johnson won in 1964 and was facing such a massive defeat in 1968 that he refused to run. Kennedy didn’t get a chance to run for re-election (though I suspect he would have won). Truman won in 1948 and then in 1952 had to bow out of the nomination process because he was headed for a loss (a la Johnson).

The Democrats who did win re-election in the 20th century were Roosevelt and Wilson – two progressives that destroyed more freedom than you can shake a stick at.

So where does this leave us? …

I don’t know. I’ve long held that Obama is at least a 50-50 prospect to win, perhaps slightly better. Romney has to do almost everything right to win – and Romney rarely does everything right. That said, the polling data, the economic data, the wobbly state of the Obama campaign … none of it really paints a picture of a guy who will cruise to victory. And if he doesn’t cruise, I seriously doubt he has the charisma to muster a rousing, hard-fought win – he’s not “inspiring” anymore.

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